OPEN Finance had an exciting and success-filled 2015, and we’re off to a great start already in 2016 with the election of five new co-chairs to our leadership team, and our 10-year anniversary fast approaching in May.
The number of firms participating in OPEN Finance now stands at over 40, and we have a healthy list of new firms looking to benefit from our financial services LGBT “network of networks”. For each of our participating firms, whether you’re interested in best practices for LGBT equality, getting more engaged with the communities in which we work and live, or expanding your professional network of contacts within financial services, OPEN Finance has a wide range of ongoing initiatives.
Some highlights from last year are included below – we hope you were able to participate in them and benefit from our work. During this year and beyond, we look forward to engaging with you and your organization as we build on the collective success of the finance industry.
As we approach the 10-year anniversary of OPEN Finance, we will be taking some time to reflect on how far we’ve come, and highlight some of our accomplishments. We should all be proud of where we stand today, a team of individuals across the financial industry united in a mutual drive to promote LGBT equality and diversity. Please save the date for our special anniversary event on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 – more details coming very soon.
Also, don’t forget to check out our new website at openfinancenyc.org for all of the latest OPEN Finance news, event invites, pictures and more. If you’re interested in becoming more involved in our work by joining a committee, we encourage you to reach out to your member firm representatives or use the contact us section on our website.
Matt Koehler and Jon Tilli
Co-chairs, OPEN Finance
Our annual 2015 Pride event took place at Morgan Stanley last June for An Evening with Trevor Burgess, the first openly gay CEO of a publicly listed bank, C1 Financial. JP Morgan hosted our fall speaker series with Dr. Vivienne Ming, an expert on analyzing LGBT and minority workforce potential. And earlier this month, we partnered with Two Sigma and StartOut to discuss one of the hottest topics in financial services: FinTech and the Changing Face of Wall Street.
The visibility of the LGBT community in financial services community has never been more vibrant with our monthly networking events, including recent events at The Attic in Hell’s Kitchen, an Academy Awards viewing party, and our first-ever Campaigns In Conversation bringing together Presidential surrogates to educate our community on where the candidates stand on LGBT issues. Last year, our 4th annual Holiday Partyhelped raise $3,800 for local non-profit organizations through our silent auction. Look out for more details coming soon about our summer networking series at The Attic.
Early in 2015, OPEN Finance spearheaded the drive to secure signatures on the business amicus curiae brief in support of marriage equality for Obergefell v. Hodges; in total 29 participating firms supported the brief, demonstrating a clear chorus of support. We have also helped our member firms to increase their score on the annual Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, and raise cutting-edge topics for our Diversity & Inclusion teams to consider for LGBT employees. These are just a few examples of how our Best Practices initiatives provide a forum for important conversations to be had in the financial services community. Last year, we also kicked off a deep-dive into adoption and surrogacy policies while looking ahead to equality protections and LGBT self-identification and privacy issues. Our goal is to be at the forefront of issues that will impact our members and beyond.
In our first year as a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization, our membership committee spent much of last year ensuring our governance was forward-looking and flexible for the future of OPEN Finance as well on-boarding our newest firms. We welcomed five member firms last year: MetLife, Marsh & McLennan, Capital One, Broadridge Financial Solutions and AllianceBernstein. The pipeline of new member firms is strong for 2016, bringing our list of participating firms ever closer to 50.
Working with organizations that advance the broader LGBT community in New York City is core to the mission of OPEN Finance and our Community Service committee connects the power of the OPEN Finance membership with community-based not-for-profits. Our members volunteered at last year’s 30th annual Toys Party and the inaugural Spring!fundraiser to benefit SAGE, worked with God’s Love We Deliver to assemble Thanksgiving baskets, and just last month partnered with The Center for Anti-Violence for a women’s career development workshop.
Encouraging engagement and providing focused community events for our LBT women members was a major focus for our membership during 2015. In recognition of that, we launched a dedicated committee for women in finance. We kicked off Pride Month at Bloomberg headquarters with an intimate gathering focused on engaging LBT women, followed by a women’s wine mixer last fall sponsored by PwC. We’ve already built on last year’s progress in 2016 with a West Village networking social and a Fashion and Finance event. Membership of our women’s initiatives group has grown eight-fold in just one year; you can sign up to receive targeted women’s events yourself by adding our Women’s Initiative as an option on your newsletter subscription preferences.
From ensuring that the financial services industry receives recognition for its work at the forefront of LGBT inclusion, to promoting our networking and community service opportunities, Marketing is a fundamental part of our work. As well as launching our new website in 2016, we increased the visibility of our organization at key events, and helped to grow our individual membership by almost 50% in the past twelve months.
Volunteer for OPEN Finance
If you like what you’ve read and want to help out with any of OPEN Finance’s initiatives, please drop us a note either by responding to this email, or by using the contact us form on our website. There’s more information about our mission and our committees on our website homepage.