Diversity Training Programs Help You To Break Down Barriers
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Straub, CEO of Coastal Wealth.
Why and how did you get started in your industry?
I graduated with college with 2 goals: to make a positive difference in people’s lives and to start my own business. I was told that the career as a financial planner you needed the mind of a capitalist and the heart of a social worker. That sold me. I started my career as a financial advisor.
What is the most impactful moment of your career?
I was working for a fortune 500 company in a senior executive but deep down inside I knew I was an entrepreneur and wouldn’t be truly happy unless I tried it on my own. So I took the plunge to start Coastal Wealth, making it the most impactful moment of my career. In 3 years we have grown to 14 offices and a team of over 250 financial service professionals and support staff.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes our company stand out is our commitment to diversity representing over 30 countries with multiple languages. Our team of professionals are from different niches in financial services and insurance industry which allows our team to provide clients with more complete, well rounded advice. The diversity allows us to help clients make better financial decisions and avoid catastrophic ones.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
We are partnering with our local communities to provide MassMutual’s LifeBridge program, which offers free life insurance to income eligible families. Our coastal family enjoys giving back together.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
I found if you satisfy 2 of 3 areas all the time employees stay engaged and if you can do all 3, your team members will thrive:
1) they feel like they are growing in the role and company.
2) they feel they are appropriately compensated and recognized for the work they do
3) they are having fun and enjoying the work environment.
Who has been your biggest mentor?
As cliche as it is, it was my father. In high school, he had me reading biographies of top business leaders and had me reading positive quotes daily. But I remember vividly him having a conversation with me how my IQ might get me a job, but my EQ (emotional quotient or emotional intelligence) is what will make me successful. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
How have you used your success to give back?
At Coastal Wealth, our team strongly believes in giving back to our communities. 70% of our employees are actively involved with local charities, collectively contributing more than 2,000 hours of community service per month serving the diverse needs among our South Florida communities. Personally, I volunteer with SCORE in Broward County, helping entrepreneurs establish, develop and grow their businesses.
Can you share the top five ways that increased diversity can help a company’s bottom line.
1. Perspective — Having a diverse staff has brought about different, fresh perspectives, which has elicited creativity and innovation amongst our team.
2. Adaptability to change — I have found that embracing diversity has really helped us in times of transition. Having a team of diverse leaders brings the experience, knowledge and background necessary to make informed decisions when responding to change.
3. Connect & Understand — Connecting with your employees over things that make you different helps you to understand different points of view and in turn, you will be able to manage a more collaborative environment.
4. Productivity — When employees feel respected and accepted, they feel valued. This typically equates to greater levels of job satisfaction. And when people like what they do and feel good in their job, they have a tendency to work hard to produce work they are proud of.
5. Remove the pink elephant in the room — People are born with an innate tendency toward bias. Diversity training programs and initiatives can help you to break down some of those barriers by encouraging others to learn and accept rather than assume and dismiss. This helps to create more positive, collaborative and successful workplace environment. And it all starts with the leadership team.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson” Quote?
“It’s the little decisions.” I learned this when the doctor told me I had to lose 40 pounds. It was the little decisions I made that made the weight come off. It was small decisions during the day such as to taking the stairs, staying 5 more minutes on the treadmill, saying no to the bread at a dinner, drinking water vs the soda. Just one of these decisions, doesn’t make you lose weight. But string enough of the right “little decisions” together, and that is how you achieve success at anything. “It’s the little decisions” put together that achieves BIG results.