In the opening remarks, Jean Lu reminded everyone that approaching cultural differences can be an opportunity to challenge the status quo. Although difficult, addressing the uncomfortable aspect can provide a new perspective to everyday operations.
As one of the department heads of the Institutional Investor Group and a co-executive of LEAP, Jean discussed her experiences receiving difficult questions about diversity and shared that when we speak up, we become advocates for diversity and bring value and new ideas to light. She referenced a quote from Verna Myers, Vice President of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, who noted, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance,” to highlight the importance of what we can do to increase diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality in the workplace. Jean later added, “Diversity matters because embracing different cultures give us a competitive edge. It’s my fiduciary duty to share my perspective, even if it’s uncomfortable.”
Tim Buckley also made it clear that diversity plays an integral part in the future of Vanguard. Tim elaborated, “If we listen to each other, we can learn from each other and build on ideas.” As an example of this type of collaboration, he described how Vanguard’s economics team brings together regional expertise from Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, and the U.S. to ensure our research and analysis presents a global picture of the trends investors need to know about.
One trend our economists have an eye on is how technology will impact the future of work. With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, Tim reminded the room of the distinction between tasks and jobs. Many rote, repetitive tasks can be automated, which means that jobs will rely more on human creativity and problem solving. At Vanguard, we’ll need both technical expertise and what our researchers call “uniquely human tasks” to serve clients well. Jean added that the “. . . need for tech acumen and expertise will only increase. Our ability to go deep is important.”
LEAP holds events throughout the year to participate in meaningful and impactful conversations. John Marcante, co-executive of LEAP, shared that LEAP impacts the workplace by “providing a network of support, development, and empowerment,” and urges that we “Get involved. Dig deep. Ask hard questions. It takes courage. That’s what leaders are made of. It’s about talking about intersectionality.”