Intelligence

At Vested, Diversity is More Than Just a Buzzword

binna

Binna Kim

President

On the heels of Pride Month, the word diversity seems to be everywhere. Companies are making more of an effort to include a range of ethnicities, ages, genders and backgrounds in their leadership, and rainbow flags fly high across the streets of New York and beyond. We’re thrilled to see a mix of faces, whether it be at our local coffee shop or in corporate America. We’re also equally proud to say that creating an inclusive experience isn’t just an initiative or a box to check; it’s part of our DNA.

If you walk into our office and take a look around, you’ll find an unexpected mix of people—especially in the context of financial services, which has a reputation for being painfully homogeneous. Our staff has lived and worked all over the world, including France, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Ireland—to name a few. And they bring this experience with them each day when they come to the office. Below, a sampling of the countries where we’ve lived — and this doesn’t include the U.S. or UK, where we currently have offices. Sixty percent of Vested employees are dual citizens, and we have seven different religions represented in the office daily.

In our opinion, diversity is about more than one’s upbringing or heritage. It’s also about diversity of thought and opinion. We actively seek to hire talent that’s *not* homogenous, smart candidates from different backgrounds that bring new experiences, perspectives and talents to our team.

For a specialist firm, Vested actually has a vast and varied crew, as you can see from our numerous areas of study detailed below: sure, there are some here that have studied finance or communications, but also engineering, English or French, accounting and public policy. Successful marketing and communications is about illustrative storytelling, and one’s ability to reach a wide swath of demographics: different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, genders, or something else. The best way for us to understand those groups, and their needs and wants, is to ensure Vested has those perspectives as well.

It’s no accident. Diversity at Vested starts from the top, down. The firm was founded by three immigrants and second generation-ers, each from a different corner of the world. Dan, was born in London and moved to Boston when he was 23. And COO and fellow co-founder Ishviene Arora emigrated from India as a child to escape the 1984 riots; she later returned to finish high school at an international school in New Delhi, where she was similarly surrounded by a diverse set of peers. And my own family immigrated to the U.S., where my dad scratched out a living being a dishwasher his first year in America. My parents embody the American dream – moving to the U.S. in their 20s, starting with nothing and eventually saving up money to start their own dry cleaners. My childhood was largely spent at the store, sitting inside of big dry cleaning storage boxes, reading library books, and peering out of the holes to see what was happening outside. It’s this perspective that shaped who I am as a person, a leader, and communicator today.

Immigrants count for 27.5 percent of entrepreneurs in the U.S. And more than 40 percent of companies on the U.S. Fortune 500 list were launched by immigrants or children of immigrants. Look at eBay. The ecommerce website was founded by French native Pierre Morad Omidyar; and Google was co-founded by Russian-born Sergey Brin.

In fact, immigrants are the only reason Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the area became a destination for scientists and engineers. And by 2000, 53 percent of the Valley’s science and engineering workforce was foreign-born.

And like Silicon Valley, diversity has been a huge driver for us, too. Vested is the fastest-growing PR agency in the world, and its unique staff has been a large and important part of that. As the firm keeps expanding, we will continue to incorporate the unique perspectives of those who make Vested a leader in the industry.

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