Kamala Harris’ Election Can Be Model to Show Representation Matters
Rianka celebrating the VP-elect's firsts and remembering her own
Being the first of anything is scary and exhilarating. Saturday, we witnessed history as we congratulated the Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris as the first woman, first Black woman, and first person of Indian descent, ever elected to this highest level of office. Madam Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris embodies the future, hope, healing and inspiration. As a a bi-racial woman, she is a direct reflection of the new America: mosaic. This country has traditionally been referred to as a melting pot, but a melting pot suggests assimilation. The new America, the mosaic, celebrates the differences we bring to our country and rather than asking us to blend in, it encourages us to stand out. Harris shared so boldly, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” She has shattered a glass ceiling we have not been able to break in over 200 years. This is a time to celebrate! As a Black, and also bi-racial, leader in the financial planning profession, and industry advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, her words reminded me of the promise that we are working so hard to deliver on: moving the financial planning profession into the future. In fact, Harris is an excellent example of representation for our industry, embodying a trusted adviser and future client. Representation matters, and it was a refreshing and hopeful moment for me personally to watch her accept her nomination this weekend. In fact, it took me back to when I was the inaugural recipient of InvestmentNews Rising Star award in 2018, I spoke the following words to my fellow colleagues and to future leaders. I’m revitalizing them today as we look toward a hopeful future with diversity, equity and inclusion leading from the highest echelons of public service. I hope this moment in history leaves you encouraged, empowered and inspired. Whether you are the first, or one of many, helping to pave new roads of inclusion and diversity in your firms, each effort is one step forward. Let’s continue to walk this road together.
Remarks from March 13, 2018 InvestmentNews awards ceremony
Being the first at anything is pretty scary. It means you are setting the stage and foundation for those to come after you. Although I am the first to receive this specific award, I would like to speak to the young ladies who may be in the audience or watching this later on who will also be the first at something. Being the first means you look at the 10 letter word impossible and you change it to I’m Possible. Being the first means you will take the road less traveled and leave bread crumbs (or chocolate) for the next woman to follow you and if you find yourself the only woman at the top, you will turn back around and bring others with you. Being the first means you cannot let fear paralyze you to inaction rather you must always take action. Being the first means you will not let someone’s opinion of you become your reality. It means silencing the critic inside you who says you are not good enough, or that no one has ever done that before. Being the first means you know in fact that perfection is the enemy to progress. Being the first will not come easy, you will have set backs. Your starting line will not be the same as others. I would be remiss if I did not thank those who came before me. Thank you to the women who pulled me and so many other women outside of our comfort zone. To the women who give their precious time to mentor and sponsor other women. Mentorship as we know in this profession is not an option, it is our responsibility and it is necessary. Bishop TD Jakes said “People who are gifted cannot see it, you can see everyone else, but you cannot see yourself. When you are truly gifted you are blind to your talents, so it makes you ask questions like ‘who do men or women say that I am’ You’re vulnerable to the voices around you.” This is why mentorship is so very important. Please look to the person to your right and say “pull me out” and look at the person to your left and say “pull me out.” I am counting on everyone of you to pull each other out of your comfort zones so you can set fully into your greatness. It has been said that the wealthiest place on the planet is not gold mines, or diamond mines … it is the graveyard, because there lies the dreams that never came to reality, or inventions that were never acted upon. My ask to you is that you bring your full self forward every single day because on the days you don’t, the world is missing out. I am counting on you to continue to blaze trails, and leave a pathway for those to come after you. Before I leave this stage I would like to thank and give honor to my nana, who is not physically here with us today but she is here, thank you to my parents who are in the audience. I would also like to thank my high school sweetheart, my husband Reggie, who has been my rock for almost half of my life. Here you see a strong and fearless woman standing. But behind closed doors I too ask “who do men and women say that I am?” Reggie always responds “you are who God intended you to be, you are Rianka, my dear”. For the next Rising Star, continue to raise the bar. I am counting on you. This article written by Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP® originally appeared in InvestmentNews.