James Brewer, founder of Envision Wealth Planning in Chicago, met Lazetta Rainey Braxton, founder and CEO of Financial Fountains, quite by chance through a random Internet search.
“I was online, doing a search on African-American advisors, and there she was,” Brewer says.
Things happened quickly, and Rainey Braxton recruited Brewer to serve on the planning committee for the Association of African American Financial Advisors’ (or Quad-A, as the organization is known) first-ever national conference, which took place in Boston in late September. Rainey Braxton is Quad-A’s president.
The sold-out event “unknowingly brought together a large group of highly successful, extremely intelligent and powerful African-Americans from the financial services industry,” Brewer says, and “most of us, it turned out, hadn’t even known about each other before.”
That is the reality for African-American financial professionals. Although the make-up of the financial industry is changing and becoming more diverse, “most of us still operate individually,” Brewer says, “and it’s hard to find others and make connections. It’s really scary that it took this long to create the first conference of African-American financial advisors, but that’s just the way it is.”
Now that the conference has happened, though, Brewer hopes that the ties it has created and sealed will last and will give strength in numbers to African-American financial advisors and enable them to do more for the community at large, a goal that is near and dear to many of them.