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Terrance Williams, the President and CEO of TruStage, emphasizes the critical role that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) play in shaping companies and paving a purposeful path to the future. As the first Black person to lead TruStage, Williams believes that DEI is essential in ensuring that companies represent the marketplace, customers, and partners they serve. He draws on his personal experiences growing up in South Carolina, where he witnessed the impact of the lack of access to life insurance in the community, to underscore the importance of making a brighter financial future accessible to all.

With a historical backdrop of practices like redlining and price discrimination in the insurance industry, Williams acknowledges the need for financial institutions to reckon with their past and commit to creating a better future. By incorporating DEI into the fabric of a company, it can strengthen the brand and positively impact the communities served. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that organizations with diverse ethnic and cultural representation outperform those lacking diversity in terms of profitability, highlighting the business benefits of embracing diversity.

Williams emphasizes that DEI cannot be a one-time initiative but must be an ongoing commitment. By listening and learning from different communities, companies can expand access and better serve their customers. TruStage’s efforts include doubling the representation of people of color within the company and investing in startups founded by people in underrepresented communities. The company’s focus on diversity and inclusion has not only made a difference but has also attracted Williams to the organization.

Through the What Matters Now research report, TruStage found that DEI practices matter to young and multicultural consumers. The research indicates a need for more representation and cultural understanding in financial institutions to stay relevant as consumer expectations evolve. Williams stresses the importance of listening, learning, and adapting to meet the diverse needs of customers to open doors for both the company and consumers. He believes that DEI initiatives are now essential for businesses, not just an add-on or bonus.

To create a more inclusive environment in the insurance industry, Williams encourages speaking up and stepping up for employees from all walks of life. By fostering open dialogue, promoting interaction, and embracing candor and honest conversation, companies can better understand and meet the needs of different communities. Williams believes that insurance is a force for good by protecting people from life’s challenges and that showcasing this value to customers and prospective employees can help attract diverse talent and position the industry as a purposeful career path for the next generation.

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