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Inclusive Capitalism Fireside Chats: A Conversation With John Rogers and Blair Smith

Inclusive Capitalism Fireside Chats: A Conversation With John Rogers and Blair Smith

The Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets recently launched its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Asset Management program.

As part of the initiative, Senior Director Blair Smith hosted John Rogers, CEO of Ariel Investments, for a fireside chat on the racial wealth gap, the state of Black business, and Rogers’ approach to running a multibillion dollar global asset management firm.

Rogers and Smith emphasized the need for a renewed commitment to economic justice and development for communities of color—not just from the broader economic sphere, but the communities themselves.

In light of Black History Month, the speakers discussed the profound history of cities like Chicago, where Ariel Investments is headquartered, and the importance of building on progress while keeping innovation and inclusivity front of mind, highlighting programs like Project Black.

From seeking out and investing in new talent, to holding those at the top accountable and diversifying board rooms, Rogers and Smith exhibit a determination to break down barriers for the next generation of business leaders and giants.

More on the Inclusive Capitalism program at the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute has long-emphasized the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion across the business community: from enabling all stakeholders to participate in capital markets, to producing equitable, measurable, and sustainable growth that empowers individuals and businesses and promotes inclusive capitalism.

In the last few years, the evidence for promoting DEI in asset management has reached critical mass. Reports from entities like McKinsey and the Small Business Administration illustrate both the limited social groups within asset management; and the economic opportunity cost—jobs and wealth creation—of allowing this dynamic to continue.

To this end, the Milken Institute’s Inclusive Capitalism initiative focuses on creating long-term value for all stakeholders in the investment world—namely women and black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC)—and holds investment firms, academia, and other institutions accountable for building a more inclusive asset management ecosystem.