10:02 AM

Celebrating Allies

What does it mean to be an ally? The word is being used a lot to signal support of diversity initiatives, but it’s often not well defined.

Savvy Ladies, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering women through financial literacy, highlighted the meaning of being an ally with its first Male Ally Award this month. For nearly two decades, the New York-based organization has focused on women helping women, with more than 20,000 women served so far.

Today, there’s an understanding that all leaders need to do more. That’s where being an ally comes in: male leaders have an opportunity to take a more active role in helping move the needle in an industry that still has a 3 to 1 ratio of male to female leaders.

Nationwide is proud that John Carter, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Financial, was the recipient of this inaugural award presented Nov. 18 at the group’s Annual Gala. Kristi Martin Rodriguez, leader of Nationwide Retirement Institute who introduced John, credits Carter with supporting her development as a senior executive and thought leader at Nationwide.

The group cites Carter’s success at building “world-class engaged teams” and his support of “work-life-balance tools and instruction resulting in a best-in-class sales force, high-performing teams, and an environment that attracts, develops and retains top-performing and diverse talent.”

What’s the secret? That there is no “secret,” Carter says. It’s a combination of doing what’s right and doing what’s best from a business perspective.

“Being inclusive is the right thing to do,” Carter wrote in a recent article for Financial Advisor magazine. “The business case is clear: a diverse workforce brings richer perspectives, aids employee engagement and enhances a company’s performance.”

Carter calls on other leaders in the industry to become allies by actively seeking out and promoting women in the industry. With talent at a premium and with clients and partners expecting companies they do business with to demonstrate diversity, it’s a more timely message than ever.

To learn more about Nationwide’s efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion visit Nationwide's 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility report.