Black on Wall Street: A profile of 3 professionals

Dale Favors has had white mentors on Wall Street, but says knowing other African-American colleagues has been essential

Dale Favors has had white mentors on Wall Street, but says knowing other African-American colleagues has been essential

Dale Favors

Juliette MICHEL
Mon, December 21, 2020, 2:36 PM GMT+8

Being Black on Wall Street has often meant entering a crowded room and seeing nobody else who looks like you.

This is changing, but not that fast. Here are three accounts that shed light on the challenges and benefits of that experience.

– Experiencing ‘social acclimation’ –

Before starting his own consulting firm, Dale Favors worked for leading financial giants including Morgan Stanley, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada and Piper Jaffray.

One critical element in his early career was the magazine “Black Enterprise” and its list of the top 25 Blacks on Wall Street.

In 1992, “I read that magazine from cover to back cover probably 200 times,” recalled Favors, who proceeded to call the names, one by one.

“That article there allowed me to identify the names and pictures of people who looked like me working on Wall Street. And I knew I could do it.”

He enjoyed the work in his first role in fixed income securities at Morgan Stanley. He had the technical skills for the job, but went through a process of “social acclimation,” he said.

“I had to get properly socialized into an environment that was very much Caucasian,” he recalled.

Favors has had white mentors, but says knowing other African-American colleagues has been essential. One of his mentors at Morgan Stanley was Craig Robinson, brother to former First Lady Michelle Obama.

“We all go through unique experiences being people of color on Wall Street,” he said. “To have other people to talk to about that, that’s so important.”

He appreciates that banks are hiring more from public universities and historically black colleges, but notes that recruits may still need a hand learning the office lingo or getting used to meetings where everyone else is white.

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