Witad Awards 2019 Write-Ups: Gender Equality Professional of the Year—Frieda Lewis, Broadridge Financial Solutions

Frieda Lewis, chief commercial diversity officer at Broadridge Financial Solutions, is this year’s gender equality professional of the year.

Witad Awards 2019 Frieda Lewis Broadridge
Broadridge Financial's Frieda Lewis received the gender equality professional of the year award at this year's Women in Technology & Data Awards.

Lewis, with her 30 years in business, began her career as a Broadridge client while working at several broker-dealers. She joined the firm in 2008 as a managing director for global relationship management, allowing her to strategically interact with other firms. From the beginning of her Broadridge tenure, she has worked with and sat on boards for organizations that work to increase diversity across the industry. “We need more understanding of the need for diversity, but we are already seeing an impact,” she says. “Internally, we see diversity driving positive outcomes and when we engage with employees they see that they have a positive impact to the business.”

Broadridge addresses diversity with precision: It tracks how many women within the firm are in lower-, middle-, and senior-level positions and takes note as to how many have been hired, promoted or left the company. Lewis says seeing the statistics keeps the diversity group, and the company itself, accountable. “Diversity is an evolution because when we started the programs, it was kind of ticking a box, but as research evolved it became more apparent to the senior executives that women in senior positions are impactful,” Lewis explains. “The executive team has really embraced sponsorship.” 

The work Broadridge does to improve its diversity came about from internal soul searching, according to Lewis, who says the company has acknowledged its shortcomings and holds quarterly town halls with employees to get more diverse voices to the forefront. She ensures that she works with the senior executives, as this sends a message from the top down that diversity is important to the company. This move has allowed Broadridge to increase its diversity quotient to 58% for both women and people of color, according to the company. 

Lewis’ experience gained by meeting with clients has also helped shape Broadridge’s diversity and inclusion programs, she explains. She says that sharing best practices allows the company to hone in on potential programs it can undertake to retain and train more women and other minorities. She is also a big proponent of mentoring and sponsorship programs. 

Lewis says that a greater focus on science, technology, engineering and math in early education goes a long way toward helping girls develop an affinity for technology and data, while placing women on hiring boards will help to eliminate unconscious biases in the hiring process. “This is the culmination of my career—if I can make a difference in someone’s career then that makes me feel really good,” Lewis says.

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