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Intentionality comes naturally to Richardson, a gift from the women in her family. “I come from humble beginnings," she explains. “But I never felt there was anything I couldn't do." As a child, Richardson's mother and aunts always expressed high aspirations for her career possibilities. “I felt limitless. I wouldn't be here without their support and encouragement."
Now, Richardson is a director of Risk Management at T. Rowe Price, and she celebrated her five-year anniversary last August. “I feel like I've graduated, reaching the five-year tenure milestone at the firm," she says. “I'm at least a sophomore. I'm definitely not a freshman anymore!"
What's the work culture like at T. Rowe Price?
People are very generous. I feel supported. If I ever have an issue, I have a resource to talk to. I've never reached out to someone, and they didn't make the time. I've seen a lot of concerted effort to make people feel that way from the top down, and for that to feel authentic is rare. It matters to feel like if I raise my voice, it's valued, and if I raise a concern or question, someone's going to take the time to try and answer it.
How does visibility factor into career growth at a global firm like T. Rowe Price?
At any global firm it's really important to be able to navigate and network not only up but also across. The more dimensions you're able to add to your network, the better. It helps you increase your perspective.
What opportunities does the firm offer in terms of letting you showcase your skills?
I have lots of opportunities in my job and participating in a business resource group (BRG) provides so many more. In 2023, I'll be the chair of MOSAIC, the diversity BRG. We're focused on increasing a sense of belonging and providing opportunities for associates to develop their career through networking. We've had a lot of challenges since 2020, especially through the pandemic, but everybody rose to the occasion. We were able to come together and hold space. Even though we were remote, we had programming that had huge participation numbers because people felt connected. That's something that can only be done organically. I'm really proud of that.
The BRGs are there to support employees and my goal as chair for 2023 is to make sure employees know all of the many resources in the firm. BRGs offer an opportunity to connect with people outside your organization and to increase cultural competency so we have an inclusive environment. It's really important that everyone feels welcome. You get visibility in the firm, and you get to build relationships. What you do with that is up to you. I would recommend every associate find a BRG that resonates with them or stretches them because there's nothing but upside from joining.
You're also a member of the Black Leadership Council (BLC). Can you tell me about that?
The Black Leadership Council advises leadership on the Black experience at T. Rowe Price and supports their mission to attract, support, and retain Black talent. We engage with both the Management Committee and associates throughout the firm.
We host welcome events for new leaders, and a town hall in partnership with MOSAIC, where we sponsor programming and field questions. We also have “office hours," where a subset of the BLC will sit with Black associates across the organization to understand their experiences. We hear firsthand and then amplify those topics and themes.
Speaking of senior Black leaders, tell me about Steph Jackson and Kimberly Johnson.
Well, they're great. They were both among Savoy Magazine's Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America, which is an honor in the industry, in general, and a big deal to the Black community, in particular.
Steph Jackson has a wonderful story, an amazing career, and what I really appreciate about him is he makes time to show up. He understands that his role matters, and he's very generous with his time. Kimberly is the COO at the firm. She's come in with this great energy to take us forward strategically. Both of these people are historic in their roles. When people see diversity in leadership, it says to them, "It's possible." When those leaders share their career journeys and their time, it's invaluable.
Tell me about the firm's corporate citizenship.
We have the T. Rowe Price Foundation that's extremely intentional about understanding the needs of the community. I had an opportunity last week to visit some of the nonprofits we support. It's phenomenal. What's so great is it centers the people who are on the ground to make sure we understand what their thoughts and needs are and what they think the best way to address it is. We got to see so many different organizations, and I just felt so proud. We have such a good name. It's not just what you do, it's how you do it. And it makes me feel like I'm a part of something bigger than just my j-o-b.