Celebrating Pride at Tiedemann | A letter from Craig Smith
At Tiedemann Advisors, we celebrate Pride Month because it honors the history, struggles and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community and our LGBTQ+ colleagues. When we think of Pride, we remember that Pride started as a protest led by trans women of color, labeled criminal and mentally ill for being their true selves, against oppressive forces trying to silence and eliminate them. Fighting back against norms, expectations and systems – all deeming them other, unworthy, and shameful – was a courageous act. And over the ensuing decades, many, many more courageous acts - battling oppression, AIDS, political forces and every form of discrimination - followed in the footsteps of these original LGBTQ+ protestors. Each courageous act fought against fear and shame and for freedom and inclusion and culminated in the bold, unapologetic celebration that Pride has become today.
It is those COURAGEOUS ACTS, both big and small, all affirming the agency and dignity of a group of human beings that inspire us and drive us to celebrate Pride at Tiedemann. It is the advocacy and allyship with and for the underrepresented that drives us to celebrate Pride at Tiedemann. And it is the (some might say courageous) recognition that inequality for any individual or group of people is bad for both business and society.
So we certainly celebrate Pride in proud allyship with and for our LGBTQ+ colleagues (including myself among them!), but we also do so to honor all courageous acts that work against fear, shame, discrimination and subordination and work toward self-worth, equity and justice, both in our workplace and in our communities and the world around us.
For me, as President of Tiedemann Advisors and a gay man (of a certain age) in the financial services industry, I do specifically want to honor all of the courageous acts of my peers, within and outside Tiedemann, that have worked for equity and inclusion in our industry for LGBTQ+ individuals. While LGBTQ+ representation still appears to be quite low in our industry, we are seeing change and acceptance and inclusion – people are speaking out about their true selves and demanding a place in a field historically (and arguably still) exceedingly populated with and dominated by straight white men.
Earlier this month, I was selected by Crain’s New York Business as one of the “2021 Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives.” While I was honored to be recognized for my contribution to the New York business community and the community at large, what excited me most is that this list exists at all and that all of those selected were thrilled to be presented to the world as LGBTQ in a prominent longstanding publication. I can remember a time earlier in my career when I would have been frightened and apprehensive, to say the least, about being publicly recognized as gay in any form of media. So this year, I celebrate the courage of those who came before me in standing up and out in a big way and the courage of all of those who supported me in my career journey to become a proud gay man in my company and my industry.