Alliance to help advance racial equity for over five decades

As a proud sponsor of Black Enterprise since its inception, Equitable celebrates the magazine’s 50th anniversary and its impact. The long-standing strategic partnership has been influential in driving economic progression of the Black community and strengthening Black representation, within and outside of the company.

Q&A with John Graves: son of Black Enterprise founder and former Equitable board member

John Graves has primarily used two platforms to fulfill his audacious mission: leading the events arm of Black Enterprise — the multimedia company founded by his father, Earl G. Graves, Sr. — and engaging in key roles at Equitable as a corporate Board Director (2002-2004) and top financial professional (2004-2005). Graves continues to serve as a relentless advocate for the Black community, promoting financial education. His goal: to guide millions on the path to multigenerational wealth. He shares his advocacy and views in the following Q&A interview:
  • What is your view on the evolution of the relationship between Black Enterprise and Equitable?
    “The late Darwin Davis, Equitable’s former senior vice president in charge of external relations, was a staunch advocate for the creation of a strategic partnership between Equitable and Black Enterprise. Like my father, he believed that the demographics of the Black Enterprise audience — entrepreneurs and corporate executives — could benefit from Equitable’s mission to help its clients secure their financial well-being.”
  • As a corporate director, what were the issues of greatest importance to you?
    “Of equal importance was ensuring strong organizational performance and creating opportunities for more African American financial professionals at Equitable Advisors, part of Equitable. By attracting more ethnically diverse financial professionals, Equitable Advisors would have access to exponentially grow its client base. Such an exclusion would limit the creation of innovative financial products and services that would benefit all clients.”  
  • Can you share the role you played in the expansion of the strategic alliance between the two companies at the time of the development of Black Enterprise’s Wealth for Life Initiative?

    “Given my father’s commitment and Black Enterprise’s editorial focus on wealth building, we wanted an initiative that would resonate with our audience while serving as a reminder that African Americans should commit to growing their net worth.

    Equitable’s sponsorship of the Black Enterprise Ski Challenge and Financial Empowerment Series created an opportunity for the brand to be associated with a multimedia company that reached an audience of affluent, highly educated and success-driven individuals with investable assets. These events also enabled financial professionals to gain direct access to individuals.” 

  • As a financial professional, you gained greater insight into wealth creation barriers for African Americans in general. Given the current climate, what should African Americans do to get on the path to multigenerational wealth?
    “In general, I found the barriers continue to be a lack of education, and exclusion from conversations and information about money management strategies and financial service products. African Americans must fully engage in deliberate financial planning that includes homeownership and life insurance policies used as a wealth-transfer strategy to beneficiaries. To make such strides, it is imperative that they gain access to trustworthy, professional guidance from top-notch financial professionals like those found at Equitable Advisors.”

Equitable has realized the evolution of its Diversity & Inclusion approach and expansion of its racial equity mandate since Graves’ tenure with our company to meet our objectives.

The evolution of Diversity and Inclusion

Hear from Equitable's senior diversity leaders how we have expanded our racial equity mandate, since Graves' tenure with the company.

Cynthia Bodison
Cynthia Bodison

Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Equitable Advisors

“Equitable has defined an ambitious strategy to achieve strong and measurable progress by 2023. We are committed to strengthening Black representation by significantly increasing our population of Black senior leaders and financial professionals across the organization, as well as increasing the psychological safety and the performance support of Black employees and financial professionals.”

Image of Rich Migdalski
Rich Migdalski

Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Equitable

“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is the center stone of innovation in our business. At Equitable, we strive to make Equitable representative of America today, creating best solutions for our clients now and for the future. With an enhanced diverse workforce, we have seen the theme of financial literacy become prominent across all communities, empowering our colleagues and customers to have a life plan focused on all areas of wellness (physical, emotional, financial, work-life and social)."

Equal Opportunity Employer - M/F/D/V. The 160-year history reference applies exclusively to Equitable Financial.
GE-6131306.1 (11/2023) (Exp. 11/2025)