A Message from Marty Chavez
At Sixth Street, we all know: Portfolio diversification offers one of only two free lunches, giving us the same expected return for less risk, or a greater expected return for the same risk. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEi) offers the other free lunch: Uncorrelated experiences and worldviews make us better investors.
We understand the value of DEi to Sixth Street. But have we made a compelling case to individual people for coming out on Wall Street? No.
In 30 years of being out and proud on Wall Street, multitudes of junior people have thanked me for being a trailblazer. I say, I don’t see myself that way. I just won’t compromise and pretend to be someone I’m not for the sake of a job. If that makes me a trailblazer, then so be it.
I can’t tell you how many times junior people have said: “It’s great for you to be out, Marty – you’re a partner and a senior leader. But in the trenches out there on the desk, there’s no value to me in coming out; actually, I’m quite certain doing so would harm my career.”
The Goldman Sachs diversity networks hosted a retirement party for me in 2019. After all the warm words, a junior professional whom I didn’t know came up or to me and said: “I used to think of you, Marty, as an example of what I might achieve on Wall Street. But now I’ve decided that you are a one-off, a mutation.” Then he walked away. Ouch.
And yet, I know these things to be true:
If I hadn’t been myself at work, I never would’ve lasted long enough in the business to become a senior leader. Instead of pretending to be someone I wasn’t, I poured all that time and energy into my career.
If I had waited for a Hispanic and LGBTQ+ senior leader to show me what would be possible for me on Wall Street I’d still be waiting. My great mentors were mostly straight Jewish men.
Let’s say we’re going to promote one of two people, with equal contributions to the firm. One we know as a full and complex human being. The other exists as a cipher for us – disappearing on Friday night and reappearing on Monday with weekend stories that don’t quite add up, with no stories at all. Which of the two do we know and trust? Which of the two are we more likely to promote?
If I hadn’t brought all of myself to work, I never would have formed the personal relationships that propelled my career. While imagining all the negative things that might happen to me if I were to come out, I’d have been missing all the positive things that definitively wouldn’t have happened in my career as I wasted time on creating an illusory version of myself for consumption at the office.
As Lord John Browne memorably told me: When you come out, it’s news that you came out. It isn’t news that you’re LGBTQ+.
And so, I join Mike Signorile as I implore you: Come out, come out, wherever you are!