“I want people to know that Schwab is a safe and affirming place for everyone,” explains Selena Cefaloni, the Scarsdale, NY Schwab Branch Manager.
Selena is a steadfast LGBTQ+ ally in both her personal and professional life. She’s committed to listening, learning and finding ways to ensure those around her have the knowledge to better serve the LGBTQ+ community. Selena emphasizes the importance of first understanding where people are coming from in order to be able to help them.
A personal experience
Selena’s journey to allyship started after a person close to her came out as gay. She witnessed the emotional journey and personal challenges that came with this person choosing to live life authentically. And while many people were supportive, Selena saw many other unexpected challenges that those in traditional heterosexual relationships do not encounter.
“I sympathized with what they were going through,” she explains. “I wanted them to know that they were supported and accepted.”
Since then, Selena has taken proactive steps to become an ally and has found ways to bring allyship to Schwab.
What it means to be an ally
“In our business we are responsible for connecting with both the head and the heart. You can’t connect with a person if you don’t understand their situation. And there is a massive LGBTQ+ community that has lots of different challenges than the community I come from. I wanted to learn more.”
- Selena Cefaloni, Schwab Branch Manager
So, Selena decided to join the PRIDE+ employee resource group (ERG). She explained that in her first year as a member she focused on listening. But then she started to engage more and was asked to be the co-chair of the Branch/Virtual chapter.
“I’m proud of the work we are doing,” explains Selena. “Our chapter has organized approximately 12 PRIDE parades in June, and members of my branch are taking time out on a Sunday to join the Westchester parade.”
Serving the community
Selena has also formed a unique relationship with The LOFT, an LGBTQ+ Community Center in White Plains, NY that serves as a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, and seeks to advocate, educate, and celebrate PRIDE.
The Scarsdale, NY branch is a sponsor and a member of The LOFT. And through this membership, Selena and her team will have the opportunity to connect with the LGBTQ+ community and help them learn new financial literacy skills through a customized workshop.
“I just want to help people, no matter who they are,” explains Selena. “My job is to get to know clients and to understand their goals and help them reach them. And if I understand the community they come from, I can help them even more.”