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Morgan Stanley’s Carla Harris Builds Stronger Businesses Through Diversity

Morgan Stanley’s Carla Harris Builds Stronger Businesses Through Diversity
Carla Harris: Vice chairman, managing director, and senior client adviser, Morgan Stanley. [Photo: Jessie English; Set designer: Wunderkind; Grooming: Kay Louro]

Carla Harris built her reputation on Wall Street by shepherding billions of dollars through initial public offerings. She now oversees Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab. To gain an edge, she says, companies must start by having “a lot of different people in the room.” Here is her playbook for attracting—and keeping—diverse talent.

Look Harder

Hiring managers often hide behind the claim that qualified, diverse candidates seem scarce. “The easy answer is, ‘It’s hard to find them.’ When I hear people say that, I know right away they’re not really committed to making it happen, because the talented women and people of color—they’re out there.”

Cultivate Success

“When you bring somebody into your organization and have gone through all that trouble to find them, recruit them, pay them top dollar—there is no reason that they should fail. If they don’t do well, something is happening in your culture, and you should check that.”

Lean On The Next Generation

Millennials, Harris says, expect to see diversity in the upper ranks, “and they are getting into positions of leadership faster than we did. That is what’s going to cause companies that have been around for a long time to change.”

This story was adapted from the Fast Company Innovation Festival.