Founder and Principal
Todd Sears has a long history of innovation, integrating business opportunity with next-generation leadership and diversity. A former investment banker at Schroders and DeSilva & Phillips, as well as a first-quintile financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, he brings an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing senior leadership in corporations today, as well as how to leverage diversity initiatives to increase and retain diverse talent and market share.
After creating the first national team of financial advisors on Wall Street to focus on the LGBT community, which brought over $1.5 billion of new assets to Merrill Lynch, Todd moved into diversity leadership. Since that time, he has pioneered diversity initiatives at Merrill Lynch, where he was Head of Strategic Initiatives for the Office of Diversity, as well as at Credit Suisse, where he served as Americas Head of Diversity and Inclusion. Both organizations continue to be ranked among the top companies in the Fortune 500 by diversity organizations like Working Mother, Black MBA, the Human Rights RCampaign, and others.
In his capacity as a leadership pioneer, Todd has launched ground-breaking initiatives with recognized trailblazers among diverse communities, from Martina Navratilova to Joe Jonas to General Colin Powell. Todd is an international expert and lecturer and appears at leading conferences to impart his methods, experiences and vision for diversity innovation.
Todd, a graduate of Duke University and Woodberry Forrest School, is also an active philanthropist and community leader. He is the founding co-chair of Jeffrey Fashion Cares, a fashion show fundraiser supporting LGBT civil rights, youth and HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, which has applied an innovative cost-structure to raise millions of dollars since its inception. Todd is a senior advisor to the Task Force for Talent Innovation as well as Christopher Street Financial. He also serves on the non-profit boards of The Williams Institute of UCLA, The Palette Fund, The Asia Society Diversity Board, and Lambda Legal National Leadership Council.
- Merrill Lynch: 2007 Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion Award, one of 25 honorees globally.
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
- 2011 Corporate Equality Award to Credit Suisse for innovative diversity initiatives.
- 2010 Innovation Award for creating the Credit Suisse Open Perspectives program.
- 2007 Corporate Equality Award to Merrill Lynch for LGBT initiative.
- Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG): – 2007 Corporate Leadership Award to Merrill Lynch for LGBT initiative.
Initiatives led by Todd have received the following recognitions:
Keynotes and Speaking Engagements
- Arthur Ashe Commemoration Event Moderator (2013)
- Center for Talent Innovation: Power of Out 2.0 (2013)
- Immigration Equality White Paper Launch Presentation (2013)
- KPMG Breathe 10th Anniversary Research Presentation (2013)
- Morgan Stanley Power of Out 2.0 Launch Presentation (2013)
- RBS Pride Network Keynote (2013)
- TedX Duke Presentation on Diversity and Inclusion (2013)
- Woodbury Alumni Keynote on LGBT Inclusion (2013)
- AMCF Diversity Panel (2012)
- CIA Presentation on Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices (2012)
- NYU Class Presentation on LGBT Career Mobility (2012)
- Out on the Street: London Introduction (2012)
- RBS Keynote on LGBT Business Opportunity (2012)
- Barcelona Global Diversity Forum Keynote (2011)
- Duke Career Progression Panelist (2011)
- Asia Society Diversity Leadership Summit (2010)
- Out on the Street New York Introduction (2010-2013)
- Working Mother Flex Summit Chair (2010)
- Hidden Brain Drain Summit (2009)
- IBM/Hetrick Martin Leadership Forum (2009)
- Institute of Supply Management Summit Presentation (2009)
- Equality Forum (2008)
- Working Mother Work-Life Congress (2008)
- National Black MBA (2007)
- ReachingOUT MBA (2004-2008, 2012)
- Out & Equal (2001-2006, 2008)