As of 2020, there were an estimated 134,567 Black- or African American-owned businesses in the United States with $133.7 billion in annual receipts, 1.3 million employees and about $40.5 billion in annual payroll ( With so many innovative leaders coming into the mainstream, it’s important we acknowledge those who are creating an impact not only in the financial world but for the African-American community as well.

Here are seven champions from the community who are making waves when it comes to disrupting personal finance tropes, creating more opportunities for inclusion and diversity in the financial sector, and empowering others to build wealth strategies that include debt-free living.

7 Innovative Black Financial Leaders

Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Managing Director, and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley
Author, renowned gospel singer, and appointed by President Obama to be the Chairperson of the National Women’s Council in 2013, Carla is an innovator of the highest degree. She’s been integral in the execution of numerous public offerings including Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Ariba, and Redback.

Lauren Simmons, former stock trader at Rosenblatt Securities
Lauren became the youngest and sole full-time female equity trader on Wall Street when she was only 22. As a stock trader for Rosenblatt Securities, she was repeatedly recognized for her ability to be an impactful leader. In 2018 alone she was recognized as one of the Women of Impact by Politico and was included in Ebony’s Power 100.

Reverend Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., founder
Dr. Soaries, a former Secretary of State for New Jersey and current Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens has been at the helm of helping teach others how to live a debt-free and prosperous life. He founded with the vision to “…be a leader in the creation of an economic and cultural shift that increases consumer participation in savings, insurance, and investments.”

Sharon Epperson, Senior Personal Finance Correspondent at CNBC
With expertise in investment and saving for retirement, Sharon is a powerhouse when it comes to financial legacy building. Recognized as one of “12 to Watch in TV News” by Crain NewsPro, she is at the forefront of making sure the market is inclusive for all.

Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP, Co-CEO 2050 Wealth Partners
A Certified Financial Planner, Rianka also serves as Co-CEO and Co-Founder of 2050 Wealth Partners and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and new wealth builders develop sound financial planning strategies. She also hosts the “2050 Trailblazers” podcast which is geared towards creating more opportunities for minorities in the financial planning field.

Anthony O’Neal, national best-selling author
Anthony has helped thousands of his followers learn better strategies for wealth building and debt reduction. As his own financial story began at the age of 19, he’s particularly interested in helping teens and young adults learn how to live a debt-free life. His books Debt-Free Degree, The Graduate Survival Guide, and Destroy Your Student Loan Debt have reached numerous bestseller lists.

Michelle Singletary, nationally-syndicated columnist for The Washington Post
Author of the twice-weekly column “The Color of Money”, Michelle is an award-winning personal finance columnist and author who works with successful entrepreneurs to help financially educate and mentor those who are in financial difficulty. She’s received numerous honors including the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins University and the 2009 Matrix Award from The Association for Women in Communications.
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Related Courses: Investment Banking Certification

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About The New York Institute of Finance

The New York Institute of Finance (NYIF) is a global leader in professional training for financial services and related industries. NYIF courses cover everything from investment banking, asset pricing, insurance and market structure to financial modeling, treasury operations, and accounting. The New York Institute of Finance has a faculty of industry leaders and offers a range of program delivery options, including self-study, online courses, and in-person classes. Founded by the New York Stock Exchange in 1922, NYIF has trained over 250,000 professionals online and in-class, in over 120 countries.

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