The subject line read “Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at Goldman Sachs,” and the email went out to every employee. The missive, signed by three top executives, communicated new goals and outlined specific objectives. “Our goal is to be the employer of choice for all,” they wrote in closing. “It is important for our business, our clients, our people, and to us. Fundamental change takes time, but if we’re rigorous in our execution of incremental change, we will make it happen. We are committed to that.”
The message elevated what was already an ongoing commitment at Goldman Sachs, and in the weeks and months that followed, its authors made a series of moves designed to deliver on their promise to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts across the organization. In 2021, they named managing director and veteran Goldman Sachs employee Megan Hogan as chief diversity officer.
In her role, Hogan is responsible for carrying forth the firm’s global DEI strategy by ensuring an inclusive environment and fostering a diverse workforce. To do so, she’s drawing on her personal background, educational training, and professional experience.
Hogan is a native New Yorker and granddaughter of Dominican immigrants. The first-generation college student earned a degree in African American Studies and Psychology at Yale before continuing to Fordham University School of Law.
Her studies and participation in pro bono clinics opened her eyes to persistent disparities in the world around her. “I saw how the structures in place across the globe have worked against historically underrepresented people, and I started to care even more than I already did about making change in the world,” Hogan says.
The opportunity to make change came early in Hogan’s career when she landed a job at law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. She eventually found herself working pro bono on asylum cases with the City Bar Justice Center’s Immigrant Justice Project, which assists individuals escaping persecution or seeking relief from violence.
With each pro bono case, Hogan grew more passionate about empowering the underserved. She contemplated a career change but wasn’t ready to pivot. Then, her father passed away and her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
“I saw the brevity of life and started thinking more about vulnerable populations and how much work there is to be done,” she explains. “I was ready to make advancing inclusion a full-time pursuit instead of an extracurricular activity.”
Hogan joined Goldman Sachs’ talent development team in 2014, became global head of diversity recruiting in 2017, and has since introduced some of the company’s key DEI initiatives. In 2017, long before there was a national focus on talent from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), her team launched an HBCU summit to build relationships and “demystify what it means to work at Goldman Sachs.”
In 2021, Goldman Sachs announced a five-year $25 million commitment to HBCUs and a four-month financial fundamentals training program known as Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Program.
The Neurodiversity Hiring Initiative started in 2019 draws on Hogan’s experience as the mother of a child with learning differences and gives applicants the chance to participate in a paid internship that may convert to full-time employment. The program, now in its third year, has expanded beyond engineering and operations to include compliance roles.
Now, as chief diversity officer, Hogan is focused on what she calls “everyday allyship,” or what she and the firm’s leaders can do to foster a sense of belonging. “Corporations have become skilled at responding after a crisis, but we want to build awareness so everyone at Goldman Sachs feels understood, valued, seen, and appreciated every day of the year,” she explains. New tools and resources like LGBTQ+ and racial equity guides will help employees gain perspective and build important connections where everyday allyship can take place.
Goldman is committed to promoting racial equity, improving gender equality, and advancing representation across the entire organization. With its aspirational hiring goals and diversity benchmarks published, Hogan is moving to create additional development opportunities. “The base of our pyramid is strong for diverse talent,” she says. “Now we have to get them to the top.”
Even with strong executive support, life as a DEI practitioner at a large global organization comes with some inherent challenges. Hogan, who leads a team of fifty people in an organization of forty-five thousand, relies on members of a global, regional and divisional inclusion and diversity committees to work with leadership on regional priorities.
While it sometimes presents obstacles, Goldman’s size and influence also brings opportunity. In 2020, CEO David Solomon announced that the firm will only take companies public in the US or Western Europe if they have at least one diverse board member. In 2021, that requirement increased to two diverse board members including one woman.
With these and other efforts, Hogan and her team are making an impact as they ensure an inclusive work environment and a diverse workforce. That diversity of thought, expertise, and knowledge leads to better outcomes and generates better experiences for Goldman’s clients and communities around the world.