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ARA Diversity Equity and Inclusion

ARA Diversity Equity and Inclusion

ARA is committed to connecting DEI activities to a broader business-driven, results-oriented strategy. As part of its ongoing commitment to its 30,000+ members and the impact of their advocacy on behalf of the nation’s private retirement system, the American Retirement Association works with members and industry partners to develop and execute strategies aimed at addressing social and economic issues affecting retirement policy, including gaps in coverage.

The ARA Diversity committee develops the association’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) activities and explores appropriate steps, strategies, and partnerships aimed at increasing the participation rates of underrepresented groups in employer-sponsored retirement investment options. The committee’s goal is to keep the DEI conversation going and to provide resources for members.


Programs and Partnerships

FARE Coalition

The American Retirement Association is honored to be a member of the Financial Alliance for Racial Equity (FARE). The Mission of the coalition is to increase racial diversity, drive greater equity and foster inclusion within the financial services industry and the communities served. The vision is to transform the financial services industry to better serve diverse employees and communities—current and future generations—using actionable and measurable solutions.

The Financial Alliance for Racial Equity—a coalition comprised of nine leading financial services groups, six historically Black colleges and universities, and four strategic partners, including the American College and the CFP Board—was launched in 2020. FARE’s mission is to create awareness around financial service career opportunities to attract and retain diverse talent.

Member Opportunities


Member Resources


ARA DEI Committee Members

Patricia Wenzel, CFP®, CRPC®, C(k)P®, CPFA™ (NAPA) (chair)
Managing Director  
Wealth Management Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Malika Terry, CPFA®, CPSP™ (PSCA)
Head of Total Rewards Invitae
Pam Appell, CFA, AIF® (NAPA)
Vice President
Plexus Financial Services
Martella A. Turner-Joseph, MSPA (ASEA/ASPPA)
Pension Actuary Joseph & Turner Consulting Actuaries, LLC
Lee Bethel, CPFA™ (NAPA)
Comprehensive Benefit Services, Inc.
Tamara Indianer, CRES, AIF®, CFP® (NTSA)
Vice President
Head of Retirement Marketplace Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc.
Christopher D. Cervantes, C(k)P®, CIMA®, CFP®, CPFA™ (NAPA)
Founder & Managing
Partner Valorous Advisors
Jay Washington CEBS® RICP® AIF® (NAPA)
Diverse Market Segment Registered Representative Voya Financial®
Tuyen Pham, CPFA (NAPA)
Sheri Melvin CPSP™ (PSCA)
National Senior Director
Human Resources and Administration National Endowment for Democracy
Lisa M. Garcia, CPFA, AIF® (NAPA)
Retirement Plan Consultant
SageView Advisory Group


ARA DEI Committee Goals

  • Address gaps in coverage for racially/ethnically diverse individuals.
  • Identify social issues (barriers) that affect retirement policy
  • Identify economic (barriers) issues that affect retirement policy
  • Provide education/materials to members (and the business community) targeted at small businesses on employer sponsored retirement plans
  • Share related industry research/data
  • Collect/develop best practices
  • Increase awareness of current retirement policies that negatively impact participation rates among underrepresented groups/communities
  • Identify and/or recommendation for products, partnerships, and resources to support inclusion goals
  • Champion resources to aid members in increasing their DEI knowledge including educational and advocacy opportunities




Diversity for Small Business Retirement

Secure Yourself. Secure Your Community.
Leveraging retirement plans to secure BIPOC communities.

As members of the American Retirement Association, we are part of a larger mission that works toward a fair and accessible retirement system for all Americans. That means an inclusive system, in which all small businesses — regardless of demographics — can offer their owners and employees a means to plan and save for retirement.

Although financial priorities differ across cultures, having access to a workplace retirement plan increases an individual’s ability to save for retirement. Unfortunately, studies show that employees of minority-owned small businesses are less likely to have access to those plans.

We’d like to change that.

For communities of color, retirement is often defined as the job you will do or the business you will own after retiring from your primary career. But the good news is you don’t have to work forever! A retirement savings plan can help you and your employees achieve that dream, even with competing financial priorities.

The facts are clear.


7 in 10

Lack of access to a workplace retirement plan means working past retirement age. In other words: No retirement plan, no retirement.

Communities of color are not prepared for retirement. And they’re not participating in a plan because of lack of access and competing financial priorities.




Offering a retirement savings plan in the workplace makes a difference for businesses, employees, and the communities they serve.

Business benefits of offering a retirement plan:

  • Immediate tax savings
  • Potential tax credits
  • Attract talent
  • Tax-efficient ways to retain and reward employees


Community benefits of offering a retirement plan

  • Enhanced sense of company culture
  • Increased morale
  • Greater ability to focus at work
  • Ability to help other members of the community without compromising your financial well being


It’s time act! And I can help.

Visit to learn more or contact your financial or tax advisor to set up your employees for retirement success.


Visit the IRS website for supplemental information?
Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business [PDF]






Erika Goodwin (Staff Liaison)
Director Advocacy Engagement
[email protected]

Madison Oakley (Staff Liaison)
Advocacy and Member Engagement Coordinator
[email protected]