Erin Scannell strives to make his business environment inclusive and inviting for everyone.
All people have different experiences, belief systems and styles and that creates a learning atmosphere where employees can thrive and lift the company to new heights, he said.
At Heritage Wealth Advisors on Mercer Island, the chief executive officer and his team is “creating a different environment that younger people, and women and people of color might be attracted to.”
The company — which is headquartered locally with 18 employees and has a dozen offices across Washington and some in California and Arizona — was recently named No. 1 on the Gender Equity Now GenIndex list for Washington’s Most Equitable Workplaces for 2020.
According to a press release, the team was recognized “for all of the efforts we have focused on around gender equality and a thriving environment for women in the workplace.” The company’s focus on equity and employee job satisfaction and opportunities for all resonated with the Gender Equity Now team during an interview, the application process and a survey.
They not only put their equity goal into writing, but regularly focused on it and brought it to fruition, Scannell said. They took action and got some results, he added.
Presently, five out of its eight leaders are women, and Scannell said that’s a significant 60 percent mark in the financial services industry realm.
“Wall Street is known as the old boys club. It’s a very old white male dominated industry and it doesn’t feel very approachable to a lot of people. To not only millennials, like just younger people, it also doesn’t feel approachable to people that look different than the older white male,” Scannell said. “We’ve got a really awesome, energetic set of leaders, and we as a group look different than, again, the old boys club in our industry.”
Scannell launched Heritage Wealth Advisors in 1998 and originally headquartered the company in Seattle and later Bellevue. The company has called Mercer Island home for the last 15 years.
He wants employees to be energized at work, from Monday until Friday.
“We want it to be something where people go home at night feeling really good about what they accomplished and good about their own career trajectory,” said Scannell, who has lived on the Island for 15 years.
At Heritage Wealth Advisors, the culture is not hierarchical and that’s where its reverse mentorship program shines. Younger workers and interns have been asked what they think of the company and what they would do different if they were in charge.
“That has helped us to make decisions in a way that makes it a more inclusive environment,” Scannell said. “We feel like the feedback someone like that can give us is huge.”