Inclusivity, impact and social responsibility stand at the forefront of the eponymous Merrill private wealth management team founded & led by Myah Moore Irick (M.A. '06).

The Pittsburgh-based Irick Group actively seeks out and encourages investments by women, Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ individuals and others traditionally under-represented in the financial marketplace.

Irick took a moment to share her thoughts on her life, career and commitment to social justice as the page turned from 2021 to 2022. [This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.] 

Your embrace of inclusiveness and equity in the marketplace is different than what we have seen from traditional financial advisers. What in your upbringing, education and life experiences steered you in this direction?

My parents emphasized work ethic, a strong moral compass, and lifting others up along one’s journey. They also modeled inclusion and a consistent hunger for personal growth. 

Over the course of my career, I have noticed the distinct need for advisors who are incredibly smart but also possess very high integrity and are empathetic to diverse lived experiences. Globally and domestically, the face of wealth has changed — but our industry has a ways to go. I strive to build a multifaceted team, where we are led by our values and where we represent diverse perspectives. We are continuously pushing ourselves to help our clients do well while doing good.

In the past you have touched on the "legacy" of financial investments.

It’s true, the percentage of affluent Black Americans has outpaced the growth of the general affluent population (65% v. 53%) since 2015 – which is an important finding. It is great to see more financial prosperity happening within this community. However, as we all know, there is still much work that needs to be done.

What is the Irick Group doing to encourage families that are “new to wealth” to build wealth and grow retirement savings? 

The Irick Group takes a very personal interest in helping underrepresented communities, like Black Americans, build wealth and grow retirement savings in a couple of different ways. For example, we are reaching out directly to these communities and hosting boot camps for underrepresented founders, speaking to affinity groups at some of the largest corporations about financial literacy and wealth planning, and partnering with universities to ensure that we begin providing resources early on about financial wellness. 

 With climate change, political acrimony and the ongoing consequences of the coronavirus, it is hardly an understatement to note that we live in uncertain times. What lessons from past moments of uncertainty – world wars, the Great Depression and civil unrest to name a few – can the Irick Group draw on to convince skeptics to invest in the future?

Economic reopening has picked up, and vaccines have added to confidence with overall global growth continuing to gain momentum. In my opinion, this is a positive time for investors to revisit their asset allocation and also ensure that their overall wealth plan is in line with their values and their intended legacy.

One significant area of focus and opportunity for our team is impact investing. Impact investing is investing for the potential to make a financial return as well as generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact. More investors are driven to align their wealth with their values…Impact investing is not only about investing in the future but also about investing in the present. My team’s portfolios are built to generate both social and market alpha.

During the pandemic, how did you and your husband Jaime [Vice President & head of the Architectural Coatings Division in US & Canada for PPG Industries] balance high-intensity jobs with working from home and parenting? What did the experience teach you as a parent and a corporate leader?

This has been a very challenging time for many. And I would be lying if I said that my family’s experience was any different. The last almost two years have pushed me in ways that I could not have anticipated and I am incredibly humbled. At the end of the day, though, we all continue on, right? We take each day, each project, each task in stride and do what needs to be done.

Finally, the obligatory question to an what ways have TC and the Organization & Leadership program shaped the arc of your life, both professionally and personally? 

While my upbringing really helped me to understand what advocacy meant and how to use my voice, TC helped me understand what it means to be an advocate for others. The community that I built while there and the community that I continue to build, has allowed me to have a consistent sounding board for some of life’s most dynamic opportunities.