Closing the Gap: How Trevor Rozier-Byrd is bridging the racial wealth gap through investment app, Stackwell

Episode 3 features an interview with Trevor Rozier-Byrd, the founder and CEO of Stackwell Capital, Inc., a fintech startup that seeks to eliminate the racial wealth gap by addressing Black underinvestment in America.

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Narrator: Welcome to Great Aspirations, Wealthspire Advisors’ podcast series on life, wellness, and financial advice. Each episode shares the experiences of extraordinary people whose stories inspire others to think big, find balance, and explore the possibilities of achieving health, wealth, and happiness. And now here’s your host, the CEO of Wealthspire Advisors, Michael LaMena. 

Michael LaMena: Welcome to Season 2 of Wealthspire Advisors’ podcast, Great Aspirations. This season, we’re highlighting the people behind the innovative ideas and concepts that continue to level up our industry by elevating the client experience. For episode 3 of Season 2, I could not be more excited to have as my guest Trevor Rozier-Byrd, the founder and CEO of Stackwell, a fintech startup that seeks to eliminate the racial wealth gap by helping more people in the black community leverage the power of the stock market and grow their wealth. Trevor has a very interesting background. He’s a dynamic leader. I couldn’t be more excited to have him on the show today. 

Before launching Stackwell and getting into the fintech space, Trevor actually started his career in law, working for some of the most prestigious law firms in the U.S. Prior to founding Stackwell, he was the head of business strategy and development for State Street Alpha Platform, which is State Street’s bank and trust company’s captive fintech business. 

As I mentioned prior to that, Trevor was a senior associate at a law firm, WilmerHale, in Boston, where his law practice focused on domestic and international corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financing, and public and private capital markets transactions. Trevor, welcome to the show. Excited to have a conversation today. 

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: Thanks, Mike. I appreciate you having me on and super excited to have a conversation today as well. 

Michael LaMena: So I mentioned in the beginning that your background is diverse, right? You started at a law firm. You didn’t join this industry immediately looking to launch a fintech startup. When you look on the surface, it doesn’t look like a linear progression, but when you dig a little bit deeper, as I’ve gotten to know you, there’s some threads of continuity that really explain the journey you’ve been on from going to undergraduate at Boston College, getting a law degree, starting to work at law firms. Tell us about that journey from how you first started in the business world to ultimately what led you to launch Stackwell, and then what the mission is as you advance the platform. 

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: Yeah, absolutely. So I think you’re completely right. The journey is not linear at all on the face of it, but for me, like looking back on it in hindsight, it is all very much connected. So just to give you a little bit more background on myself and like how I got here, I’m originally from New Jersey, grew up in Central Jersey, maybe about an hour or so south of Manhattan. And so I always had this understanding of Wall Street, like I knew it was a thing, it was out there. I went to an all boys Catholic high school in Jersey and a lot of my friends, their parents worked on Wall Street. So I had some tacit understanding of what was happening in that space. I went to college, went to BC, a political science major. A lot of my friends, you know, ultimately graduated and got investment banking jobs and all that. But I still always had this perception that the market wasn’t a place for me. 

It wasn’t something that I had the background and training for, and I wasn’t equipped to be successful in that space. But when I graduated, my first job after college was at a law firm that I ultimately ended up going back to after I graduated from law school. But I was working there as a paralegal and I was in the investment management group. And so I was helping the lawyers that I was working with, essentially, you know, draft registration statements and formation documents for financial services firms that were bringing new products to market. And I absolutely fell in love with it.

Michael LaMena: So you’re approaching it from the legal lens, but there’s still this exposure to Wall Street, capital markets, capital formation. And you fell in love with it. 

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: I did and I fell in love with it not because of the law or the business or the market. I fell in love with it because it was ultra-competitive. And I was a former college athlete. I didn’t know where I was going to get that rush of adrenaline after I completed my playing days and it was just this environment where you had to be perfect all of the time, right? And there was no margin for error. You had to execute. And I just felt like it was the perfect place for me.

And so once I got there and I found that, I started to fall in love with the subject matter that I was learning. And so fast forward a couple of years, I decided to go back to law school. I ultimately knew before I went to law school that I wanted to be a corporate transactional lawyer. I knew that I really enjoyed doing deals and bringing people and processes together.

So once the school came back, I started my career doing capital markets work, investment management work. And all the while, the experiences that I had on the legal side were helping to build wealth for a lot of people. And in most cases those people did not look like me. And so from a very early point in my career I always had this perspective that, you know, the world shouldn’t be the way that it was or at least the way in which people were interacting in the financial services space needed to be more inclusive than it actually was. And as I progressed in my career that was just always in the back of my mind. The thing for me was I just consistently throughout my career wanted to get closer and closer to the business side and ultimately the business decision making process, like I wanted to be the one that was structuring and negotiating the deals and ultimately driving execution and outcome which is ultimately why I moved over to the business side when I went to State Street. 

And it was a great, tremendous experience for me. I ended up being managing director at the bank. I was on the path to executive leadership, but I wanted something more for myself, like I felt like I was ready to take the next step in my leadership journey. 

And as I started to think about that, you know, I just pretty consistently kept coming back to issues of financial access and inclusion, like they were just consistently top of mind for me. This was all happening to me just towards the end of 2019, so before the pandemic. And then when the pandemic hit and obviously most immediately post-George Floyd. It was like the rest of the world woke up to the fact that the racial wealth gap was a thing. And you had a lot of people talking about it. You had a lot of large financial services firms making public commitments, but I just felt like in that moment it was a moment in time for everyone else, but it was my day-to-day lived experience. And I saw in my own personal experience – those of my friends, my family, and other people in my community – that there was this massive disconnect between how the process of building wealth in this country actually works and what people are exposed to and understand and believe is actually accessible to them. So I set out to build Stackwell because I felt if you could give people access to more straightforward and sustainable investment options, if you give them education that was delivered in culturally competent way, and if you could surround all of that in a sense of community to essentially encourage and empower people to participate in ways in which they never had before that, there was arguably a fighting chance to get more people into the financial markets and then allow them to leverage the returns that they would generate in the markets to have greater agency and control in their lives to shape and direct the outcomes that actually mattered for them and for their families, honestly for generations to come.

Michael LaMena: So I mean the mission you’re on. You know I know you’re passionate about it. I believe in it. But what’s interesting before we get to that because I want to learn more about the application, how people can use it, how people get engaged. I think that’s something important that we need to cover today but when I hear your story, we talked about it not being linear. You know I’m a big believer that like the path laid out, you think you have it laid out, you think you know where you’re going and then life is going to turn left, it’s going to turn right and evolve in a lot of different ways and you know what strikes me is really interesting is some of the seeds of what led you to launch Stackwell were planted in your youth, right? Having exposure to this thing, Wall Street, on the periphery but not really feeling like it was accessible but knowing it was there straight through to while I’m starting a very successful law practice and I’m on the legal side but I’m seeing all the deal stuff but then that spark of like passion ignites in you that this is where I want to operate and you don’t know where it’s going to lead you and then you have a macro environmental impact, right? Broader recognition of the racial wealth gap and the inequality that it brings. 

All those factors come together and it allows someone like you with the knowledge, the desire, the passion, to actually take the leap and start a business like Stackwell. You still got to do it though, right? All those things can happen – the idea can be there. Talk to me about how you got the conviction to actually take that leap. You’ve worked at successful law firms, you have a successful career, you’re working at State Street. And when you have this idea with seeds going back to your youth you see what’s happening from a macro standpoint – how do you take the leap, how do you make that choice to just, you know, go for it?

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: So it’s really interesting at least to me. So you know a lot of people have ideas, right? And they’re like “oh I want to start a company,” “I want to do this, I want to do that,” and I think for me I recognize that a lot of people felt like I felt in that moment, but then life gets in the way, there’s other priorities that they have, and so they just don’t do it and ultimately what I said to myself was “I want to truly give this a shot and explore it and if it’s not a thing that’s fine” like at least I will look back and not have any regrets and I think this is actually the area where my background as an athlete helped me the most because you know I ran track in college, I was a middle distance and distance runner. There’s so much that can go wrong and derail you in the process of training and showing up for a race like whether it could not go your way one day and it could just not work out no matter how fit you are. But what I learned from that was just like the persistence of continuing to show up, right? 

And so for me, I started to do some research one day and I was like you know this area is interesting to me. Fintech more broadly was really interesting and the more and more that I got into it I started to realize that when you understand some of the most powerful elements of fintech like the ability to use technology to extend reach and have leverage to get to more people or to go to places where there’s banking or financial services deserts and things of that nature, or just remove some of the emotional barriers to entry that people have when dealing with people that don’t look like them or historically have disenfranchised them. I just felt like there was a really strong application for leveraging fintech business models to address some of the issues around the racial wealth gap. 

And you know I’m married, I have three children at the time that I started working on Stackwell. We had two children under five years old. I had a full time job and my wife has a full time job. And it was just something that I started to work on at night after our kids went to sleep and so it became this secondary job or hobby whatever you want to call it that from 8:30 until sometimes two o’clock in the morning I was just sitting downstairs in our office continuing to explore and learn and I committed to myself to just continue to show up and at the point that I got where I sat down with my wife and I was like “hey I’ve got this idea and I think I might want to quit my job and go off and do this,” we made an agreement that I needed to be as sure as anyone possibly could be if I was going to take that leap. And so I worked at it. I started to share the idea with people that I trusted and respected and got a lot of feedback. It was probably like a nine month process before I decided that OK I’m going to go and form this company. I’m actually going to start to put the pieces in place that I need to allow me to leave my job at State Street and all in it was about 12 months before I did that. And a lot of times people look at me and they’re like “Oh my god, how could you do that? That’s so risky to leave a job being on that path and everything that you had going on in your life personally.” But honestly there was greater risk in me staying.

Michael LaMena: Tell me more. 

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: The way that I have developed personally and professionally as a result of taking this risk, the ability to meet some of the people that I have met and the impact that I have driven. 

Michael LaMena: You know, you could say that now in hindsight but then it had to feel like it was a big risk. Now there’s probably validation that says you’ve grown so much through this journey and not at the same level of entrepreneurship. But I started working in a very large financial services firm and when I left to go to a relatively raw startup, I wasn’t the founder, you know, literally launching the business like you, but it was risky. But then you realize the professional growth. The other thing that strikes me about your journey is that almost everybody thinks it’s like OK, the light bulb goes off entrepreneurial ideas like you worked and you were grinding to get to the point where you felt not only the passion around the idea but you had done the work and you were prepared and understood, right? Now I mean you probably look back but you had a unique skill set based upon your experience in law, based upon your time at State Street, so you weren’t coming to this brand new – you had a set of skills that were very applicable. You had the passion and desire, but you still had to take that leap, though, right?

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: I did. And it was difficult, right? We talked about before, the notion that my career was nonlinear. And while it wasn’t, I was always this person, I was like “OK I graduated from law school I want to be a partner at a law firm. And once I become a partner at a law firm I’m going to become a general counsel at a public company,” and it was just like very early in that way. But at the same time like I just got to this place a couple years ago where it was like all right, I am in this environment that objectively most people would want to be in. I was clearly on the path to you know like I said before executive management at State Street. But at the same time I was being told that I had to wait my turn like I had been promoted to managing director and it was like well we can’t promote you again because you’ve only been in the seat for you know 12 months, whatever it was. And that was just so counter and unsettling for me because I was just like look. And again, going back to being a former athlete, like when you’re ready nobody can tell you that you’re not. 

And so I was at this place where I was just tired of asking for permission to do what I wanted to do. I also saw a correlation between how I felt and the ways in which people in my community felt because at the same time you know there was no shortage of news coverage of people that looked like me in the streets demanding our rights and like people just kind of like acidifying those situations and it was just like this confluence of events that said to me like you have the knowledge and experience about this issue. People aren’t being as straight about the issue and how to solve it as they should be, like we know better in 2023 and back in 2022 like how wealth is actually built in this country. And at that time you had a lot of people saying, “Oh, let’s create more black banks for black people,” or like, “Let’s give them a little bit of crypto, that’ll solve all problems.” And those things are just like, one you can’t build wealth from a bank, and two, if you’re talking about a community of people that’s largely under-invested, throwing them into crypto or other volatile things, like it’s just probably not the right thing, right? So it was just like I fundamentally knew what was happening and what was trying to find was not right and was not going to produce the right outcomes and I felt like I wasn’t leaving a ton on the table so it was like I might as well go off and try. 

Michael LaMena: Look I think it’s awesome that you did that. Inertia can be powerful, right? Because you’re on a track and you see what’s laid out in front of you and you’re having success. But to kind of recognize you know what was kind of bubbling up within you in terms of the passion to do this and to you know do the work to prepare yourself and then to execute and I give you a ton of credit. 

So let’s shift gears. Talk to me more about Stackwell – how it works, how people interact with it, how are you specifically using fintech to start to address the fundamental racial wealth gap? And you started to allude to it – how people can create wealth through the stock market – but you know let’s get specific around Stackwell and how you’re trying to change that dynamic.

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: Sure, so I’ll start by sharing a couple data points in fact. So the reality is that the racial wealth gap in this country is getting worse with each passing generation. It is worse today than it was before. And when you look at the millennial and Gen Z population the wealth gap actually skyrocketed 17x. So that’s one thing right, the other thing that I often look at is you look at the rate of participation in the stock market by black families relative to white families. Only about a third of black families own stock compared to almost two thirds of white families. We know what the relative performance of the S&P 500 has been over the course of the last 30 years and even looking back the last 10 years, like the market was up almost about 180% in the last 10 years. So the lost opportunity as a result of under-participation is real. 

And so I felt like there was an opportunity to start to educate and provide access opportunities for more people to get started. But in order to do that or even think about what to build in the first instance you have to truly understand what are the cultural, social, and emotional barriers to entry that exist within the market. So you have a lot of people in black and brown communities that don’t invest because there’s this fear or unease about knowing where or how to start. So the notion of deciding between buying Apple stock and buying Google stock is paralyzing for a lot of people because they don’t want to make the wrong decision. And so they just don’t get started. 

You also have a lot of people that don’t invest because of the inherent fear of risk or loss aversion. So people work so hard to get access to the money that they do have. The notion of putting any of it at risk is just too much for many people to handle. And then there’s other ancillary issues like the notion that investing is oftentimes presented as like gambling or something that you have to have a ton of knowledge and sophistication in order to participate in. And like all of those things could not be further from the truth.

Michael LaMena: Or you already have to have wealth to be able to invest, right? Yeah, it’s only for wealthy people that are already wealthy.

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: Exactly. And like I said, those things couldn’t be further from the truth. And again, going back to my experience as both a lawyer and a business person, like I had built the products that people were investing in in the market. I knew how they worked, right? I also knew that the market was inherently fair, which is one of the things that I love about it the most. Like if you open up a brokerage account and you invest in the market, you get access to the same rate of return as everybody else. So it is not like going down to your local bank and trying to get a loan from a loan officer and for whatever reason, they have their own inherent biases and they’re able to turn you away. That doesn’t exist in the market, right? 

Michael LaMena: If you can actually get people into the market, it is very democratized, right? It’s the same access that exists to the returns of the market, especially in a world of ETFs and all the things that we’ve seen over the last couple of decades, correct?

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: Exactly. And so with that as a background perspective, I felt like building a robo-investment product where we could automate the investment decision-making process for people. We could give them access to portfolios that to your point are based on broad-based index ETFs, which we know is the best way for an individual investor to participate in the market. If you could give people sustainable ways to invest like that, we know the outcome is going to be positive, right? Like the stock market has produced about an 8.5% rate of return every year on average when you adjust for inflation over the last 30 years. Now, compare that to a bank account where most people keep their money, which yields less than 1%, right? So if you did nothing more than just show up, the impact of it would be powerful.

There’s this one data point that I share with people all the time. If you did nothing more than invest a dollar a day, so $30 a month over the course of the last 30-year period, at the end of the day, you would have nearly two times more wealth than the median black family has in this country today.

It doesn’t have to be much harder than that. But yet, the market is projected as this risky thing, this highly volatile thing, and it is anxiety and fear-inducing for a lot of people. And so what we’re trying to do is to resolve all that. We’re trying to give people education that is delivered in ways that utilizes language, utilizes imagery that is going to resonate with them and their lived experiences and lived experiences of other people in the community. And ultimately, just really create an environment where people are told that they belong here and that they can be successful in this space and ultimately help them create a sense of investor identity that allows them to have just a bit more confidence about the process so that they start to participate and yield the benefits of the results of just frankly being in the market. 

Michael LaMena: So I mean, this is really interesting to me because when I started with the introduction, we’re talking about elevating the client experience and your knowledge base of markets as an attorney, your knowledge of fintech solutions from your time at State Street, all that comes to bear and being able to create a platform that uses technology to make it easy for people to get invested in the market through modeled ETF portfolios, a digital platform. 

So you’ve got all that. But when I hear you talk about the experience, none of that would have mattered if you didn’t address the obstacles to actually getting the black community interested, open feeling like they belong in this solution that you’re providing. So maybe elaborate a little bit more on how you’ve gone about doing that because I think there’s some really interesting partnerships, you’ve struck relationships that are all about attacking that aspect of the client experience before they can actually even use the technology,  access the portfolios, you built all the ease you’ve built into the financial side of it. There’s this whole aspect that is all about you understanding the history, the mindset, the way to approach a client so that they view themselves as being appropriate, that the platform is accessible, that it is for them. And that whole experience, it changes everything. 

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: Honestly, that’s the most important thing. Like the brand that we have built is the most important asset here. And so obviously it starts with my own personal lived experience and seeing my peers, my friends, my family. I was able to bring that to this process, but maybe it’s like my training as a lawyer or as a business person, that wasn’t enough for me. And very early on in our process of developing this company, we invested heavily in market segmentation research to understand key pain points and buying behaviors. What are some of the elements that are going to enable us to develop and build trust with an audience? What are going to be some of the things that unlock access? How do people like to consume and engage with education? Like all of these things that are going to allow us to be efficient as a business in connecting with people and building real trust in an intentional and an authentic way. 

So that’s something that we started at the outset. We very early on in the company did a market landscaping study with around 750 people. And it was just so powerful to further inform the work that we were doing. We’ve spent just the summer reinvested in that work. We’re doing a study right now with 3,000 people that goes even further to understand the nuances of the Black experience. But also looking at the Black experience as a roadmap for other underrepresented community groups as well. To say, okay, maybe they overlap or the intersectionality of some of these factors, like whether it be race, gender, or other things. How do they impact the ways in which people think about investing and finance and using that to further position the company and the partnerships that we enter into.

I’m glad that you raised that because that’s one of the most important things that we have done. So again, when I think about the experience of underrepresented groups, what they have been consistently told through media, through marketing, through the ways in which they see leadership at financial services companies, there’s never any sort of articulation or representation of them. So they don’t see themselves. And so as a result of that, there’s this perception that this process is not for them. And for us, I thought that it was very important from the early days to try to find non-obvious ways to communicate that we don’t believe that that’s true. 

So we entered into strategic partnerships with a number of NBA and WNBA teams. And on the face of it, I think a lot of people look at it and say, “Oh, there’s just another fintech company doing a sports marketing deal, nothing to see here,” but it’s so much deeper than that. We have partnerships in Detroit, in Washington DC, in New Orleans, in Minneapolis. It’s four of the largest black consumer markets in the country, also places where issues of the racial wealth and income gap are most acute. And when you, going back to thinking about the macro trends and developments that have taken place in this country, the NBA players, it seems, they have been leaders in the social justice conversation that has been taking place in this country for the better part of the last two to three years. There is an inherent amount of trust that exists in that league and in those players. And by partnering with those teams, we’re able to show up in really important markets in intentional and authentic ways and can immediately leverage their trust and engage with community-based organizations to actually meet people where they are and provide them with education and support. Like every one of our partnerships with the NBA teams provides investment access and education and a little bit of seed capital from us and the teams to help get individuals in those markets started. 

We’ve also entered into partnerships with a number of HBCUs. We have a specific partnership at Hampton where we created an investment program for the entirety of their freshman class. We did that last year. We’re going to be doing it again this year and on campus in a couple of weeks. We entered into a strategic partnership with Prudential Financial where we did an investment program for 500 HBCU students across 30 or so schools and just profoundly, profoundly impactful. We actually announced today a partnership that we’re doing at Spelman College where we’re supporting the young women at Spelman and getting them started on their investment journey.

So, you know, finding these non-obvious ways to connect and meet people where they are but to also build community has been critical to our growth and development as an organization. And I think through those experiences, what has happened is we’ve been able to develop an engagement model that immediately builds trust and connects with these audiences that allows us to ultimately be their trusted provider when it comes to investments in the first instance. But our long-term objective is to not stop there. Like we want to be an end-to-end provider of investments, insurance, banking products, because we know if we can build trust with people in an authentic way, they will unequivocally believe in who we are, what we’re about, the products that we serve to them because we’re doing it in the right way.

Michael LaMena: You know, a couple of things really strike me. You know, one is that in order to expose people to the client experience you wanted to deliver, you had to recognize that there were obstacles already in the way, that if you didn’t address, they’d never get to experience the application and the capabilities. And the angle that I think has really enabled you to be successful is community, right? You’re not getting people on a platform and then we’re going to turn our platform into a community. You’re starting with community as a means to getting people to reevaluate and reassess that something they didn’t think was attainable actually is and here’s the pathway to do it. 

And then this is the other piece that really strikes me. You’re giving them tangible experience. You’re not even allowing them to say, “Okay, I’m intrigued, I’m interested, but I’m still going to back away.” You’ve actually lowered the hurdle through some of these strategic partnerships to say, get a taste, get experience. And now that can be the thing that validates actually, “I can do this. It is for me. I see the path. I’m stacking up wealth,” right? I mean, I really, it really intrigues me that, you know, when you think about the client experience, you weren’t just thinking about what’s the technology experience, the user interface they’re going to experience. All that was necessary. But if you didn’t start with, “How do I actually get people open to the possibilities and engaged through the lens of community and trust and even dealing with the skepticism that was already there,”right? It just really intrigues me when I think about the holistic approach you’ve taken to the experience of the client through the journey, right? Pre-client, right? Straight through to using the technology. 

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: Yeah, that has been one of the biggest areas focused for us from the start. It’s also, frankly, one of the most rewarding things for me as the founder of this company, because I get to get out and be in the community and meet these people. And it is just like the emotions that you feel in these audiences or in these conversations. It’s just so palpable. People have been desiring this type of engagement. People have been desiring this type of knowledge and conversation. And it is just like a huge release and unlock when they realize that somebody’s going to show up in the middle of New Orleans or the middle of Detroit and bring this knowledge and information to them. Nobody’s ever done that in their communities, right? 

And what has transpired for us as the company over the last couple of months because of the way that we came out and had such a strong emphasis on community is that there’s just been a tremendous amount of inbound interest to us and wanting to develop similar partnerships or similar engagement models. So we now have a number of large financial services firms that are wanting to create programs like this and coming to us because they know we have not only the engagement model, but the digital experience to support it. We’ve got large corporate entities that are coming to us and saying, we want to provide this for our Black employee resources groups. And can you come in and talk to people and provide them with education and access to the app? 

Obviously, we’ve done that in the higher ed space. And so there’s all of these B2B2C applications that have manifested themselves that create this very broad set of opportunities for us at the business, certainly diversity of revenue streams, which is critical to enable our scale and growth. And for us, that’s going to be the area where you continue to see us invest because I think just trying to go traditional, direct to consumer pathways is not going to work, given the nature of this problem. And just the way in which business models like the one that we have traditionally scale in that space.

Michael LaMena: It’s interesting too, it feels like you’re at this inflection point where every day you’re seeing the validation of one student, one individual, one family, one community that starts to engage in the platform, feel empowered, recognize that they can build wealth through the market and through, you know, Stackwell. But at the same time, you also need to be thinking about those strategic big-picture macro opportunities that are going to amplify the impact. So you kind of have the best of both worlds, like broad macro opportunities that are really going to amplify the growth opportunities for you to have the impact you want on the Black community. But at the same time, you have the tangible connection to individuals and that sense of empowerment that I’m sure you’re getting through the feedback loops as you get out in communities. 

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: Yeah, that is exactly right. And honestly, that’s what motivates us every day internally at the company. We have this ability to tangibly touch people. And then we also see how other brands are showing up and wanting to align themselves alongside us. So it’s really exciting. We’ve got a number of opportunities that we’re working on right now that I think will be tremendously impactful for the organization, both in terms of like other strategic partnerships, people that want to align themselves as brand ambassadors for the company.

I think one of the other interesting things that we’ve been able to do that is important to me is like, along this journey, we’ve also created this, what we call an expert network of Black financial professionals that have never truly had a home to deliver their services, their expertise back to their community. And so through us, they’re able to participate in some of the community-based workshops and other programming that we do. And so there’s this whole new population of people that we can bring to bear to actually bridge that trust gap that exists between our communities and the larger banking and financial institutions in this country. So we’ve found a number of interesting engagement models like that.

We’ve also, I know I mentioned before, I’m a former college athlete. We’ve started a student-athlete ambassador program. I’ve been very, very focused on NIL and thought leadership in that space. And we currently have just over 30 college athletes that are in that program today that are driving impact and change on their campuses and their local communities with their families. I’ll just give you one quick story there. Like there’s a woman that was previously in our program. She just graduated from Georgetown. She was a soccer player there. She brought Stackwell home and introduced it to her younger brother who ultimately went off to college to play basketball at Northwestern. And through the two of them being in our program and the conversations that they were having in their home, their grandmother started to invest for the first time. And she’s investing using Stackwell. So that’s the type of intergenerational conversation that we are developing as a result of our engagement model and our focus on community. And it’s just been so powerful to watch the impact that it’s having on a range of people in the community.

Michael LaMena: That’s awesome. So I mean, look, it sounds like there’s no shortage of opportunities for Stackwell in the future. If folks are intrigued, if they’re interested and they want to learn more, I know you’re doing a lot to proactively put yourself out in communities. Where can they go to learn more about the technology, the experience, the community you’re building, and the opportunity to really be a part of that client experience and address the wealth gap racially that we’ve talked about. Where can they go? 

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: So people can go to our website at Tell them information there about the app itself, the programs that we develop, as well as our community. They can follow us on social media, we’re on every major platform, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and the like. So follow us on all those channels, our handle is @stackwellcap. But honestly, it goes beyond just the individuals in the community. I think that there’s a faith for everyone in what it is that we are building at Stackwell. 

I think, as I said before, there’s a number of B2B applications as well. And so I would just encourage people to tap in to what we’re doing and really just give us a look and understand maybe how we can come together and drive greater impact and change for the community. The reality is, when I think about a financial services industry, there’s obviously very clearly a continued chase and race for AUM or share of wallet. And we all know as an industry, we can no longer sell to a single demographic, which most traditionally was older white male. And given that we also know that the racial demographics of the country are changing, such that we’re going to be a majority minority in the not too distant future, finding out ways to engage broader audiences of people is critical. And so I think there’s a lot of information and knowledge that we have developed through the work that we’ve done that we are happy to share with other organizations that we partner with.

And I just think we all have a responsibility to be more expansive in how we think about who is qualified as an appropriate client for our organization and the ways in which we bring them into the fold and support them through the user experience, the journey to onboarding into our platforms, and ultimately the way in which we serve their needs.

Michael LaMena: Great. Well, I mean, I know and it felt your belief and passion for your mission. And I know you said you’re willing to share. I know it’s true. You want success for Stackwell, but more importantly, you want to have success in terms of the mission of closing that wealth gap. And I think you’re doing great work. Excited for the conversation today. Thank you for joining the Wealthspire podcast. And as we indicated, this season is all about highlighting individuals that through innovative ideas and concepts are really elevating the client experience. And I could say wholeheartedly that you’re doing that holistically and trying to address a deeply underserved market in a way that is empowering and provides people a path to creating wealth. So, Trevor, thank you so much for the time and for the work you’re doing.

Trevor Rozier-Byrd: I appreciate it, Mike. Appreciate you having me on today. 

Narrator: Thanks for listening to this episode of Great Aspirations, presented by Wealthspire Advisors, a registered investment advisor and subsidiary company of NFP Corp. If you have feedback, including suggestions for future topics and guests, contact us at

Please see Important Disclosure Information at the end of this presentation.


Wealthspire Advisors LLC (“Wealthspire”) is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary company of NFP Corp. This presentation is for general information and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as personalized investment, legal, tax, or accounting advice, or a guarantee that you will experience a certain level of results if Wealthspire is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide services. While the information is considered to be reliable, Wealthspire cannot guarantee its accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose, and makes no warranties with regard its use. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and it should not be assumed that any investment, investment strategy, or non-investment related or planning services will be profitable, be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. A copy of Wealthspire’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our services and fees is available upon request or at

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