Raymond James is consolidating leadership under one person of its women's, African-American and LGBTQ advisor networks.

The company announced today that Renee Baker, currently chief marketing officer at its subsidiary Carillon Tower Advisors, will lead the three groups as part of the Advisor Inclusion Networks effective September 1.

Michelle Lynch, previously vice president of Raymond James Network for Women Advisors, has already moved to Raymond James & Associates’ Eastern Division as sales manager. Lynch had headed the women’s network, which is large, well known and been around for 25 years, for about four years.

Kelly Gonzalez, a Raymond James communication specialist, said in a email that the company would have no additional comment beyond its press release.

However, a source said the consolidatied leadership was a very positive move that is likely to help the company’s diversity efforts. Late last year, Michelle Reeves, who had been director of diversity & inclusion at Raymond James Financial Services and was seen as having made a lot of progress in the role, left the company because her husband was transferred, the source said.  A reorganization of company executives also opened up the Eastern Division sales role and it was one that Lynch wanted to take, she added.

At that point, Raymond James thought it made sense to consolidate leadership of the diversity effort and spent a lot of time finding a person who could do a good job in the role, the source said. There was also a feeling that the women’s network, which has 1,100 members, could help strengthen Raymond James’ Black Financial Advisor Network, which has about 50 members, and the new Advisor Pride Network, the source said. Raymond James Financial has mor than 7,900 advisors worldwide.

 “Renee’s familiarity with the firm’s culture and resources paired with her extensive industry and marketing experience ideally suits her for this important leadership role. I’m excited about continuing to enhance the inclusion networks with Renee’s leadership,” said Scott Curtis, president of the company’s Private Client Group, in a press release.

Baker joined Raymond James in April 2017, taking responsibility for driving, leading and executing the Carillon Tower Advisers global marketing strategy for seven brands while leading a team of 40 marketing professionals across several departments.

She previously worked at firms that include Aberdeen Standard Investments, OppenheimerFunds (now Invesco), J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Bank of New York.

Baker is active in the community as a board member for Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA) and as a trustee for American Stage. She’s also an adjunct instructor at the University of South Florida where she teaches advertising management.

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