100WF Member Spotlight Featuring Graham McDonald

Jan 27, 2020

Volunteer members enable us to pursue our mission to strengthen the global finance industry by empowering women to achieve their professional potential at each career stage. Our members inspire, equip and advocate for a new generation of industry leadership, in which women and men serve as investment professionals and executives, equal in achievement and impact. We invite you to meet one of these members, and learn what membership has meant, in the member’s voice.


By Graham McDonald,
Chief of Staff, Shared Services and Banking Operations
Morgan Stanley

I have a passion for giving back and diversity. Therefore, following my relocation to New York in February 2019, I started to look for organizations outside of Morgan Stanley that I could get involved in. An opportunity arose when I met Amanda Pullinger, 100WF’s CEO, through a mutual friend. We got chatting about the diversity initiatives I had been involved in, so she thought I would be a good fit for joining the organizing committee of the 100 Women in Finance New York Gala.

The 2019 100WF New York Gala was unique, as instead of raising funds for a women’s charity, the organization decided to invest the funds in the Next Generation. This initiative aims to inspire and support pre-career women in the finance industry’s leadership pipeline by:

  • Encouraging female students to look favorably at careers in finance and investments.
  • Creating educational opportunities and access points for them to join the industry.
  • Presenting greater visibility of female role models.

From June until the event in November 2019 the Gala Committee worked tirelessly to secure corporate sponsorship, table sales and incredible auction prizes. The hard work paid off though, as we raised over $1.1 million USD (gross) for the initiative!

New York Gala Committee

100WF’s New York Gala Committee – 2019

Being part of the 100WF Gala Committee was a fantastic experience. However, it also made me realize the importance of intersectionality when attempting to build an effective diversity agenda.

When I initially chatted with Amanda and then met with the committee co-chairs, being a guy never crossed my mind. Yet, when I started to tell people I was involved with 100WF the first reaction was ‘but you’re a guy…’ It made me question my role but the more I thought about it, the more I realized being part of 100WF was important. I may not be female but I’m a son, uncle, friend and colleague to incredible women therefore why would I not be a champion for them?  We all need to work together as diversity is not limited to gender, sexual orientation or race – it is never just one thing. You can be male and gay, black and female, or an Asian female veteran who is also bisexual. The potential for intersectionality is endless.

HRH The Countess of Wessex, who serves at 100WF’s Global Ambassador of Next Generation Initiatives, spoke passionately at the 100WF New York Gala and said “We cannot achieve gender balance and diversity alone… We need everyone, male and female, to support this mission. If we make greater strides towards achieving better parity, then we all stand to win. There will be bigger slices of a bigger cake for everyone.”

Diversity is important, but each of us championing what we see as our own thing won’t create the inclusion we seek. We all need to work together to drive a conversation that identifies candidates of all types of diversity, develops a diverse talent pool and fosters diversity of thought in our leadership.

Mr. McDonald’s reflection was originally published by 100WF Leadership Council member Morgan Stanley in an internal publication, “Diversity of Thought” under the title “Diversity: We all need to speak up together.”  It is presented here with Morgan Stanley’s permission.