Black History Month Highlight: Shani Armon

Shani Armon is the Chief Membership and Marketing Officer for the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI). IRI is the leading financial services trade association for the retirement income industry, and Armon is responsible for creating and accelerating IRI’s marketing strategy and brand recognition. She drives the association’s vision of championing retirement security for all Americans through advocacy, awareness, and the advancement of digital-first strategies.

Armon is also responsible for the organization’s membership operations, including recruitment, retention, event planning, and management of the organization’s Premier Alliance Program.

On entering the financial services– Armon says she entered the financial services industry on a whim – it came down to two post-graduate job offers, choosing between becoming an ad sales coordinator for her local newspaper or an event planner at a financial service trade association in Washington D.C.

“The newspaper job was close to my parent’s house, which meant I would live at home, and the financial services association position was in the city in my own apartment – I took the finance job,” she says. Although her decision was initially based on a need for independence, Armon became captivated as she learned about the power of not-for-profit work within the financial service sector.

Armon moved from event planning to business development, relationship management, marketing, and DEI and ultimately landed the position of Chief Membership and Marketing Officer. Now, she leads strategy across all of those areas.

On inclusivity in financial services– “Financial services is such a broad, dynamic, multi-faceted arena that needs a diversity of people and thought,” Armon shares. “I was a psychology major because I could not stomach business school prep courses. I have now spent almost [my] entire career working on behalf of the top financial service companies in the world.”

Armon’s background of diverse and varied roles within the financial services industry perfectly positions her to lead the diversity, equity, and inclusion work at IRI.

The best advice she’s received– “Do not sacrifice progress for perfection,” Armon says simply.

Advice she would give– “There are many arteries that lead into the heart of the financial industry, [don’t] sell yourself short by thinking your area of focus is not relevant,” Armon says. “Our job as industry leaders is to make sure financial service organizations continue to value talent acquisition from all areas.”

What she lives by as a leader– “My actions are not just mine but a reflection of where and from whom I came from,” Armon says. She explains that accomplishments and failures are rarely the work of one person, so they need to be shared by everyone.

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