( ENSPIRE She Did That ) New Multicultural Bank Startup Aims at Reducing the Racial Wealth and Opportunity Gaps
ENSPIRE Contributor: LaShonda Thompson
Toni Harrison, an award-winning communication veteran, multicultural engagement strategist, and agency founder joins Fair, a multilingual neobank and financial services platform, following its successful $20 million raise in 40 days and ahead of its upcoming launch. Toni will serve as Fair’s Chief Marketing Officer. She is also the founder of Etched Communication, which until her move to Fair, served as the public relations and crisis management practice for Ten35. No stranger to disruption and creatively closing communication gaps with integrated campaigns that elevate cultural differences as a competitive advantage, Toni joined Ten35, a leading multicultural agency, as managing partner and president upon its creation in 2014. Under her leadership, Toni led part of PepsiCo’s $400 million commitment to uplift Black communities and representation; devised and executed strategies for Polaris Inc.’s entry into the multicultural space with its portfolio of over 30 brands, and expertly navigated a prominent nonprofit through a global crisis which received the highest accolade in crisis management at The American Business Awards.
With demonstrated influence in the newsroom and leadership in the boardroom, Toni will help to advance Fair in its quest to disrupt traditional banking with ethical practices that value people over profit. Her proven track record for leading total-market, multicultural strategies for global consumer brands, including Polaris, Pepsi, and McDonald’s, will be critical for the fintech startup that aims to close the racial wealth and opportunity gaps.
“Fintech is a powerful tool that must be utilized to fuel positive social change, which is why we started Fair,” Fair Founder and CEO Khalid Parekh said. “It demands a marketing approach just as disruptive and innovative as our offerings. Toni is the fearless leader to take on this challenge because she has the unconventional wisdom and dynamic thinking to launch Fair in the marketplace and change the industry for the better.”
Black and Latinx consumers pay twice the amount in banking fees than white Americans, according to a Bankrate study. Toni’s professional background in diversity, equity and inclusion is not only a win for Fair, as it aims to upending inequitable banking systems, but also for the entire tech industry, where only 2% of executives are Black and women are least likely to hold senior level or executive positions compared to their male counterparts. “Leadership requires going beyond titles and job descriptions— it requires us to make contributions to our industry, community and society,” Harrison said.
“My journey to Fair is paved with purpose and intention,” Toni said. “What matters most is connecting with diverse consumers on their terms, inspiring systematic changes to create opportunities everyone and yield impact for those who need it most. With this in mind, I knew it was time to step back from the agency and join Fair’s movement to impart significant social change.”
Toni’s commitment community service rivals her professional dedication. She is an active member of The Links, Inc. (Missouri City, TX chapter) and Junior League of Houston and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She is on the board of directors for Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston), previously served on Forbes Young Entrepreneur Council and with Fortune’s Most Powerful Women-Next Generation Summit since 2017. Toni holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and has completed graduate coursework at the University of California.
Fair is a multilingual neobank and financial services platform that values people over profit, and purpose over process. Fair delivers ethical banking, lending, investments and retirement services via a membership model that enables customers to keep more money in their wallet with offerings such as interest-free loans, free account-to-account international money transfers and up to 2% in annual dividend accounts. Fair donates 2.5% of its profits to support refugee missions globally.