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Stephen Kagawa, LUTCF, FSS, of Monrovia, Calif., has been recognized as the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ 2020 Diversity Champion. Kagawa is CEO and Chairman of the Board of The Pacific Bridge Companies.

Kagawa’s practice connects financial advisors from the disciplines of insurance, investing, banking, tax, and the law to serve the financial needs of multinational individuals and families. He helps ethnic communities and first-generation Americans migrating from Asia acclimate financially to their lives in the United States and is committed to making sure this community is afforded full and equal access to financial understanding, opportunities, advice, products, and services.

“Stephen Kagawa exemplifies NAIFA’s commitment to promoting equity and financial security for all Americans, from every community, by ensuring they have access to a diverse and talented pool of financial professionals,” said NAIFA President Cammie Scott, MSIE, ChHC, CLTC, LUTCF, REBC, RHU, SHRM-SCP, SPHR. “In addition to serving the needs of his first-generation immigrant clients, Stephen mentors a diverse group of younger professionals and advises several insurance companies seeking to improve their reach into ethnic markets.”

Kagawa is a frequent speaker and presenter on ethnic diversity marketing, holistic financial advisory practices, and multinational wealth management. He has presented at NAIFA’s Performance + Purpose annual conference and the Million Dollar Round Table’s annual meeting and Top of the Table annual meeting, and at events sponsored by The American College, Society of Financial Services Professionals, Prudential, and AXA, among others.

Kagawa is very active in community diversity, equity, and inclusion organizations and efforts. He serves as the Chair of the Circle of Ambassadors with the Go For Broke National Education Center, sharing stories across the United States and around the globe of World War II American soldiers of Japanese American descent. He is a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum, as well as a member of the inaugural Board of Directors and current Council Leader for the U.S.-Japan Council, which helps strengthen U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership; engaging stakeholders; and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and government entities on both sides of the Pacific. Kagawa is also an Excalibur Knight of the Inner Circle Society for the MDRT Foundation.

“Throughout the time I have known Stephen Kagawa, I have developed a profound respect and admiration for his dedication to his community, his belief in the core principal that everyone should be treated equally, and his tireless passion and dedication to innovation in the industry,” said Michael J. Gordon, Group Chief Operating Officer and US Chief Executive with Lombard International. “Stephen is a dynamic problem solver who is driven and tirelessly committed to serving his clients and community.”

“Knowing and appreciating that our cultures, customs, food, languages, regulations, and communities differ from one country to another, at the heart of the matter, we’re much the same. We care for those who depend on us and for those we love, and we want more for our children, our business, and ourselves,” Kagawa said. “Financially preparing those who enter our country to successfully build their lives and find joy and fulfillment in their newfound American homes while recognizing and addressing those footprints left behind represents our response to the globalization of financial services.”

NAIFA created the Diversity Champion Award to recognize exceptional efforts to promote the full and equal participation of diverse people within the insurance and financial services profession.

A Diversity Champion presents a unique blend of experience, skills, accomplishments, and other qualities. A nominee must be a member of NAIFA in good standing and have at least five years’ experience in the insurance and financial services industry. The Selection Committee considers the nominee’s trailblazing efforts in one or more of the following areas:

  • Creating and promoting diverse and inclusive workplaces
  • Raising awareness and fostering communication within the financial services industry and the community
  • Supporting inclusion and encouraging diverse individuals to reach their professional goals
  • Fostering awareness and commitment to diversity and inclusion within the NAIFA membership
  • Providing insurance and financial services in underserved and diverse markets