Leadership, Social Change, and Diversity & Inclusion

By Vito Sperduto
Published April 30, 2020 | 2 min read

Diversity and inclusion is more than just a value, it’s our strength. Our leaders are constantly sharing their commitment to diversity and inclusion because they recognize the value it brings to our employees, clients and communities. Vito Sperduto shares his perspective on leadership, social change and Diversity & Inclusion in an interview with Copper Strategic, a consulting firm that advises ambitious, mission-driven leaders in the non-profit and corporate sectors on effective social impact strategy.

Q: What was your first job, and what did it teach you?

During junior high, high school and the first few summers of college, I worked construction for my father. Simply put, I learned the value of hard work and how to work with people of all backgrounds. I saw how hard he worked, and that job helped me build a skill set I use to this day – not just wielding a hammer, but the ability to run a project, to manage a team. I still talk about it all the time. That work helped refine who I am today.

Q: Who is someone who’s had a big influence on your career? Why?

My first real boss was this larger-than-life figure who had been through the heyday of 1980s Wall Street. What I recall most is that he was really connected to his people. He had a massive impact on me. I was a year or two out of college, and he brought me into all sorts of meetings. He gave me exposure. He paid attention to culture and made sure that not just employees, but their spouses got the chance to know each other. He taught me that the boss drives the culture. I replicate a lot of his approach today.

Q: When did you start thinking about your ability to use your role as a business leader to effect social change?

When I became Head of the U.S. M&A group at RBC Capital Marketss, I saw what some other leaders were doing in the community. The main thing I saw was that they were passionate about a cause, and they were using it to bring their people along. As a result, their people were much more engaged.

There’s a culture and a cohesiveness that gets built when a leader, a team and an institution are working in common purposes over and above the work of the company.

Q: As a leader, how do you think about diversity and inclusion? 

I got invited to an ally event a while ago, and I sat back and thought, shame on me that I hadn’t fully grasped what it meant to be an ally. I think of myself as someone who supports diversity, but in that moment, I realized that diversity is not something that just occurs – if you really want it, you have to really work at it. The leadership has to come from the top. Since then, I prominently display that I am an LGBTQ ally with an email signature and a lucite sign on my desk. It may seem simple, but the act of displaying this is important. I just find it makes a difference.

Read more about our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion.

Vito Sperduto

Vito Sperduto
Global Mergers & Acquisitions, U.S.