What’s in a name? Sadly, a lot.
I share this tale with some reluctance.
First, some background. Not long ago:
two economists conducted a simple study that found striking evidence of the pervasive reach of racism. They sent more than 5,000 resumes to companies in Chicago and Boston, all identical except for the name on top. Some of the resumes had the stereotypically white names Emily or Greg, and some had the stereotypically African-American names Lakisha or Jamal. The researchers found that the "white" names received 50 percent more calls from hiring managers than the "black" names did.
Next time someone tries to tell you that systemic racism isn’t a thing, I invite you to pull the above out of your hat.
Perhaps, then, you can appreciate my dilemma when the name of the executive a client asked me to sign to a sales letter had a distinct ring of one of America’s many persecuted minorities. My personal side cheered the inclusiveness. But I had a fiduciary responsibility to maximize my client’s sales, and I worried that the name would cut his sales in half.
What would you have done in my shoes?