Meet Olga Starr- Member of Skylight’s LGBT Resource Team
For Pride Month, we would like to introduce the different members of our LGBT Resource Team and find out why they are passionate about serving the LGBT community. Meet the second member of our team – Olga Starr, Senior Associate and Financial Planner in our Columbus office (pictured opposite at an event hosted by the Diversity Chamber of Central Ohio).
1. What motivated you to specialise in LGBT financial planning?
Since I’m part of the LGBT community, you may call it my natural habitat. I feel passionate about the things that unite us: the fight against inequality, the feeling of being unprotected in the face of homophobia and injustice, the long wait for the right to marry our loved ones… Through financial planning process I try to give my queer friends clarity and confidence, and peace of mind that the future will be okay and the risks can be managed.
2. What’s the most common financial concern you hear from your LGBT clients (and what’s the reason for their concern)?
I don’t know if that’s true for everyone or just our Columbus LGBT folks, but what I hear most commonly is that people don’t save. It may have something to do with the fact that a whole generation of older gay men was wiped out by AIDS and those who are living still live like there is no tomorrow. That lifestyle is not cheap, and being out for a Friday happy hour and a Sunday brunch is a must, but those credit card bills are not going to pay themselves. Helping my gay friends prioritize their goals, quantify what they need to set aside to reach their goals and go to town with what’s left over is a rare pleasure for me.
3. How do feel you can best serve your LGBT clients?
In our community, my friends naturally become my clients, and my clients become my friends. Their pain is my pain. They know they can text me, day or night, if life throws at them something we haven’t discussed yet. I feel honoured to become “their financial everything”, as one of the lesbian couples I work with lovingly refer to me.
4. Beyond financial planning, how do you integrate with and support the LGBT community and/or help in the fight for better understanding, inclusion and diversity?
Our community is very closely-knit, and we support each other as best we can. I’ve put in many hours volunteering for Stonewall, I serve on the board of BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization), I support the annual LGBT Health conference hosted by Equitas Health. In October of last year my friend Curtis Davis and I co-founded the LGBT chamber of commerce, the Diversity Chamber of Central Ohio, that has since been growing steadily and building momentum. Our goal is to bring resources, connections, education and inspiration to LGBT and ally business owners and professionals.
5. Who in the LGBT community would you most like to meet – alive or dead (and why)?
That would be Freddy Mercury. Ever since I was a teen I got hooked on his music. Where I was growing up we didn’t know anything about the AIDS epidemic, so when he suddenly died, it was shocking and tragic. One of my goals in life is to bring HIV+ folks comfort that their future is taken care of and their loved ones are protected. Through my research I’ve found 2 carriers that offer life insurance to people with HIV, and part of my work is trying to educate people on their options and give them the peace of mind they need.
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