The conversation about who’s inviting whom to the party versus who’s asking them to dance—aka diversity versus inclusion—is by no means new. At this point, most of us recognize that a diverse workforce is a social and economic imperative. But the reality is that there’s still a disconnect between understanding the value of diversity and actually implementing inclusive practices.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. not only understands the value of diversity and inclusion, but also acts on it as a principle and a business practice. To find out how they are putting intersectionality into practice, fostering racial equity and gender equality alike, the Female Quotient spoke to the women at JPMorgan Chase who are leading the charge—within the company and in the world at large.
Leslie Gillin, CMO, on the power of brands that take a stand
The Female Quotient: Earlier this year, JPMorgan Chase pledged $30 billion to fight the racial wealth gap. Can you share more about this?
Gillin: We all have a responsibility to take serious action to address this issue. JPMorgan Chase is committing more than $30 billion to advance racial equity. We will do this by addressing the key drivers of the racial wealth divide, reducing systemic racism against Black and Latinx people and supporting employees. We will use our expertise in business, public policy and philanthropy across four areas: promoting affordable housing and homeownership, growing minority-owned businesses, improving financial health, and helping our employees and increasing workforce diversity.
FQ: Why is it important for brands to take a stand on social issues?
Gillin: It is critical that brands take a stand on important issues affecting their customers, clients, communities and employees. Being the largest bank in the U.S., we know we have an important role to play and to really lead on these issues. That is why there is so much passion and excitement at all levels of our organization around our Path Forward commitment.
Amee Shah, executive creative director, managing director, on marketing inclusion
FQ: You have deep experience in social impact marketing. Have you seen this move from a niche strategy to the mainstream?
Shah: As a global brand, it is important that our marketing represents the customers and clients we serve. It helps us build meaningful connections when they see themselves reflected in our brand. We truly believe we are the bank for everyone, and our marketing should reflect that.
The current crisis has amplified the economic challenges facing the most vulnerable people, small businesses and communities around the globe. We have always been focused on making a difference with these segments, which has been an even greater area of messaging focus in 2020 and will continue to be a priority going forward.
FQ: What are some initiatives at JPMorgan Chase that you’re especially excited about right now?
Shah: We’re excited about the firm’s commitment to advance racial equity over the next five years. The marketing team plays a key role in getting the message out and ensuring consumers and businesses know how to access the resources they need to be successful. We do this in all different ways, through the stories we tell to the platforms we activate. We’re also focused on building inclusive, diverse teams behind the camera. The people who create the marketing for our customers should reflect our values.
Tracy-Ann Lim, chief media officer, on changing the media landscape
FQ: Why is it so important that brands have an inclusive media strategy?
Lim: It is our mission to help all customers, clients, communities and employees—without leaving anyone behind. Being the bank for everyone means that our advertisements need to represent all of our customers, and we need to reach people where they consume their information. For us, developing a diverse and inclusive media strategy is an absolute business imperative. It is critical that we work with a diverse set of media publications that endemically speaks to diverse audiences. We cannot be ‘inclusive’ simply by being representative within our creative/advertising. We must run our media in places that connect with our audiences on a personal level and speak to their passion points.
We also prioritize hiring diverse talent internally, as well as partnering with diverse external partners. This allows us to bring forward perspectives and insights that are representative of the people we want to help and talk to as marketers.
FQ: With all the upheaval of this year, how has the media landscape changed? How has JPMorgan Chase evolved its advertising?
Lim: Consumer expectations have shifted—people are much more cognizant about what an advertisement looks like, where an advertisement shows up and how it authentically speaks to them. Consumer research is critical to ensuring our messages will resonate with our audiences and will be reflective of their current experiences. We use consumer insights and social listening to keep our finger on the pulse of trends, cultural moments and social issues that might require a review of both planned and in-flight campaigns.
As a brand, studying our target audience also helps us identify real pain points that our consumers are experiencing and identify changes we may need to make in how we do business, thus ensuring authenticity in our approach and how we communicate our message.
Gayle Jones, executive director, head of Chase Brand Video, on the transformative potential of inclusive storytelling
FQ: How does inclusive storytelling [marketing] promote more inclusive societies?
Jones: I’m always amazed at what gets unleashed in those who feel seen. Inclusive storytelling has that transformative power that allows us to see and hear one another, and that’s so important in creating communities. Representation is crucial but it isn’t the end goal, but rather an entry point to the possibilities.
FQ: Tell us about JPMorgan Chase’s commitment in this area. What are some initiatives you’re excited about?
Jones: I’m proud of the work we’ve done with Advancing Black Pathways. JPMorgan Chase has made a targeted impact across education, careers and wealth creation in the Black community. It’s been tremendously fulfilling for me to see that we can help Black people succeed in whatever it is they set out to accomplish.
Sam Saperstein, head of Women on the Move, on fueling female ambition:
FQ: Tell us about the genesis and growth of Women on the Move.
Saperstein: Women on the Move is JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to provide women with opportunities to succeed in their professional and personal lives. We started as an internal, firmwide program to empower our female employees to grow their careers. In 2018, we expanded Women on the Move to include female clients, customers and the communities we serve.
Our goal is to fuel female ambition and advance financial equality. Today, Women on the Move’s key program objectives are to expand women-run businesses, improve women’s financial health and advance women’s career growth. Everything we do is geared toward helping women reach their full economic potential.
A big area of focus for us is the work we’re doing within our own firm to advance women’s careers. We’ve made great progress: nearly 50% of the employee population is women, 30% of senior leaders are women, 45% percent of Operating Committee members, and we now have four women members on the firm’s board of directors.
FQ: What is the 30-5-1 initiative?
Saperstein: The 30-5-1 Campaign was launched in 2016 by JPMorgan Chase Consumer Lending CEO Marianne Lake to provide opportunities for women at our executive director level and below to meet with senior leaders in an informal setting and benefit from their insights and perspectives. The 30-5-1 format is designed to establish strong mentorship connections. Our mentors spend 30 minutes a week having coffee with a talented up-and-coming woman, five minutes a week congratulating a woman on a win or recent success, and one minute a week talking up the woman who had that win to other colleagues.
We now host 30-5-1 Senior Leader Circle sessions regularly to nurture these mentorships. And we’re proud that many of our peer organizations within the firm, including military veterans, Black professionals and others, have started their own 30-5-1 initiatives.