Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
All communities should have the resources they need to strengthen their economic futures. This Black History Month, JPMorgan Chase is affirming their commitment to breaking down barriers — including the racial wealth gap — and promoting opportunity for all.
In recognition of Black History Month, we connected with Thelma Ferguson, Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Vice Chair, Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase, to get her insights on how she’s celebrating Black History Month, how JPMorgan Chase is advancing equity and inclusion and what she hopes to achieve in the year ahead.
1) Tell us a little about yourself and your role at JPMorgan Chase? The majority of my 25- year tenure at JPMorgan Chase has been in Commercial Banking, providing clients with the financial solutions they need to grow their businesses. Yet, no matter what my role was, I have always been focused on driving inclusion and equity.
Today, as the Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I’m proud to look after our leading strategies to uplift employees, clients and the communities we serve as the bank for all. I also continue to serve as Vice Chair for Commercial Banking, building and managing key client relationships from coast to coast.
2) What does Black History Month mean to you and how are you celebrating? Black History Month is an important opportunity to reflect on the achievements and struggles of our Black communities. To me, this means honoring the immense reach, depth and richness of Black communities’ global history, in addition to its connection and intersection with other communities. At JPMorgan Chase, we organize events and activities to honor the designation, highlight Black history and culture, and enable impactful conversations and opportunities to continue our commitment to help create more equitable pathways for all.
3) How is JPMorgan Chase working to advance a more inclusive economy? We believe that we are only as strong as the communities we serve and the economies they support. We also understand that our company can play a role in helping communities grow, driving local economies, and helping people build their prosperity.
We’re helping to power economic growth by breaking down barriers and creating opportunities in communities across the globe. We do that through a focus on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within our own workforce, as well as through business and community investments and policy advocacy.
4) How has your company’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion strategy evolved over the past couple of years as the spotlight has been put on the country’s lingering racial inequality and social injustice issues? We’re working to address inequities, including the racial wealth gap, in a meaningful way. Our efforts to support inclusive growth dates back decades. One more recent example is our $30 billion, five-year Racial Equity Commitment (REC) focused on advancing sustainable homeownership, driving small business growth, bolstering financial health and expanding access to banking. Through this commitment, we’re helping to create greater access to affordable home loans, low-cost checking accounts and financial health education workshops in the communities we serve and particularly in historically underserved neighborhoods. Our goal is to help close the racial wealth gap and ensure all members of communities – including our own employees – can access the resources they need to strengthen their economic futures.
5) How should other companies and individuals be thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion as it relates to the growth of their business? Inequity stifles economic growth. If you start with that fact, it becomes clear how engaging more communities and helping to create more equitable opportunities is just smart business. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are not buzzwords. Their tenets should be core ingredients in the design and execution of your business strategies and run with the same commitment and rigor as other parts of your business.
6) What are your goals for this year and what are you looking forward to in 2024? This year, my goals include deepening our culture of inclusion for our 300,000 employees, across all backgrounds and geographies and perspectives. I’m also focused on further embedding inclusive practices and solutions within JPMorgan Chase to inform our business, gain efficiencies and deepen impact. I am optimistic about the road ahead and continued progress in helping to lift all.