JPMorgan Chase Announces New Diversity Initiative at Howard University

U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, left, JPMorgan Chase’s Managing Director Sekou Kaalund, center and businessman Maverick Carter have a discussion at the launch of Advancing Black Pathways. Photo by Kyle Hudson, Howard University News Service.

By Kyle Hudson, Howard University News Service

Washington DC– Not every day can one share a room with a congresswoman, professional athlete, Lebron James’ business manager, and representatives from the nation’s largest bank.  However, the Howard University community had the opportunity to talk to these distinguished individuals at a discussion about financial literacy in the black community.

On Feb.11, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced their new diversity initiative, Advancing Black Pathways, at Howard University’s School of Business.  The event featured two fireside discussions moderated by Sekou Kaalund, JPMorgan Chase’s Managing Director, and featured guests such as Ohio U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, Maverick Carter, Lebron James’ business manager, and brothers Caylin and Cam Newton, quarterbacks for Howard University football team and the Carolina Panthers.  Each of the guests discussed their first financial lesson, problems they’ve witnessed with financial literacy in the black community, and gave students advice on how to maintain success.

Spearheaded by Kaalund, Advancing Black Pathways is an initiative motivated by increasing the upward mobility of African Americans across the country.  Developed off of several other initiatives launched by the company such as Advancing Black Leaders and AdavancingCities, under Advancing Black Pathways, JPMorgan Chase has pledged to increase investments in programs, products, and services that support African Americans in their pursuit towards success in all facets of life.

“Talent is created equally but opportunity is not,” said Thasunda Duckett, Chase consumer banking CEO and Advancing Black Pathways executive sponsor. “There is not one path to black excellence, there are a lot of paths to get there. This is about creating the pathways for us to understand it’s [black excellence] education, it’s careers, and it’s wealth.”

Maverick Carter challenged students to continue craving knowledge and to “be clear and unafraid of what you don’t know.” Self-knowledge was also a big theme of the discussion as Cam Newton advised students to find something that they’re interested in and make a living off of it.

“Compensation comes in many different forms,” said Newton. “If you are passionate about something you will be compensated for it.”

The conversation of listening to yourself and following your heart remained constant as Congresswoman Joyce Beatty told students that the reality of success is already grounded inside of them and being yourself is the easiest way to achieve success.

“It starts with the discipline,” said Beatty. “The discipline for you to be ok with yourself wherever you are…if you are a female in this audience, embrace your femininity, whatever that is, know who you are and don’t try and be someone else.  If you’re one of the brothers, respect yourself first because if you respect yourself first, you won’t be out there disrespecting someone else.”

To close the event, students and attendees were invited to a brief reception where they had the opportunity to talk to representatives, recruiters, and distinguished guests.