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Five Lessons to Help New Yorkers Build Resiliency through Financial Health

JPMorgan Chase’s Deborah Johnson shares her career insights for a stronger New York

JPMorgan Chase’s Deborah Johnson shares her career insights for a stronger New York

JPMorgan Chase’s Deborah Johnson shares her career insights for a stronger New York JPMorgan Chase

New York City is the financial capital of the world and home to some of the most resilient people in the world – but even New Yorkers can use some help making their finances more resilient. I have worked in financial services for more than 40 years – or more than 14,000 days waking up motivated to empower New Yorkers, especially in communities of color, to reach their financial goals. 

My colleagues and I fundamentally believe that we can make economic growth inclusive and sustainable by creating pathways for our neighbors to learn about financial health, making home ownership attainable, and helping the small business that power our communities grow. The result is real: creating generational wealth for communities that were too often underserved. 

In my current role as Vice President and Market Manager for New York and New Jersey Public Engagement at JPMorgan Chase, I collaborate closely with  community leaders to learn how we can best support New Yorkers’ financial wellbeing over the short- and long-term. This approach has taught me many lessons on the value of responsible and effective financial services, what makes a meaningful partnership, and how to create enduring impact. Below are five of the most significant lessons I have learned over the course of my career, which are equally impactful in a community bank branch, the board room, or the halls of government.

  1. Talk to your neighbors – and apply what you learn. Across New York City, our neighbors possess invaluable knowledge about their community—including its unique characteristics, strengths, and vulnerabilities. Proactively gather these insights and use them to develop a comprehensive and accurate understanding of a neighborhood’s needs before pursuing any one solution. 
  2. Foster an inclusive work environment and invite diverse perspectives. People from different backgrounds and with a wide range of experiences make New York City one of the most diverse, interesting and innovative places in the world. When an organization – corporate, nonprofit or otherwise - promotes diversity and inclusivity, society benefits. Our collective experiences help us drive innovative, creative, and inclusive solutions capable of powering a dynamic and resilient economy. 
  3. Embrace innovation. New Yorkers are entrepreneurial by definition – and our city is well positioned to foster a culture of innovation by encouraging and supporting community-driven solutions, staying open to new ideas, and embracing new technologies. By actively supporting small businesses, we contribute to the growth of our communities and help maintain diverse, culturally rich neighborhoods. One way we can lift up our homegrown entrepreneurs is to increase procurement opportunities for minority-owned businesses. For example, JPMorgan Chase committed $2.2 million to Ascend NYC to help connect entrepreneurs with capital, supplier diversity opportunities, and business education resources. 
  4. Combine the strengths of private industry and public partners. Strong public-private partnerships can help identify new solutions that address New Yorkers’ needs most effectively and efficiently and then quickly bring them to scale. By establishing strong partnerships with on-the-ground organizations and local leaders, we help ensure JPMorgan Chase develops solutions that actually address our neighbors’ needs. I have learned that if you want to make an impact, you must partner and collaborate with community organizations and leadership who are at the center of this work. 
  5. Enhance access to and the quality of education. Investing in education and skill development programs is the best way to prepare our local workforce for emerging industries and higher paying jobs that do not require a college degree. For example, our investment in initiatives and institutions in New York City such as Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation unlock high-value education, facilitate career paths, and build capacity in the technology and green energy sectors that will push New York City forward for decades to come.

I hope something in each of these lessons helps you and your community lead on the path to financial resilience, as we all look for ways to grow and prosper in this great city. 

To learn more about how JPMorgan Chase makes an impact, I encourage you to visit https://www.jpmorganchase.com/impact/communities/our-markets/new-york-city.