Completing college was probably one of the first major goals I set for myself. No one in my family had ever gone to college-and I was determined to be the first. After graduating from the University of Arizona, I later went on to obtain Masters and Doctoral degrees from Northern Arizona University.
From the earliest age I can remember, diversity and acceptance had been ingrained in my family culture. My earliest memories of working with people who were different than I was in my grandfather's grocery store in Warwick, NY, where I worked side-by-side with people from all walks of life. Throughout that experience, my grandfather taught me the importance of living one's values and embracing and honoring all people, regardless of race, age, gender or sexual orientation. He enabled me to embrace everyone, including myself.
Inclusion creates a level playing field, which allows the best talent to rise to the top. Respecting diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity should therefore be recognized as a matter of strategic importance to every company competing in the global market for talent. Supporting all diversity initiatives is of critical importance and I believe JPMorgan Chase strives to be the premiere destination for all diverse professionals.
I've found that our company has done a fantastic job of supporting its LGBT employees, and the JPMorgan Chase corporate policies have kept pace with the changing national outlook on LGBT inclusivity. True inclusion goes beyond being an equal opportunity employer - it requires everyday actions to encourage and foster authenticity, building a culture that includes all people. Employees cannot deliver exceptional client services, or realize their full, personal potential if they feel obliged to leave part of themselves at home when they come to work.
Pride isn't just a month to me; it's a state of mind. It is also a constant in my life-each year I live out the values set forth in Pride month. Pride is about living every day out with integrity and honesty so I can make a difference for others. And this includes my work. Indeed, I believe Pride month is a celebration of people and institutions that have embraced diversity inclusion as much as it is a vehicle to encourage them to do so. It is a month of reflection; a month to ask yourself if the core values of your life are being met by the world you have made for yourself-and the company you work for.
As someone who believes in a world where we come together to help all people reach their goals, regardless of any differences we may have, it is a great honor to receive the GlobalMindED Inclusive Leader Award for leadership in these efforts.