Supporting Black and Latina women in the workplace

To support Black and Hispanic women in the workplace, we must understand the unique challenges they face and drive solutions. Young Black and Hispanic girls are more likely to do this identify as a leader than girls of other races. However, as they grow up, the disparities they face when it comes to pay and opportunities are staggering. In fact, according to the US census, they were black women paid 63% from which non-Hispanic white males were paid. That means it takes the typical black woman 19 months to get paid, which takes the average white man home in 12 months. And Latinas endure the biggest pay gap of any group and only earn fairly 57 cents on the dollar compared to white non-Latino men.

It’s no secret that gender bias plays a role in income inequality, and unfortunately these inequalities are exacerbated when factors such as race and ethnicity are taken into account. JPMorgan Chase raises awareness of these inequalities and is committed to using its resources to bring about real change—not just during Women’s History Month, but every month.

JPMorgan Chase has dedicated departments that specialize in reaching out to different audiences. Silvana Montenegro, Head of Advancing Hispanic & Latinos, and Byna Elliott, Head of Advancing Black Pathways at JPMorgan Chase, recently shared their perspectives on women in the workplace and how the company is helping to level the playing field.

Q: How is JPMorgan Chase working to address income inequality for Black and Hispanic/Latino women?

Silvana: We recognize that tackling income inequality requires rigorous programming that focuses on inequality in both the workplace and educational settings that Black and Hispanic/Latino women find themselves in before they begin work. Progressing black paths (ABP) and Promoting Hispanics and Latinos (AHL) were born out of the recognition that while our organization has made efforts to be inclusive and impactful in all activities, we need to be very conscious in our approach to our work. ABP was founded to help the Black community find stronger paths to economic success and empowerment, while AHL is a way for us to drive meaningful and sustainable change for the Hispanic and Latino communities.

Through these initiatives, we have created a range of activities focused on entrepreneurship, career readiness and support, financial health and community development. Women are a key target group for all our efforts.

. Silvana Montenegro, Head of Advancing Hispanic & Latinos at JPMorgan Chase. Photo credit: JPMorgan Chase

Q: How does JPMorgan Chase help Black and Hispanic/Latino-owned businesses grow and expand?

Nearly: The number of Black and Hispanic women becoming entrepreneurs continues to grow at an accelerated rate. Black business ownership is increased by almost 30% at pre-pandemic levels and Black women are the fastest growing group of women entrepreneurs. Latinas are similar rather own — or planning to own their own business — than non-Hispanic women. We want to see entrepreneurs who are not only good, but thrive!

Partnering is key to reaching Black and Latino entrepreneurs with helpful resources. Internally, we work collaboratively across our organization—including with our community and consumer industry peers, who are often the face of the business for entrepreneurs—to provide business owners with business education, coaching and banking solutions. But external partnerships are also critical to our efforts.

For example, ABP has a partnership with digitally undivided start BREAKTHROUGH, a business-intensive program designed to help women entrepreneurs of color grow their businesses. The curriculum for the program includes programming to strengthen customer loyalty and banking relationships, as well as identifying and implementing business models. Upon completion of the program, each participant will receive a $5,000 stipend to invest in their business.

Silvana: We also launched a new partnership with rise together™ – a program designed to support the growth and prosperity of Black, Hispanic and Latino-owned small businesses in partnership with the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and The ODP Corporation (The ODP). We’re supporting this year’s expansion by being the exclusive provider of bilingual financial education content through Chase for Business modules and supporting the creation of an online platform where participants can register to access materials for free. Through this initiative, JPMorgan Chase is helping the program expand to six new cities – Detroit, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Minneapolis and Phoenix – in addition to the original five locations (Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and South Florida).

Q. Success in the workplace can be influenced by what is achieved at the college level. How is JPMorgan Chase reaching out to Black, Hispanic and Hispanic female students and how are you helping them succeed in the workplace?

Nearly: students are undoubtedly an important audience – they are our future! Both Progressing black paths and Promotion of Hispanics & Latinos offer fellowship programs aimed at increasing opportunities for underrepresented communities in the financial industry. The ABP Fellowship program was launched in 2019 and the AHL program will begin its first cohort this year. Since inception, nearly 700 students have participated in the programs, more than half of whom identify as female. The programs offer a six-week, full-time paid scholarship held during the summer months for aspiring sophomores who identify as Black, Hispanic, and Latino. This opportunity provides students with hands-on experience, mentoring, and a project-based curriculum designed to help chart a path to future opportunities.

Byna Elliott, Head of Advancing Black Pathways at JPMorgan Chase. Photo credit: JPMorgan Chase

Silvana: Additionally, we recently partnered with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund—one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations supporting higher education for Hispanic and Latino students—to expand the entry pipeline of Hispanic and Latino employees, expand on-campus recruiting opportunities, and to offer financial education to Hispanic and Latino students.

Nearly: Although both programs are open to all Black and Hispanic/Latino students, we find that these programs are particularly valuable for young Black and Hispanic/Latino students due to their underrepresentation in the financial sector. We also make a point of covering topics and matching students with mentors who can address the unique challenges of Black and Hispanic/Latino women in the workforce.

Q. Aside from student resources, what financial educational resources do you provide for Black and Hispanic/Latino women?

Nearly: While changing income inequality requires systemic change, there are individual actions that can be taken to ensure Black and Hispanic/Latino women are fully equipped with the financial literacy and tools they need to thrive. We’re dedicated to helping all generations create a vision and foundation for their financial future, no matter where they start, by promoting education on financial health, home ownership and more saving and investing.

We have transformed our content creation process, bringing creative ideas and strong collaboration with Chase community managers and community partners to provide helpful and engaging content for all of our students, customers and community members.

Q. Finally, while your two respective programs offer so many great services, do you ever collaborate on strategies and initiatives?

Nearly: Absolutely! Within our organization we are viewed as what is known as a ‘centre of excellence’, which basically means that we are viewed as spearheading major strategies and resources related to our specific communities. But diversity and inclusion is a shared priority for all businesses and is not limited to what we drive forward.

Silvana: Last year, for example, JP Morgan Wealth Management hosted it Building a New Legacy: A Summit for Black and Latina Women. The sorority’s virtual celebration provided a unique space for Black women, Latinas and all allies to embark on an investment journey together. Through live discussion panels, one-on-one sessions with celebrities and on-demand talks, the event served as a platform to promote education about building and preserving wealth. While we supported our peers, this activity was driven by the need to bring rich content to an important audience – an audience we will continue to prioritize in all our efforts.

To learn more about JPMorgan Chase & Co’s various impact initiatives, please visit You can also learn more about the Advancing Black Pathways and Advancing Hispanic and Latinos and the following sites:

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