20 Jan Men at Work: Any Given Monday
JPMorgan Chase’s David Miree has parlayed the leadership skills he learned playing college football into a winning combination in the world of finance
By Margo Diaz
David Miree, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion, played Division I college football at Ohio University. He says the lessons learned on the field and in the locker room prepared him for his career, and are directly applicable to his job today.
“When you fall, you get back up. You dust yourself off and keep moving forward,” the former tight end says. “You don’t accept the ‘L’ [sports talk for “loss”]. No matter what the score of the game, stay focused, show your grit and determination. Be tenacious during times of challenge. Going through tough times in life is inevitable, but you’re never defeated unless you believe you are, so stay positive and inspire others to do the same.”
Miree serves as co–executive sponsor of JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion initiative called the racial equity commitment, and as executive sponsor of the Second Chance Business Coalition, an alliance of firms that vow to give deserving people with a criminal record the opportunity for employment. He is a member of JPMorgan Chase’s Consumer & Community Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking, Corporate Sector, and Human Resources management teams.
With an inclusive and intersectional approach, he is leading the global DEI organization to embed sustainable strategies and management accountability into the framework of how his firm does business—helping employees thrive, serving clients and customers, and uplifting external communities.
Miree brings a wealth of business experience, gained over 30 years in the industry, to this pivotal role. Previously at Wells Fargo, where he was executive vice president and head of Consumer and Small Business Diverse Customer Segments, he led the development of innovative products and solutions that improved customers’ financial well-being, motivating others to exceed business objectives and building data-driven strategies to deliver optimal outcomes.
Miree holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in athletic administration from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He lives in New York with his wife; together, they have three adult sons.
Diversity Woman: What are your short- and long-term goals at JPMorgan Chase?
David Miree: It’s my responsibility to drive our programming to continue increased representation of diverse employees around the world—so my ultimate goal is to do that while promoting inclusion and improving access to economic opportunity for all, through our $30 billion racial equity commitment and other efforts across the globe.
Being successful requires us to run our global DEI department like a business, ensuring we have the right KPIs [key performance indicators], driving for the right outcomes, and holding ourselves accountable when we fall short of our goals.
We are working to develop wealth-building strategies to improve economic outcomes for all our customers and for the communities where we operate.
DW: What drew you to JPMorgan Chase?
DM: As a career banker, running diversity, equity, and inclusion programming was not a path I expected to go down. However, watching George Floyd be senselessly murdered in the street made me realize I can and should make a difference in a new way, professionally. After that tragic day, we all needed to take inventory of ourselves to examine where we could work to create change for others, particularly those who live in disadvantaged communities.
JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion racial equity commitment and its world-class diversity programming were major factors that made the firm the place where I believe I can drive the sort of change I want to see in the world.
DW: You are co–executive sponsor of the $30 billion racial equity commitment. What is that initiative and how did it come about?
DM: Our $30 billion five-year commitment, which we launched in October of 2020, focuses on addressing some of the largest drivers of the racial wealth divide—including homeownership, affordable housing, small-business growth, financial health, access to banking, supplier diversity, and workforce diversity.
Improving access to affordable housing and home ownership are two key areas of the commitment that have wide-ranging economic impact across the Black, Hispanic, and Latino communities.
Another main component of the commitment is improving access to financial services for the unbanked population through new lending commitments and resources in communities across the US.
To get it right, we put in the time to understand what DEI experts and civil rights leaders had to say about our key challenge areas and commitments. We conferred with leaders from the Urban League, NAACP, Unidos, and others, and reflected on their feedback on our progress to ensure that our commitment has the intended impact over time.
We’re thinking about our racial equity work holistically and holding ourselves accountable for the outcomes.
DW: Tell us a bit about your upbringing and a leadership lesson you learned early in life.
DM: I learned countless lessons from my mother, father, and grandfathers. They taught me to appreciate people for all the things that make them unique.
Some of my fondest memories are of my granddad. As a young man growing up, he invited people from all walks of life to his backyard BBQs. His desire to meet and know people of difference, who had varied life experiences and racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, taught me to look beyond the surface and into the character of the people I meet every day.
Everyone has an important personal perspective. Without the experience and wisdom of my parents and granddad, I never would have pushed myself to meet so many different people throughout the journey that has enriched my personal and professional life.
DW: How does JPMorgan Chase advance women into leadership positions?
DM: Our oldest employee program at JPMorgan Chase, called Women on the Move, aims to provide those who identify as women with opportunities to succeed in their professional and personal lives.
The program’s key objectives aim to empower women’s career growth within the firm, expand access to capital and technical assistance for women entrepreneurs, and improve access to financial literacy through education and tools that increase women’s financial health and independence.
On representation, we’ve since seen progress. More women were promoted to the position of managing director through 2021 than ever before; similarly, a record number of women were promoted to executive director posts.
DW: What career advice would you give new college graduates who aspire to leadership roles?
DM: Set a high goal for what you want to accomplish early on in your career, and then work hard to exceed it!
Seek out people who sit in roles you aspire to, and create mentorship and sponsorship relationships with them. Successful people love to tell their story, so listen to them.
Be open to feedback. Positive and constructive feedback will help you learn where your blind spots are and where you can improve, so accept it humbly.
DW: What are you proudest of in your business career?
DM: I am so fortunate to have had such a long career in banking. I feel really good about the path I’ve taken and, more recently, about uplifting people and communities through our DEI work at JPMorgan Chase.
The work I’m doing now at JPMorgan Chase is the most meaningful and rewarding work of my career because of the impact it will have on generations of individuals and families across the globe. DW