Navigating Finance and Technology in a Three-Decade Career!
In the world of finance and investments, where profit margins often overshadow ethical considerations, there are leaders who are determined to redefine the industry’s core values.
Brad Baumoel, the Managing Director and Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs at JPMorgan Chase & Co., stands as a shining example of a visionary leader committed to promoting inclusivity, diversity, and equality in one of the world’s largest financial institutions.
Brad’s journey into the world of finance and technology began with a pivotal decision during his college years in 1985. While his passion for business was unwavering, he faced the dilemma of choosing a specialization. As he stepped into the hallowed halls of his university’s business school, he narrowed his focus to two fields: Finance and Technology. Unable to make a definitive choice, he boldly embarked on a path of double majors, a decision that would lay the groundwork for his exceptional career.
Brad’s academic journey mirrored his unwavering determination to excel in both Finance and Information Systems. As he honed his skills and knowledge, it became apparent that he possessed a unique blend of expertise that could bridge the worlds of finance and technology seamlessly.
When the time came to take his first step into the professional world, Brad’s dual expertise presented him with a challenging decision. Undeterred, he chose to embark on a career in Accenture’s Financial Services consulting sector, specifically in the realm of technology. For four years, he delved into the intricacies of the Financial Services industry, laying a strong foundation for the remarkable journey ahead.
Three decades ago, Brad Baumoel made a career-defining decision that would shape the course of his professional life. He joined JPMorgan Chase & Co., a global financial powerhouse, and never looked back. His enduring commitment to the company and its values has fueled his rise through the ranks, ultimately leading to his current role as Managing Director.
As the Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs, Brad is not just a financial leader; he’s a driving force for change. In this pivotal role, he spearheads initiatives that promote inclusivity, diversity, and equality within the company and beyond.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming the Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs for JPMorgan Chase?
As of this year, I’ve been with JPMorgan Chase for 30 years! During my time here, I’ve held many roles across our businesses. It’s also important to note that I was not out for the first 10 years of my career. Before I came out at work, I was the opposite of my authentic self—a literal wallflower. For the first ten years of my career, I was the kid in the corner with all the great ideas, but I never said a word. I spent way too much time in my head processing and filtering to make sure I didn’t share anything that would “out” me. It was exhausting, and I know it held me back professionally.
Once I was finally able to break down those walls and bring my full self to work, I quickly began to thrive and advance. I also found that so many of the things that made me special outside of the office could be used as powerful tools at work as well. I quickly became engaged with our LGBTQ+ initiatives through our PRIDE Business Resource Group (BRG), helping set up one of our first chapters in 1996. I was also determined to pay it forward for other LGBTQ+ colleagues coming up behind me.
Now, fast forward 25 years of my being deeply engaged in our LGBTQ+ agenda, and I’m here before you as the head of a global business dedicated solely to advancing LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion inside and outside of the firm.
What inspired you to take on a leadership role in LGBTQ+ Affairs?
So, having been involved in JPMorgan Chase’s LGBTQ+ initiatives since the 1990s, when I did step into the agenda, I noticed that it lacked the structure and organization it really required to materially move the needle. Given that creating structure was a professional strength for me, I threw myself deeply into this work as a volunteer and helped lead components of the network toward greater impact for over 25 years.
I was also determined to build upon these efforts and take both what I’d learned in my day job and my passionate volunteer work, leading the BRG, to make a more material impact on the community outside our four walls here at JPMorgan Chase. I had actually made plans (at least in my head) to leave JPMorgan Chase at some point to do this work full-time, likely running an LGBTQ+ nonprofit.
While I never dreamed that I could do this work full-time at JPMorgan Chase, I like to say I interviewed for this role throughout my entire career.
How has your experience in Global Finance, Asset Wealth Management, and Consumer and Community Banking helped inform your work as the Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs?
Having worked across our businesses for 30 years, I have built an extensive professional network at all levels in the organization at JPMorgan Chase. I have seen any small differences in culture firsthand and know what things require more focus in each area of the firm. I also call upon my network at all levels to engage more deeply in our strategy and agenda, to provide additional funding support when it’s required, and to partner on a suite of both internal and external initiatives benefiting our LGBTQ+ employees, consumer clients, business owners, and the communities in which we operate.
I also learned how to run components of a business in my various roles across the organization, and now I get to run an entire business, end-to-end. So, I’ve taken the best of what I’ve learned over the past 30 years to stand up and propel my new business.
What internal initiatives have you implemented or been involved in since becoming the Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs? Can you share some examples of the impact they have had?
First of all, we developed and implemented a global framework and strategy with clear objectives, metrics, controls, and accountabilities for the LGBTQ+ agenda. This has enabled me to formalize the ways in which my team and I are driving progress on LGBTQ+ DEI matters across our business and into how we help our employees grow and develop, as well as how we serve customers, clients, and communities. At a high level, this has strengthened our businesses and our culture, while in parallel broadening the programming and benefits we can provide to our LGBTQ+ employees.
For example, we have been more intentional in both self-improvement and promotion. In this space, I’ve seen material progress and growth in representation since my Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs was established in 2021. Since then, JPMorgan Chase has seen increases in the number of employees self-identifying as LGBTQ+, including a 35% growth year-over-year in 2022 and a 50% growth year-over-year in 2021. To me, this demonstrates the impact of being more visible and intentional with your diversity initiatives.
Additionally, in 2022, we greatly expanded the covered benefits offered under our U.S. Medical Plan to support health outcomes for LGBTQ+ employees and family members. This includes a dedicated LGBTQ+ health concierge service to help employees identify in-network LGBTQ+ affirming providers; enhanced transgender benefits to better support employees and covered dependents from the gender-expansive community with accessing a broader set of gender-affirming services and procedures; and family-building benefits to increase flexibility in our employees’ journeys of considering when to start a family.
Mentorship is another area in which we’ve deeply invested. Since establishing the office, we have launched LGBTQ+ Navigator Circles, a program built around small discussion groups hosted by an LGBTQ+ senior leader. They have an opportunity to share their perspectives on career development and topics related to being out and authentic in the workplace. These pockets of intimate dialogue in a safe space provide ascending talent with direction and support, which helps them see new possibilities, take action in their careers, and find value in being out at work.
What advice do you have for other companies and organizations looking to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community?
- Speak up and condemn the homophobia and transphobia that sadly exist throughout our communities.
- Implement policies and programs that help all underrepresented employees, customers, clients, and communities thrive.
- Be intentional about developing, promoting, and retaining your LGBTQ+ workforce.
- Create partnerships with LGBTQ+ nonprofits to help your communities thrive.
- Pressure test products and services to ensure they are fully inclusive.
Join our fight! We can’t do this alone. To create a truly inclusive and safe world, we need everybody to engage and take on a role. The more visible allies there are, the easier it will be for LGBTQ+ people to live, work, and thrive.
How do you see your role evolving in the future?
My team and business are still in their infancy. We’ve only just begun as we stood up the office in mid-2021. I see my team of dedicated, full-time global resources continuing to grow and our impact both inside and outside of JPMorgan Chase growing at commensurate levels. I see our work leading to more and more people around the globe feeling they too can live their lives authentically and thrive, and in doing so, I can connect with more and more employees, clients, business owners, and communities around the globe to provide everyone with equitable opportunities to reach their personal and professional dreams.
Awards or recognition that accurately highlight your achievements in the corporate niche
- Crain’s New York Business Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives (2022, 2023)
- LGBT Great – Top 50 2023 Executive Ally
- PoliticsNY 2023 LGBTQ+ Power Players
- PinkNews Business Trailblazer of the Year Nominee