Women on the Move Podcast
Making room for women in pro sports, with Sheryl Swoopes and the NFL’s Sam Rapoport

Making room for women in pro sports, with Sheryl Swoopes and the NFL’s Sam Rapoport

December 8, 2022

In honor of JPMorgan Chase's seventh Annual Leadership Day, this episode features Lauren Tyler, Head of HR for J.P. Morgan Asset and Wealth Management, in conversation with two pioneers in the sports world: WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes and Sam Rapoport, the NFL’s Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Together they explore themes of inclusion, motherhood, and diversity in sports.

 

Breaking through in male-dominated fields

Sheryl grew up with two brothers and began playing basketball at age 7. She emphasizes the impact that the federal Title IX legislation, passed 50 years ago this year, had on her early success and subsequent career. As a college basketball standout, Sherly couldn’t understand why the women’s’ teams always had the smaller gyms. She brought up the inequity with her coach, who told her to wait and see: Title IX would have an impact on that.

Sheryl went on to be a pioneering force of that change: the first player drafted to the WNBA, then the first player signed—and the first active player to have a baby. “I take a lot of pride in who I am and what I've been able to do,” she tells Lauren. “For every little girl out there who has had dreams of someday playing in the WNBA and to see that dream come to fruition, I honestly couldn't ask for anything better.”

Sam, meanwhile, grew up playing tackle football and was a quarterback in the Women's League. She moved on to a role with the NFL 21 years ago. “And about six, seven years ago, I looked around at the NFL and I asked myself, Where the hell are all the women?” she recalls. “It was all men on the coaching side, on the scouting side, on the officiating side. And I decided that I wanted to be the one to change that. And so I did what anyone who had found their passion would do: I cornered my boss.”

That boss was legendary NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who “handed me the ball, put me in touch with the right people, and a couple months later, the NFL Women's Forum was born.” The Forum is a program where women in entry-level coaching positions get to meet with NFL head coaches, general managers, and owners. “We give them an opportunity to impress and potentially get hired,” Sam explains. “At the beginning of the season, we went from zeros across the board for women in every category to 15 women in coaching positions.”

 

Support from teammates and male leaders

Both women say they wouldn’t have gotten where they are today without the extended hands of both their teammates and the male leaders who invited them in. For Sam, that started with Roger Goodell. It wasn’t all a smooth ride after that—she recalls plenty of pushback, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans tweeting a petition to change the team name to the Tampon Bay Buccaneers after two women were hired to the coaching staff. But one by one, NFL coaching giants signed on to help with the Women’s Forum.

She recalls courting Coach Bill Belichick, nervously thinking he was a longshot to help with the Women’s Forum. But he emailed back within minutes, saying he’d be glad to help. She says he was enthusiastic and eager to help the female coaches he met with. “And at the end of the session, he gave all 15 coaches his personal email address, told them to email him questions, and they've all stayed in touch and continued to develop through Bill.”

For her part, Sheryl says she credits her teammates with giving her the opportunity to shine. “Because I think to have a great team, you have to have different pieces and different players that are willing to accept their role,” she tells Lauren. “And without those players, there's no way I would've been the athlete that I was.”

She also acknowledges male NBA stars and tells a story about meeting her hero Michael Jordan when she was pregnant. “I said, I would be honored if you would let me name my son after you,” she remembers. “And his response was, If he has a good jump shot. And my response was, He's gonna have a better jump shot than you ever had.”

In the end, both women say, they’re most proud of knowing that they played a role in paving the way for young girls to see themselves in male-dominated professional sports.

 

Full transcript here

Mentor Moment: Transitioning back to work after parental leave

Mentor Moment: Transitioning back to work after parental leave

December 1, 2022

How should I transition back to work from maternity leave?

Women on The Move host, Sam Saperstein, gives tips for a smooth transition back to work after having a child.`

 

Full transcript here 

Helping women define and achieve success, with Luminary founder and CEO

Helping women define and achieve success, with Luminary founder and CEO

November 23, 2022

After two decades as a successful banking executive, Cate Luzio realized she wanted to do something with bigger impact. She quit her job and self-funded Luminary, a membership-based career and personal growth platform with the mission of uplifting and supporting women through all phases of their professional journey. In this episode she sits down with Women on the Move host Sam Saperstein to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur, how she pivoted and thrived during the pandemic, and what she’s learned about the issues professional women across the country are facing.

 

Jumping into entrepreneurship—and meeting a pandemic

In 2018, after stints in high-level roles at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and HSBC, Cate says she realized she had been involved in a lot of initiatives around investing in women and talent development, but “I just wasn't seeing the numbers and the needle move fast enough.” Knowing she wanted to focus on those issues, she quit her job without even knowing what exactly she would do.

With the encouragement of a mentor from JPMorgan, Cate took the time to step back and think about what she really wanted to do. Soon she had a business plan that she was able to self-finance by leveraging her lifelong savings, and she launched Luminary in early 2019.

Luminary was initially conceived as an in-person meeting space to help advance women in the workforce. But less than a year after the space opened in New York City, the pandemic brought in-person events to a screeching halt. Knowing she had to be ready for anything, Cate and her team set about examining expenses, contacting vendors, and re-defining their plans. “I look back at my original business plan, and there was not even a word of digital or virtual. It really was about that physical connection,” Cate recalls. “But what I realized pretty early on in the pandemic was it wasn't about physical, it was about connection.”

 

Involving men in the gender equality journey

In the end, the pandemic and resulting switch to online experiences didn’t stop Luminary’s growth. Cate says they’ve done more than 2,000 events, workshops, and programs since March of 2020, and have over 1,500 hours of content from all of these sessions. “We're working with thousands of women around the world and now male allies,” she tells Sam. “So that's the model. And then we work with great corporate members like JPMorgan Chase and many others to really invest in the women internally and get them access to, yes, bigger networks, but [also] additional learning outside of what they're getting within their company.”

From the beginning, Cate knew she didn’t want to exclude men from Luminary. “The future of women in the workforce cannot evolve, progress, change without the support and assistance of men,” she notes. “And so I wanted to create a really inclusive environment, and that's why we don't have an application process. I want people to walk in physically or virtually and feel like this is a space where they can be themselves, thrive, learn, connect, develop.”

 

Capacity constraints, defining success, and other top women’s issues

Cate says one of the top issues facing women today is what she calls “capacity constraints.” By that, she means the common barriers such as time, transportation, and childcare, but also the ongoing tension between the messages that women get about success. “Women in particular are constantly being told, do a great job . . . that's how you're going to get promoted,” she says. “But at the same time, you better find mentors, you need to have a bigger network, you need to invest in your skills.” And the growth of remote and hybrid work has meant that there are even fewer boundaries between work and personal life. In the end, she says, it comes down to women not being able to “fit it all in.”

A related issue Cate discusses is the ongoing pressure for women to be leaders, and to aspire to the c-suite. She’d like to see more of an emphasis on women defining their own vision of success. “[We] absolutely need more women in the c-level,” she tells Sam. “But not everybody should be at that level, and nor do they want to be. You can still have a phenomenal career and still invest in your skills and still get paid and still do well at your definition of success.”

“Most women that I know are very driven and ambitious,” she continues. “They want to feel valued, they want to be acknowledged, they want to be recognized, they want to be paid, and they want to be able to have opportunities. And I think we have this incredible sense of guilt if we're not meeting everyone else's standards.”

 

Full Transcript here 

Mentor Moment: What it takes to become a mentor

Mentor Moment: What it takes to become a mentor

November 17, 2022

What are the best ways to become a mentor, and what is your responsibility as a mentor?

 

Women on The Move host, Sam Saperstein, shares what responsibilities you should expect to have when becoming a mentor.

 

Full transcript here 

U.S. Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce Founders talk supporting entrepreneurship among a unique demographic

U.S. Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce Founders talk supporting entrepreneurship among a unique demographic

November 10, 2022

Jaime Chapman and Stephanie Brown are on a mission to empower military spouses. Both military spouses themselves, the two founded and run the U.S. Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce. Here they talk with Women on the Move Host Sam Saperstein about the unique challenges facing military spouses, why the population is often drawn to entrepreneurship, and the work the Chamber is doing to foster military spouse entrepreneurs.

Relocation, pay disparities, and other facts of military life

Jaime and Stephanie both describe their own journeys as military spouses. Stephanie tells Sam that she was a business owner in Washington, DC, more than two decades ago when she met her late husband, got married, and moved overseas. “I very quickly became unemployed and unemployable,” she says. Jaime had served in the Army Reserves for six years and thought she was done with the military when she “married into the army” nearly seven years ago.

Before they knew each other, both women shared the experience of learning how difficult it was to maintain their professional careers as military spouses, and both were involved in the world of entrepreneurship. Many factors combine to make employment complicated for military spouses: they relocate a lot, there’s often a lack of affordable—or any—childcare, and there’s often a lack of family or friends to help out due to the relocations. On top of that, they note, there’s a big disparity in pay between military spouses and other civilians.

Perhaps because of these factors, military spouses have a particularly high rate of entrepreneurship. Both Stephanie and Jaime were entrepreneurs with a passion for helping others, and the two were initially brought together by a mutual colleague who recruited first Stephanie and then Jaime to work on a Military Spouse Entrepreneur Task Force. It was while working on that task force that the idea of the Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce first came to Stephanie. “I one day said to Jaime and [another colleague], you know, we really need to have a military spouse chamber of commerce because I've been working on this certification for military spouse–owned businesses for a long time with USAA and we need a forum through which we can provide this certification and really change things for spouses and small business owners,” she recalls.

Launching a network for military spouse entrepreneurs

The two women launched the U.S. Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce in 2020. As Stephanie describes, gaining recognized certification of military spouse-owned business was a driving force. “So what we began doing is researching how other third parties and the Veterans Administration actually reviewed and certified veteran-owned service, disabled veteran owned, minority owned, women owned, et cetera. And so we took those best practices and narrowed it down and kind of customized it for the lifestyle of the military spouse.”

Another key aim of the organization, Jaime explains, was to help military spouse entrepreneurs with essential business functions like setting up retirement plans and employee benefits for themselves and their employees. “Because the first thing you should be asking when you're self-employed is, how do I save for retirement?” she notes. “But most people are more worried about setting up their website and logo and getting their business off the ground and marketing it when they should be thinking about taking care of themselves.”

Today, Jaime notes, the Chamber has 1,100 military spouse members spread across 35 states in five countries running businesses ranging from artisanal handmade products to multi-seven-figure firms. The organization is involved in several legislative initiatives, including a push to streamline occupational licensing for relocating spouses. But Stephanie says one of the biggest benefits has been the recognition of the value of the community. “I think we also are beginning to recognize that there is a huge network out there of other military spouse, business owners that we can turn to, to collaborate, to mentor, which is really kind of the secret sauce,” she says.

In terms of how others can support military spouses (and, in turn, support veterans and active military members, who also benefit from their spouses’ success), the two suggest a two-pronged approach. First, doing business with certified military spouse–owned businesses, either as an individual or as a business hiring contractors, helps them succeed. And second, anybody can support military spouse–owned businesses by seeking them out and buying from them.

 

Full transcript here 

Mentor Moment: Strengthening your negotiation skills

Mentor Moment: Strengthening your negotiation skills

November 3, 2022

My end of year review is coming up and I would like to request more resources to elevate the impact of our organization next year. How can I negotiate for additional support and even compensation?

 

Women on The Move host, Sam Saperstein, looks back on her on 2021 interview with negotiation expert, Kathryn Valentine, as she advises on negotiating compensation and useful resources to have in your pocket.

 

Full transcript here 

JPMorgan regional head talks supporting racial equity through affordable housing

JPMorgan regional head talks supporting racial equity through affordable housing

October 27, 2022

Cécile Chalifour wants to see a big wave of advocacy for affordable housing. As Head of the West Region for Community Development Banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co., she works with partners across the spectrum to support the bank's racial equity commitment by helping to build additional affordable housing units in the Western United States. Here she joins Women on the Move host Sam Saperstein to discuss her passion for the mission and her hope of seeing see more innovation in the housing sector.

 

Finding her place in affordable housing

Growing up in France, Cécile attended law school and planned to practice law in her home country. But when her father suddenly passed away at the age of 50, she changed course. Deciding that she didn’t want her life to be “the same,” she headed to the United States for what she thought would be a brief but exciting experience. Although she spoke French, German, and Russian, she knew no English. She rectified that via a book on how to learn English in 90 days. “And then because I was going for a job interview in affordable housing, I learned about low-income housing tax credits—I read a whole book about low-income housing tax,” she recalls. “My funny story is always that at the beginning, I was only able to talk about law and finance . . . and I could say nothing about everyday life.”

 

With a family background in political activism and a personal belief in the common good, Cécile says the policy area of affordable housing was a natural fit for her. “Affordable housing is not just about brick and mortar . . . it’s about potentially changing somebody's life trajectory,” she tells Sam. “That means more opportunity, more ability to be healthy. Think about what it means for our communities. It means the better economy. It means all of us doing much better. Fundamentally, I believe that when you invest in affordable housing in our communities, we invest in ourselves—and that drives everything I do.”

 

In her job in Community Development Banking, Cécile manages the company’s affordable housing platform for the Western U.S. region, including construction and permanent financing for large multifamily apartment buildings. They provide the conventional debt in a public and private partnership. Her focus is on deeply targeted housing which is rent restricted and income restricted. Technically that means housing that is below 60 percent of an area’s median income.

 

“So there is an actual threshold,” she adds. “It can be homeless people. It can be people with a job. It happens to be a job that doesn't pay very well. A home for single mom, maybe her first home, a senior on fixed income who’s been living in car, a low income family . . . people with special needs or veterans. So that's what we do. We finance those projects.”

 

Maintaining a focus on diversity and advocacy

Coming from a racially diverse family, being a woman in the male-dominated field of commercial real estate, and as a mother to a neurodiverse child, Cécile says she strongly believes that diversity is imperative. She says that especially in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, she worked hard to focus on her own understanding of privilege and bias. “One of the hardest things I did as a leader was to have a conversation with my team, make myself vulnerable, having a very open conversation about race, what it meant to all of us,” she shares.

 

As far as advocacy goes, she says she tries to encourage everyone to realize they can make a difference. “A lot of people react to affordable housing from a place of fear,” she says. “So please try to be an advocate when you can: don't be afraid to take risks, be willing to be uncomfortable.”

 

Overall, she’s proud of the work the bank is doing to help people and communities thrive. “The bank is doing quite a lot,” she tells Sam. “And I'm very, very proud to work for a firm that's committing so much to my passion in many ways. Building on our investments, we are helping drive inclusive growth by committing 30 billion, by the end of 2025, to a variety of programs that are meant to encourage economy growth and opportunities for Black, Latino, and Hispanic populations.”

 

“And that's the impact I'm hoping to have is to not just have been part of the status quo and deliver more projects,” Cécile concludes. “But to be part of the creative thinking on innovation to bring new tools.”

 

Full Transcript here 

Mentor Moment: Building your case to ask for a promotion

Mentor Moment: Building your case to ask for a promotion

October 20, 2022

I have been in my role for a while and I'm interested in being promoted. How should I talk with my manager about this and what do I need to do to prove that I'm ready for the next level?"

Women on The Move host, Sam Saperstein, discusses what you should consider when asking for a promotion at work.

 

Full transcript here 

Blindish Latina founder talks smashing disability stigmas and making workplaces more inclusive

Blindish Latina founder talks smashing disability stigmas and making workplaces more inclusive

October 13, 2022

Catarina Rivera is on a mission to let people know it’s not just OK to talk about disability—it’s imperative to take action. Here she sits down with Women on the Move host Sam Saperstein to discuss her journey as a person with a disability, a successful entrepreneur, a public speaker, and a DEI consultant.

Spreading awareness and smashing disability stigmas

Catarina tells Sam that she’s Cuban and Puerto Rican, and grew up in Maryland speaking Spanish as her first language. She started wearing hearing aids as a toddler and was diagnosed with progressive vision disability called Usher Syndrome at age 17. Using a white cane to help her navigate the world, she graduated from college and started her career with Teach for America as an elementary school teacher, teaching bilingual education. Later she moved into nutrition and public health, earning an MPH degree and transitioning into roles in nonprofit organizations throughout New York City, focusing on food justice work, community engagement, and capacity building.

In 2020, Catarina started her Instagram account @blindishlatina to share her story as a proud disabled Latina woman. “I started Blindish Latina because I wanted to see someone like me out there in the world,” she recalls. “I wanted to put myself out there as a professional, disabled Latina woman. I wanted to represent my story and create awareness among non-disabled people. It is said that knowing just one person of an identity group reduces prejudice and bias. So I wanted to be that disabled friend for people who don't have anyone in their life that's disabled.”

Catarina says her goal with Blindish Latina is to raise awareness and help everybody become a disability ally who knows how to take action on behalf of disability issues. “I want people to look at the world and realize that if they're nondisabled, their world is not my world,” she explains. “It's not the same world for disabled people and it's not okay to just leave it how it is. It needs to be accessible, whatever your capacity is. Whatever your scope of influence is, you can make a difference, whether that's at your place of worship or at work or in your family? How can you create more accessibility and inclusion for everybody?”

Inclusion in the workplace

As a DEI consultant, the workplace is one of Catarina’s prime focus. She’s invested in helping people understand that people with disabilities are invaluable additions to the workforce. For one, they have extensive life experience as problem solvers and innovators. “It takes a lot of energy to be disabled in a world that's not designed for us, not adapted to us,” she says.

Catarina has several simple suggestions for how to make the workplace more accessible. She tells Sam that her first goal is to make sure that a company is focusing on disability as part of diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Disability, she says, is absolutely a part of DEI, but it's not always seen that way, and it's not always prioritized. She notes that while there are more than a billion disabled people worldwide, 79 percent of disabled employees do not disclose their disabilities to HR. “There's a lot of people that are in the workforce and you don't know that they're disabled as well as another group of people who might not know themselves that they're disabled,” she ways. “All of this to say that in the workplace, disability needs to be talked about, there needs to be real inclusion built from the leadership standpoint.”

Often, she says, companies focus on accommodations—but that’s not enough. “That's actually the bare minimum,” she tells Sam. Catarina emphasizes that to her, disability inclusion is strong when an organization has thoughtfully built inclusion and accessibility into every stage of the employee and customer experience. “The work has been done and employees don't have to ask for everything that they need,” she notes. “This means building in a lot of flexibility and choice and designing with accessibility in mind from the beginning.” As an example, she says, organizations can offer different ways during the hiring process for candidates to demonstrate their abilities—not just verbal interviews, but also a live activity or actionable task.

She says she’s both hopeful for the future and has high expectations: “I would expect to see openly disabled executive leaders. I would expect there to be representation. I would also expect to see that accessibility is a mandatory part of all design processes, whether that's the design of an employee team-building experience or the design of a new product.”

 

Disclaimer: The speakers’ opinions belong to them and may differ from opinions of JPMorgan Chase & Co and its affiliates. Views presented on this podcast are those of the speakers; they are as of October 13th , 2022 and they may not materialize.”

 

Full transcript here 

Two Chase leaders talk building company culture amid accelerating change

Two Chase leaders talk building company culture amid accelerating change

September 29, 2022

What’s the key to successful leadership in times of fast-paced change? To Jen Piepszak and Marianne Lake, co-CEOs of Chase Consumer & Community Banking, it includes focusing on the customer and building and maintaining strong company culture. In this episode, the two leaders take the stage with Women on the Move Host Sam Saperstein as part of the sixth annual WOTM Leadership Day.

As co-leaders, Marianne and Jen have split up the Consumer & Community Banking umbrella: Marianne runs consumer lending and connected commerce, and Jen heads up banking businesses and wealth management. Jen tells Sam that their successful partnership is built on a lengthy experience of mutual trust, respect, and friendship. And while they’ve split up the responsibilities, they spend a lot of time collaborating on issues that make all experiences easier for customers.

“Be the CEO of whatever you’re running”

When Sam asks Marianne about the traits she looks for in leaders and managers, Marianne shares that for her, this includes putting the customer first and communicating clearly with the team every step of the way. She says that being the CEO of whatever you’re working on includes understanding and focusing obsessively on customer needs and putting the customer—internal or external—at the center of all decision-making. “Oftentimes the best way you can obsess about the competition is obsessing about the customer,” she says.

Once a leader has clarified their focus, Marianne says communication is key. “Whatever you have defined as success for your business or endeavor, you need to communicate it clearly, consistently, and often because people in the team can get behind what they understand,” she tells Sam. 

After that, she says, a keen attention to the data analytics is necessary: She recommends being very disciplined about showing data-driven decisions that people can understand. “Jamie [Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO] has said often and I agree with him: data analyze, rinse, repeat,” she says. “It takes the emotion out of decisions.”

Building and maintaining culture

Jen and Marianne discussed one of the largest changes they’ve managed over the past 18 months—the sudden move to remote and then hybrid work, which the company continues to pilot and test. Jen says that there’s a difference between the initial fast-paced move to remote work versus what flexibility will ultimately look like going forward. She notes that the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on women and that the flexibility coming out of it will likely have a disproportionately positive impact on women as well.

“I think it was extraordinary what we were able to do in a weekend really, turn our entire workforce into a remote workforce,” she says. “I do think that we have proven that you can maintain culture in a remote environment. We have yet to prove that you can build culture in a remote environment. And so I think having an office-based culture is incredibly important to this company for a very, very good reason.”

Jen and Marianne both agree that while remote work offers valuable flexibility, the in-person experience is critical to establishing team relationships and ultimately building culture and trust. “And I think that is a huge motivating factor for anyone,” Jen says. “In person, you have that opportunity to build that culture. And yes, you also have that opportunity to take a little bit more time to work through an issue or solve a problem, or run next door to Marianne's office and say, what do you think about this?”

Full transcript here 

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