Questions to My Mentor: Q&A with JPMorgan Chase’s Vivian Young and Eileen Viray Alcones

By Eileen Viray Alcones, San Leandro Community Manager and Vivian Young, Global Head of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs

You were recently appointed the global head of JPMorgan Chase’s Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. What led you to this role?

This is a newly created role at JPMorgan Chase. A year ago, I had no idea that this job was an option! I’ve always had an interest in diversity initiatives at JPMorgan Chase and have been actively involved with our Business Resource Groups (“BRG”). Being part of the BRG’s leadership team prepared me for my current role. I formed a solid network of professionals across the firm to help me develop my strategy and prioritize initiatives.

We all face challenges during our professional careers. What kind of barriers have you had to overcome as you navigated your career?

When I joined the financial services industry, there weren’t many women role models and even fewer diverse women. Understanding how to navigate corporate culture was a challenge – learning the unspoken rules. I spent a lot of time observing the behaviors of my managers and peers: how to dress, communicate, even how to show up at a meeting! These were important skills that I didn’t learn in college. I had colleagues who taught me office culture, and this was foundational in my ability to grow and develop as a professional.

You’ve been such an important mentor and support to me during my career with Chase. Who has been a role model for you in your career?  

I’m fortunate to have so many role models along the way but I have to say that my parents are my first role models. They taught me to seek opportunities where I could thrive and do well and to live with integrity. These guiding principles have served me well both professionally and personally. So many people have helped me along the way, and it is important for me to give back. If I can have one conversation or give someone one tip that makes their life easier, then I want to do that.

What advice would you give to young professionals looking to grow and advance in their careers?

You don’t have to have everything mapped out, especially early on in your career. Be flexible and open to opportunities that may not seem like the obvious choice or logical next-step. Sometimes you’ll need to take a risk and try something new; make a lateral move or step-back in order to move forward. Also, surround yourself with people who have an interest in your development and success. Receiving constructive feedback is critical to growth and improvement.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As a Filipino, what does this month represent to you? 

This is a time to celebrate all Asian Pacific Islander cultures and highlight the contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to our Nation’s history. It is also a time of reflection and acknowledgment of our continued challenges. By shining a light on the issues, we will be able to provide solutions to help all communities in need.

I understand San Francisco holds a special place in your heart. Tell me about your connection to the community.

My husband and I lived in San Francisco for 4 years and it was an amazing experience. The Bay Area is so rich in diversity: the people, food, climate and culture! My favorite memories include spending time in the Ferry Building farmer’s market, skiing at Lake Tahoe, culinary adventures in Napa and Sonoma…and walking the hilly streets of San Francisco. I miss it and can’t wait to visit.

 

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