Dedicating DE&I to LGBTQ+ and Other Underrepresented Communities

A Conversation with Brad Baumoel of JPMorgan Chase

In the first episode of the 2023 SIFMA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Podcast series and to honor Pride Month, SIFMA EVP and Head of DE&I, Cheryl Crispen sits down with JPMorgan Chase Managing Director and Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs, Brad Baumoel, for a discussion on the firm’s DE&I centers of excellence, in particular for LGBTQ+, and how they deliver impact for underrepresented and marginalized communities.

They dive into how the programs and initiatives strengthen internal culture and raise visibility into communities, which in turn enables employees to reach their fullest potential and deliver inclusive products, services, and advice for their clients and customers. They highlight how this has addressed the barriers to opportunities and access to resources that too many of the community face.

For more information on fostering and expanding workforce, client, and supplier diversity equity and inclusion, please visit


Edited for clarity

Cheryl Crispen: Hello and thank you for joining us for the latest episode in SIFMA’s DE&I podcast series. I’m Cheryl Crispen, Executive Vice President, and Head of DE&I at SIFMA. Today I’m speaking with Brad Baumoel, Managing Director, Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs at JPMorgan Chase. We’ll talk about the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and their efforts to recruit and retain diverse colleagues in the financial services industry. Welcome and thank you, Brad.

Brad Baumoel: Thank you so much for having me here today.

Cheryl Crispen: Before we dive into our discussion, could you share a bit about your career path as well as how you got involved in the DEI space?

Brad Baumoel: Brad Baumel, I use he/him pronouns. As of this year, 2023, I’ve been at JPMorgan Chase for 30 years. During my time here, I’ve held many roles across our lines of business that have been global and transformational in global finance, asset and wealth management, our consumer and community bank. However, I didn’t get involved in DEI related activities until 10 years into my professional career. That is because I was not out at work.

Before I came out at work, I was the opposite of my authentic self. I was a literal wallflower. For the first 10 years of my career, I was a kid in the corner with lots of great ideas, but I said nothing. I just put my head down and worked hard to get things done. I spent way too much of my time in my head processing everything that I wanted to say, filtering so that I wouldn’t out myself, and it was exhausting, and I know it held me back professionally. It prevented me from doing anything for our people.

Once I was finally able to break down those walls and live my truth and bring my full self to work every day. I really began to thrive in advance, and I also found out, surprisingly so, not so much, that all the things that made me special could be used as powerful tools at work. I quickly became engaged in what was then our DE&I agenda. This was 25 years ago. I joined leadership in our Pride Business Resource Group at the time it was called an Employee Resource Group. I began to pay it forward for everybody else. I was determined to bring other people who felt marginalized.

For me, it was the LGBTQ community with me on the journey- make it safer and easier for them to be themselves. Fast forward 25 years I am deeply engaged in DEI, which I sit in full time today, and I’m here before you as a global head of a business solely dedicated to driving equity and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community inside and outside of our bank.

Cheryl Crispen: Brad, that’s just an amazing story. Thank you for sharing, and I think other folks will either have experienced something similar, or perhaps it could be a guiding opportunity for them. As we move into our discussion, we talk a lot about our commitment to our industry to improving our D&I efforts, whether it’s through better recruitment strategies or training or striving for more diversity in senior leadership roles at our firms. How would you define inclusion in financial services? And then also, what are some of the things JPMorgan Chase is doing to create a more inclusive environment, specifically for the LGBTQ+ community?

Brad Baumoel: My definition of inclusion spans industries. I know we’re talking about the financial services industry here, but this applies everywhere across all companies and communities. It starts with having an inclusive culture. That can be at your workplace or in the communities where you live and that’s a place where everyone feels like they belong, that they’re safe. That they’re respected and that they have the opportunities and resources to achieve their fullest potential.

At JPMorgan Chase, we embed DE&I into everything we do. It’s in our DNA. We truly believe that our success here is directly linked to a diverse and inclusive culture, both in the firm and in the communities where we operate. This starts with creating an environment where all employees feel like they really do belong and that they’re part of something bigger, a community where they can bring their entire set of intersectional identities to the table and by doing so they can thrive. We take this one step further though.

We do it for our customers and clients and we do it to uplift the communities where we operate. For all these reasons, we established seven what we call DE&I centers of excellence and I run one of them for LGBTQ+. They are full-fledged businesses that sit in the business. And we take a unified and intersectional approach to delivering impact for underrepresented and marginalized communities. So, these, we call them COEs, they have dedicated full-time global teams. We’re focused on delivering programs and initiatives that strengthen both our internal culture of inclusion, but also raise visibility of our communities so that we can enable our employees to reach their fullest potential and deliver inclusive products, services and advice for our clients and customers.

For the LGBTQ+ community, we’re focused on addressing barriers to opportunity and access to resources that too many members of our communities face. It means at JPMorgan Chase, we’re ensuring we have best in class policies, health benefits for our employees, career development opportunities, mentorship, sponsorship. For clients, we teach financial literacy. And this is not just existing clients, this is prospects. We provide business coaching to entrepreneurs, and access to venture capital funds. We’re in our communities, broadly speaking, partnering with a vast network of strategic nonprofit organizations, who their mission in life is to support the most vulnerable members of our community. Ultimately, we have a responsibility to harness our business and global presence to help create greater economic impact for all people across these communities.

Cheryl Crispen: That’s great, and clearly JPMorgan Chase is in a place in their journey that has been a commitment for many, many years and will be a commitment for many years forward. It’s a continual journey. I wanted to just maybe touch on, for firms that are starting in the process or not as far along in the process in terms of the LGBTQ+ community and creating strategies for diversity, inclusion, and equity in that space. Any words of wisdom to those firms as they sort of are more beginning that journey?

Brad Baumoel: Don’t be discouraged that this is day 1 or day 10 or year 1 or year 5 for you, where others have been on this journey for 15 or 20 years. A step forward is a giant step forward. Start there. Start by listening to your people. That’s where we began our journey, 20 some odd years ago, we built our employee resource groups. Those groups were loosely configured back then, but we got them structured and we accomplished a great deal in 20 years through massive volunteer efforts across these communities. I think the backdrop of the strategy I lead today came from the work of that volunteer army across all our respective communities. We began more broadly looking at the big picture for these underrepresented communities, you know, several years ago when we made D&I central to everything we did. D&I has to be, eventually, you may not start here, but so much more than a series of events and fun activities. And many of those are centered around cultural moments or, you know, historical months.

It must be part of the way you run your business. And again, you’ll evolve this over time. I think one thing that helped us at JPMorgan Chase to take D&I to the next level was deciding D&I was a business priority. This means not only thinking about representation of your workforce, but also understanding how you can engage more materially and intentionally with your clients and customers, meeting them where they are. We also developed and implemented what we call our strategic DE&I framework, so that even though we’re seven centers of excellence, we are operating the same way.

We’ve got the same pillars of strategic delivery across all seven centers of excellence with objectives and metrics, controls and accountabilities enable us to measure the success of our programs and initiatives. We’ve put self ID front end center and many organizations are early in their journey on self ID, but if you don’t know who your people are, you can’t strategically organize your programming in a way that meets them where they are. So in over the last two years, we’ve in the LGBTQ+ community at JPMorgan Chase. We have exponentially increased our representation and a big part of that is getting people comfortable self-IDing.

In 2021, we increased self-ID by 50% year over year. We grew another 35% year over year in 2022 and are seeing record increases again in 2023. And this is both a combination of more intentional hiring, but having people understand that Self-IDing is not self-disclosing, unless here at JPMorgan Chase, you choose to be open at work, and that’s a question in our self-ID, where if you are, we can help you progress your career. At the end of the day, we’re all managing and executing DE&I priorities, like a business, with rigor, with intent, because we know that DE&I is integral to our long-term success.

Cheryl Crispen: That’s terrific and some really good examples and specifics for our audience. Moving now to leadership. A common reality is that we as an industry do have some leaders who may very much want to prioritize D&I at their firms, but maybe feel either unqualified or uncomfortable discussing it, or maybe just really don’t know where to start. I would love to hear your thoughts on how we can sort of move those individuals out of their comfort zones and empower them to utilize tools such as research data or internal resources to spark change and to really be comfortable with embracing DE&I as a strategy.

Brad Baumoel: Some aspects of DE&I can cause discomfort if you don’t understand, if you can’t immediately see yourself in a community that is different from you. But I would argue where there’s good intent and I think of gender as a space where even today, even in the role I’m in. I do still misgender people from time to time, but my intent is always good. I always catch myself and I always apologize, and it’s always so well received that we’re all intending on doing good for our people. What we need to do is get past that discomfort and part of getting past that discomfort is educating people. At JPMorgan Chase, we recently launched something that we’re calling our Ally Journeys. These are self-paced digital educational journeys that guide allies through three stages of allyship. It gives specific actions allies can take to learn how to become more aware, how to engage and ultimately over time how to advocate for groups that are potentially different from what they know and what they understand. People want to be allies, but they often don’t know where to start.

We in LGBTQ+ happen to have led the effort and have launched first. We don’t tell an ally, “Hey, you get a year to advance to the next level of maturity.” We also don’t tell them these are the ten things you need to do. We give them 50 and we let them choose, we give them their own timeline to do it and we assign mentors to them along the journey so that they are never alone in the process. Something else we’ve done is we’ve formalized education.

In the LGBTQ+ community, we have our basic 101, or building bridges training. We’ve extended that into trans 101, trans 102, non-binary 101, bi 101. We have all these basic, but meaningful courses that are either classroom based, where they’re really open and anyone can ask anything, they want. And we’ve digitized components of them to make them easy to self-study. So, we’ve also built a DE&I learning platform that people can go on to and enroll in coursework at any time. Being open to learning and listening is the first step to advancing inclusion across our communities.

Cheryl Crispen: That’s terrific, thank you for that. Our SIFMA Diversity and Inclusion Council is committed to enhancing diversity across our firms, but we do at times encounter some potential difficulties in sustaining that diversity and inclusion strategy. What are some tips that you might be able to provide to mitigate the challenges?

Brad Baumoel: We’re also facing a ton of headwinds in this space right now. But I would say stick with your gut and stick with what is right, which is treating all people fairly and creating equity for all. The clearest things that come to mind are you need to be able to demonstrate results. Results over time should be outcome based. So how did you uplift? The other thing that comes to mind is sustaining buy-in of both leadership, so these are our senior leaders and their direct reports and your people managers. It’s one thing for the top of the house to be saying, this is important, this is how we will succeed. It’s another thing for the people who are managing resources to act the same way, to walk that same walk. Both are critically important.

To be truly committed to DE&I, you need to demonstrate that you are consistently walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Showing the impact of your initiatives, and it starts with setting goals so you can measure your progress. But you also need to be able to tell stories of the ways your organization is living up to its commitments. And if you don’t have these stories yet to share, share the goals and actions you’re taking to achieve them.

You will also need buy-in from senior leaders and having this buy-in trickle down to managers is still critically important. We at JPMorgan Chase at least have complete support and engagement from the C-suite, our CEO, Jamie Dimon and his leadership team. Two of whom are active and out and members and champions of the LGBTQ+ community. With support like this at the top and having them trickle that down to their teams, it becomes a bit easier to embed into everything. They also need to be held accountable for walking the walk and creating space for their employees to engage and embed DE&I into what they’re doing.

Cheryl Crispen: That’s great, and to your comment on demonstrating results and progress, that’s one thing we have definitely heard here at SIFMA from our DEI council members, and the value that the survey we do on behalf of the SIFMA members, so that there’s a benchmark so that you can go back to your senior leadership and demonstrate progress year over year with hard data, and that helps tell us. a real factual story and then is additive to the more cultural stories. So looking forward, Brad, where are some of the next opportunities to advance DEI across the industry, sort of specifically for the LGBTQ+ community, or more broadly? Would love to get your thoughts on that.

Brad Baumoel: Our community right now is facing stronger headwinds than I’ve seen in my lifetime. And these headwinds are particular rly strong for the most marginalized parts of our community, such as our gender expansive community members and the transgender community in general. First and foremost, from a next opportunity perspective, we need more allies, and we need allies to be active, to not simply sign up and by checking the box, they’re doing their job, but to step in and engage. We need these both from the inside and outside of the LGBTQ+ community. For a long time, I thought an ally to my community was a straight person. What I didn’t realize, or embrace, was that I was an ally to so many others within the community because I had privilege that many of them did not.

We need to lean in much stronger, vocalize our support for the community and advocate for things like all the terrible anti-LGBTQ+ public policies that are being proposed and passed in many communities. We need to educate others on the negative impact that these policies are creating on our people and their families. We need to create more opportunities in the workplace for LGBTQ+ people to advance and ultimately to thrive. Increasing overall representation, as well as representation and leadership is another key area of opportunity.

Investing in and supporting our LGBTQ+ team members to become leaders and executives at some point, building strong LGBTQ+ leadership pipelines has a proven benefit. This creates engagement, job satisfaction, higher levels of morale. I think you said it before with your annual survey and they’re going to stay longer and they’re going to get into more senior level positions. And as people outside of your firms see and hear this, you’re going to attract even better talent and more of it.

Cheryl Crispen: That’s great and the data does show that, so thank you for that. Before we conclude, I just wanted to ask if you would like to share any other initiatives or programs that we didn’t touch on during our conversation with our audience.

Brad Baumoel: Remember, DE&I has to be a core ingredient to the design and execution of your business strategies. It has to be embedded into all core activities of your organization day in and day out. There are your products, your services, your support models. This is what we’re doing at JPMorgan Chase. I strongly argue that when you do this, your organizations and your communities will thrive. This is the center of all the great programming we’re doing for our employees, our clients, and our communities. I challenge you all to join me in this amazing journey of equity and inclusion. I really appreciate you having me here today.

Cheryl Crispen: Well, Brad, we really appreciate your time and very insightful comments and a great conversation. Thank you for joining us here at SIFMA. It was a pleasure talking with you. For those listening to learn more about SIFMA’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, please visit We thank all our listeners for tuning in and we hope you’ll join us for future SIFMA podcasts on this topic. Again, Brad, thank you so much. Thank you to our audience.

Brad Baumoel is Managing Director and Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs for JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Cheryl Crispen is Executive Vice President and Head of DE&I for SIFMA.