Throughout the year Out & Equal aims to elevate diverse voices, stories, lived experiences, and perspectives—in this blog and across the work we do. In this issue of “In Conversation with…” we sat down with Chris Mossiah (they/them), Executive Director Consumer & Community Banking, and Brad Baumoel (he/him), Global Head of LGBT+ Affairs, both from JPMorgan Chase, to discuss Transgender Day of Visibility and the work they’re doing every day—as individuals and as leaders—to ensure progress for transgender and gender expansive people in our workplaces.
Chris and Brad, please tell us about yourselves and your roles at JPMorgan Chase.
Chris: I am an out nonbinary and queer Executive Director here at JPMorgan Chase. In my day job, I am an Area Product Owner of a digital design system where I manage all of the teams and the prioritized work to enhance and maintain the product. In my passion job, I wear a few hats. I am part of the Tri-State leadership team for our PRIDE BRG and contribute to our Global Technology LGBTQ+ Community’s Talent & Acquisition pillar. My most important passion job is being the co-chair of our Gender Expansive Council, a group focused on supporting and advocating for our transgender and nonbinary employees.
Brad: As the global head of LGBTQ+ Affairs, I lead a global, full-time team dedicated to driving equity and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community, internally and externally. I’ve been with JPMorgan Chase for 30 years and have been deeply involved with our LGBTQ+ community since I came out as a gay man at work 25 years ago. Now in this fully dedicated role, I’m working to fuel equity and inclusion, globally, where LGBTQ+ employees, clients, customers, and communities can truly thrive.
Brad, why is trans/nonbinary-focused work so important and/or critical to the larger DEIB objectives that you have/that your company has?
Trans and nonbinary people are an integral part of our global community and a critical component of our workforce. Creating more professional opportunities for gender expansive talent and an environment where our trans and nonbinary colleagues can truly belong and feel safe being their authentic selves means we’ll get their very best and we’ll benefit from having a more diverse workforce. Yet far too many trans and nonbinary people don’t have equitable access to jobs, aren’t sufficiently mentored and sponsored to advance in those jobs. Many who do work, are often not open about their status at work. It’s not because they don’t want these things, it’s because there are still systemic issues of acceptance and inclusion that we must solve. It also isn’t enough to encourage people to be open at work if those same people must choose between being open and being safe or being open and being employed. It isn’t enough to encourage people to be open, if doing so pauses, or even worse, eliminates career opportunities or ends their career progression. When one part of our community experiences mistreatment or discrimination, we all suffer.
Brad, how are you partnering with Out & Equal in support of those goals?
Two years ago, JPMorgan announced our $1 million investment in Out & Equal’s work to further trans equality and develop trans and nonbinary leaders at work. Since that time, our funding has supported increased access and representation for transgender, nonbinary and other gender expansive ascending leaders through the Diverse Leaders Fellows programs at Executive Forum and Workplace Summits. Out & Equal also launched their trans and nonbinary peer networking and engagement groups, bringing in participation from over 280 community members which focus on supporting the development of mid-career professionals. Along the way they’ve developed additional resources to further support workplace inclusion for the gender expansive community.
But, even with all this work, we’ve barely scratched the surface.
While some trans and nonbinary folks may receive some support, most ultimately hit a ceiling, while many of their cisgender peers continue to thrive. We’ve heard clear calls for more support at all career stages, but particularly for trans and nonbinary leaders with executive aspirations and on an executive track. Most professional development work for this specific community has been broad and unable to be tailored to senior leaders, simply because that talent has not been as visible or has been overlooked.
In response, this year, JPMorgan Chase proudly announced the launch of the Trans and Nonbinary Leadership Circle. Part of our multi-year commitment to the Trans and Nonbinary Leadership Initiative, this convening of out trans and nonbinary executives and ascending executives, will provide series of professional development, networking, and skills-building sessions, coupled with visibility and storytelling opportunities leveraging Out & Equal’s platforms.
Chris, how has being out at JPMorgan shaped your experience? What support and resources are available to you?
Being out allows me to be my authentic self at work, which is so important to my productivity. It also enables me to expand my network beyond those in my day job to those affiliated with my passion job. I’ve become a mentor to others that are out, which is so fulfilling. Both our PRIDE Business Resource Group and the Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs offer extensive resources and networks of support for those in the community, those that are allies, and those that are family members of LGBTQ+ folks. These resources offer a sense of community that can be so important for those that need support, feel alienated or alone.
Chris and Brad, what is needed at the individual contributor, DEI office, and/or company levels to ensure that progress toward greater equity for trans and nonbinary employees is achieved?
Chris: As an individual, please educate yourself and show up, use your voice where it is needed. For the DEI teams, normalizing pronouns is a major priority, as well as creating advancing inclusive health benefits, and training and development opportunities for trans and non-binary employees. For companies, pay attention to who isn’t in the room and put them there. How many trans or nonbinary executives does your company have? Demonstrate your support by investing in community organization that are making a real impact on the lives of trans and nonbinary people.
Brad: I echo everything Chris said. We can’t do this alone. To create a truly inclusive and safe world for transgender and gender expansive people, we need everybody to engage and take on a role. The more visible allies there are, the easier it will be for trans and nonbinary people to identify as who they are, access equal opportunities and thrive.
Brad and Chris, on March 31st we celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility, a day where communities come together to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of transgender and gender non-conforming people. How can we ensure we show up for our trans and nonbinary colleagues year-round, and do you have a call to action for your colleagues?
Brad: I need my fellow cisgender leaders to take an honest look at themselves and our allyship. Are we fully invested in and fully supporting our trans and nonbinary colleagues? Are we expanding our networks? Are we creating opportunities for visibility and advancement? If any of us are not, identify what’s stopping you and remove those barriers starting today!
Chris: My call to action is use your pronouns—in your signature, in your phonebook, and in your introduction. Pay attention to the lack of trans and nonbinary leadership and help leaders along in their career journey. Pay attention to microagressions aimed at your trans & nonbinary colleagues. Our community is under attack in many areas of the globe. Simply showing up and making just one person feel seen can have a big impact.