Pride is Paving the Way for Others
By William Kapfer
Head of Global Supplier Diversity
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
From the earliest age I can remember, diversity and acceptance had been ingrained in my family culture. My earliest memories are of working with people in my grandfather’s grocery store who were different than I was. Stocking shelves, making sandwiches and bagging groceries, I worked side-by-side with people from all walks of life. Throughout that experience, my grandfather taught me the importance of living one’s values—embracing and honoring all people, regardless of race, age, gender or sexual orientation. He enabled me to embrace everyone, including myself.
Completing college was probably one of the first major goals I set for myself. No one in my family had ever gone to college—and I was determined to be the first. I had my first taste of banking nearly 30 years ago. In 1987 I was recruited by First Interstate Bank of California to participate in a formal management-training program, which landed me a position in bank management. While working in this small-community branch, I was able to learn and understand more about the minority-owned, small businesses culture and the best ways to serve the unique needs of inspiring entrepreneurs.