Empowering the Next Generation of America’s Leaders
Larry Holodak is one of more than 350 JPMorgan Chase employees who serve as mentors and coaches for The Fellowship Initiative
I met Ezekiel when he was 16 years old – through The Fellowship Initiative (TFI), a program created by JPMorgan Chase to improve education and employment outcomes for young men of color in economically distressed communities. We were matched because he specifically requested someone the opposite of him: older, white, and with eclectic tastes in music. We immediately hit it off, and I loved getting to know him and his mother. While Ezekiel was always smart and passionate, I was a witness to his incredible growth during that time. As he progressed through TFI, he became more thoughtful and purposeful in the way he expressed himself. He also learned the value of clearly communicating his vision, collaboration and being solutions oriented.
I’m honored to have mentored Ezekiel and see the hard work he put in to create his own pathway to college. But around the world, too many young people are being left behind because they do not have the connections, skills or resources needed to succeed in school or work. One-third of the world’s 1.8 billion young people are not engaged in employment, education, or training.footnote 1
Mentors can help bridge those gaps.
Young people with mentors are more likely to engage in extracurricular activities, take on leadership roles, and go to college. In fact, young adults who have a mentor are 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. Despite these benefits, about 1 in 3 young people grow up without a mentor.footnote 2
Sure – mentorship takes time, but it can change the trajectory of a mentor’s life as well. Being able to see the world from Ezekiel’s perspective has challenged me to listen and act differently. During my time with Ezekiel, I learned that I need to consider the whole person – their experiences and environment before immediate reacting. It’s coached me to listen differently to those around me – personally and professionally – because it’s not always about me solving all the problems, but sometimes just being there to listen. This makes me a more effective employee, coworker and leader.
I was drawn to TFI because mentors have played an important a role in my life. My hope was that I could have an impact on the trajectory of someone’s life by sharing my successes and failures. What I didn’t expect is the impact on my life. I’ve been mentoring through TFI for over eight years now and I’m not alone.
Through JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to building skills in communities around the world and investing in programs like TFI, hundreds of employees are volunteering to help young people explore careers and build skills. And using the company's most important asset–talented employees around the world–to advance economic opportunity is one of the most important things that we do.
About the Author:
Larry Holodak is the senior program lead for compliance and serves as the internal New York market champion for The Fellowship Initiative at JPMorgan Chase
- Goldin, Nicole. Toward Solutions for Youth Employment: 1 2015 Baseline Report. (2015). International Labor Organization. Retrieved from