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Meet Four Women Leaders Helping to Build Ohio’s Future
JPMorgan Chase believes that investing in women is an investment in a stronger, more inclusive economy.
Women in the US contribute trillions of dollars to the economy each year in paid and unpaid labor, but systemic and societal inequities limit their opportunities to enter the workforce in high-paying careers or to start and run businesses.
JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to improving opportunities for women is particularly evident in Ohio, where the bank has more than 20,000 employees, has committed millions of dollars to women-led organizations and champions opportunity for women across the state by supporting women-owned businesses and community initiatives.
Below, read about four women leaders whose work is making an impact in the community and helping to fuel economic growth in Ohio.
Corrine Burger, Managing Director, Columbus location leader at JPMorgan Chase
When Corrine Burger was an undergraduate in the honors accounting program at The Ohio State University, most of her classmates were male.
“As a woman in a predominantly male undergrad program, I dealt with imposter syndrome. I wondered if I was qualified to be in the program” she says. “So I sought out a group of female role models and mentors. They gave me the confidence to excel.”
Burger joined JPMorgan Chase predecessor, Bank One more than thirty years ago as an internal auditor. As the company grew, she moved into corporate accounting, where she embraced advice she received from a female colleague. “She told me, ‘Take chances. Be open to exploring stretch opportunities that are totally different than your current responsibilities.’”
Acting on that advice, Burger raised her hand to join the due diligence team vetting JPMorgan Chase’s acquisition of Washington Mutual. The largest savings and loan association in the U.S., it had been seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the throes of a financial crisis that shook the markets and the economy. She was part of the team that “ran to the fire” to lead the critical work that was necessary to stabilize the situation and calm the fears of customers who—literally overnight—became Chase customers. The success of the work changed her career trajectory.
Today, the Canton, OH native is a managing director and the Columbus location leader, overseeing one of JPMorgan Chase’s largest employment hubs. That’s in addition to managing a huge “day job” as chief control manager reporting directly to the firm’s CFO, Jeremy Barnum. She serves as the face of the firm in Central Ohio, lending her leadership insights to the boards of the Columbus Partnership, Columbus State Community College, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. And, for three years running, she has been included among the community’s Power 100 by local business publication Columbus Business First.
Burger is generous with her time and perspectives with interns and young talent to empower the next generation of leaders. She constantly emphasizes the importance of curiosity. “Have a voracious appetite for learning and observing. Recognize leadership styles from your managers,” she says. “I’ve benefited from great managers, but I’ve also learned nearly as much from those who weren’t so great.”
It’s the kind of advice that may inspire JPMorgan Chase’s women leaders of the future to excel, just as Burger has.
Tia Johnson, CEO and founder of Fresh Bloom Bins
On a sweltering summer day in Ohio, Tia Johnson went outside to take out the trash. What awaited her was revolting.
“I describe it as trash trauma,” she says, “I opened up the trash can, and there were flies. There were maggots. It was disgusting.”
When her son got home, she informed him that he needed to clean the bin. “He gave me all the teenage attitude,” she laughs.
Later that night, Johnson had a thought: It wasn’t just her son—nobody really wants to clean their trash bins. Suddenly, a battle over trash bin maintenance felt like a business opportunity.
“I got on the internet, I started Googling ‘cleaning trash cans.’ I was thinking that I was going to invent something,” Johnson says. To her surprise, she found a person in Florida who was building custom trucks that cleaned trash bins.
“ I just needed to bring the idea to the Columbus market,” she says.
From that idea, Johnson launched Fresh Blooms Bins in 2020. She purchased three specialty trucks that lift trash bins and dumpsters, clean them with high-powered, hot-water jets and then apply a biodegradable, fresh-smelling sanitizing solution.
Fresh Bloom Bins experienced a strong start, signing several local business clients.
However, shortly after she launched her business, the pandemic forced companies to close or go remote, and the market for regular bin cleaning dropped. Even as businesses gradually reopened, many stopped contracting Fresh Bloom Bins in hopes of saving money.
While looking for resources to support small, women-owned businesses, Johnson found JPMorgan Chase’s mentorship program for minority entrepreneurs, which provides educational resources on topics like cash flow, marketing and business growth, and one-on-one coaching.
She connected with Laura Gibbons, a JPMorgan Chase senior business consultant, whose counsel served as a lifeline for Johnson during that turbulent period.
“The program allowed me to really take a step back and just breathe,” Johnson says.
It also helped her gain clarity and craft a plan. Among the insights that she gained from the program, Johnson highlights the importance of knowing when to ask for help.
“As a business owner, you have to know when it’s safe to be vulnerable,” Johnson says. “Laura made it very safe for me to say, ‘Man, I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow.’”
Resolute in her efforts to keep her business open, Johnson pivoted and started marketing her services to homeowners and restaurants–finding new contracts to keep Fresh Bloom Bins afloat. She also discovered additional business opportunities, like the Women's Center for Economic Opportunity (WCEO) pitch competition, which elevates and empowers business owners and innovators who are women of color in Ohio. Johnson won first place, which came with a $15,000 grant, provided by JPMorgan Chase.
“As a young girl, I never knew a business owner,” Johnson says. “Back then, I thought you had to dance, you had to be a stellar athlete or, you had to be in the entertainment industry to build wealth.” Now, Johnson says she’s the only Black female in the Midwest who owns a trash can cleaning service.
Today, Fresh Bloom Bins is thriving. Johnson is responsible for several contracts and can seasonally hire between seven and 10 employees, many of whom are justice-involved.
Johnson recounts meeting one of her employees’ daughters.
“My daddy works for you?” The daughter asked. Johnson said yes. “So, you’re like the boss?” the girl asked. “Yeah, I’m the boss,” Johnson replied.
Later that day Johnson saw the daughter again. This time, she said to Johnson, “You think I can be a boss one day?”
Emphatically, Johnson said yes.
Courtney Falato, Vice president and program officer of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase
As a kid, Courtney Falato didn’t want to be an astronaut, or an athlete, or an actor. She wanted, more than anything, to be a meteorologist.
“I was obsessed with the weather,” Falato says. “Like, I had a very unhealthy obsession with cloud types.”
As a Blacksburg, Virginia native, Falato grew up near one of the National Weather Service offices and, during her senior year of high school, got an opportunity to intern there.
When it came time for college, Falato declared herself a meteorology major. But during orientation at her school’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, everything changed.
“I looked around, and I was in a room full of men,” Falato says. “I didn’t feel seen. I couldn’t see how I would work with these people who were not gravitating towards me. They were clearly gravitating towards one another.”
She walked out of the room and told her mom, “I’m not doing that. I don’t see myself there.”
Instead, Falato spent more than a decade in education research, focusing on STEM education and the barriers that can prevent women and minorities from thriving in STEM fields. After building and leading Ohio State’s corporate engagement office, Falato transitioned to her current position as vice president and program officer for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase.
She’s responsible for awarding grants to community organizations in Ohio and Kentucky. It’s a major role reversal. For years, Falato was a researcher applying for funds—now, she is a funder on behalf of JPMorgan Chase.
And, whenever possible, she funds women-led initiatives that boost inclusion and equity.
As an example: In 2022, the bank awarded a $1.5 million grant to support the creation of an equity design institute for women of color. Designed to empower Black and Latina women to develop and implement solutions to Columbus’s economic challenges and disparities, the initiative is collaboratively led by seven organizations, five of which are helmed by women of color.
“The portfolio that I want to build is about women in this community,” says Falato, who was recently appointed to the Columbus Women’s Commission. “How can we lean into making Columbus not just the Midwest capital for entrepreneurship, but the Midwest capital for women?”
Mallory Donaldson, Chief program officer of advocacy, public policy and information at the Center for Healthy Families
The YWCA is practically part of Mallory Donaldson’s DNA—her mother is the executive director of two YWCA locations in Northeast Ohio. During the summers of her childhood, Donaldson went to work with her mom every day at the women’s organization.
No surprise, then, that when Donaldson attended The Ohio State University as an undergrad, she found comfort in her local Y.
In her mid-20s, Donaldson participated in the Chase Gen Y Leadership Project, a yearlong program and joint effort between the YWCA Columbus and JPMorgan Chase, designed to train and empower diverse women in Central Ohio to become leaders in the region.
“I truly thought that I knew who I was before I entered Gen Y, says Donaldson. “I didn’t. It was such an eye-opening opportunity for me.”
In the program, she connected with women from a wide spectrum of professions in her cohort, “I saw a tapestry of women who truly impacted their industries, and I have lifelong friends through that program,” she says.
Today, Donaldson, is doing exactly what the Chase Gen Y program set out to do. In 2021, she became the program officer of advocacy, public policy and information at the Center for Healthy Families, creating social change for women and girls through advocacy.
“We advocate for girls, young women and gender expansive youth in all walks of life regarding everything from bullying to hair discrimination; bias discipline to incidents of domestic violence and child abuse; access to equitable education, transportation and housing. You name it — everything that you can potentially think of that our participants might experience,” Donaldson says.
In 2022, the Center for Healthy Families announced a new initiative, the Black Girls’ and Young Women’s Collective. The effort includes an internship component and an advisory council that is now composed of 25 girls and young women. In collaboration with the advisory council, Donaldson and her team plan events to meet the participants’ needs and amplify their voices.
Together, they have also created an event called Paint Your Mind, a mental health and wellness day that revolves around art therapy.
“We all gathered outdoors in the Columbus Commons for a beautiful day of painting and mental wellness,” Donaldson says. Her team partnered with Franklin County Children Services to bring in Black and Brown therapists who could lend an ear to girls who wanted to talk in-depth about mental health.
October 2023 will bring an even bigger event: Donaldson and her team are planning to host an International Day of the Girl celebration, with more than 500 girls between the ages of 15 and 24. The massive gathering is slated to include a host of events, including live music, photo booths, and a rally. There will also be breakout sessions, where the participants can learn about health, justice and education. The theme of the event will be sawubona, which is a Zulu saying that means “I see you.”
“It’s a big lift,” Donaldson says of planning the celebration, “But, gosh, is it worth it.”
The testimonials on this page are the sole opinions, findings or experiences of the speakers and not those of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. or any of its affiliates. These opinions, findings or experiences may not be representative of what all programs attendees may achieve. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. or any of its affiliates aren't liable for decisions made or actions taken in reliance on any of the testimonial information provided.