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Empowering Veteran Business Owners For Nearly 150 Years
The McKindra family believes in two things: service and community. That’s what led Commercial Banking Managing Director, Alex McKindra to West Point, the Air Force, and now JPMorgan Chase. Here’s how he honors his family legacy by helping to empower veteran business owners.
From his years of service in the military to his current role as a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase—where he helps former soldiers build their own businesses—Alex McKindra Jr. is a veteran success story.
And his story has a long history, tracing back through generations of his family in the small town of Union Chapel, Arkansas.
Generations of Mentorship
In the late 1800s, McKindra’s great-great grandfather, Reuben Frank McKindra, moved his family to Union Chapel, a town originally settled by freed Black slaves.
Working on their family farm, the McKindras made a name for themselves by demonstrating their resourcefulness and aptitude for hard work. Namely, the family utilized mentorship programs, as well as public and private funding, to not only start but grow—and grow—their family farm.
Amid the success of the family business, the McKindras never lost sight of the support they had been given—and the importance of passing it on to others in their community and society. Generations of McKindras have dedicated their lives to the military and, subsequently, to their communities when they returned home.
“I would not be in the position I am today if not for the opportunities that mentorship provided,” says McKindra. “The farm my family was able to start, through the support and mentorship of others, has helped to educate and put clothes on every generation of my family since the 1880s.”
Paying It Forward
McKindra chose to honor his roots by following in his ancestors' footsteps and joining the military. He graduated from West Point in 1993 and then completed a tour of duty serving as Captain in the United States Air Force.
Armed with the life experience and knowledge he gained from the service—and a freshly-minted MBA from the University of Southern California—McKindra dove into the world of corporate finance. Quickly building a reputation for his intelligence, reliability and kindness, he rose through the ranks. Today, he works as a Managing Director for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking.
Amid his own success, McKindra’s also wanted to help those who—like his great-great-grandfather Reuben—had risked their lives for the country and were now seeking to put down roots as civilians.
At JPMorgan Chase, he continued to advocate for veterans, ultimately becoming co-lead of JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking's veteran initiatives program, alongside Army veteran Terry Hill.
Currently, McKindra and Hill are working with JPMorgan Chase and Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit, to build programs to help veteran small business owners. Together, they created CEOcircle, a 13-month mentorship program that is tailored to help mid-size, military-connected companies grow. Through this program, veteran business owners and their families gain access to the guidance and resources they need to succeed, including education, networking, and one-on-one financial mentoring from JPMorgan Chase advisors. The program empowers businesses that will support military families for generations to come—businesses like the McKindra farm.
The new program launched nationally last year and will welcome its second cohort of 80 military-connected businesses this November.
“If my great-great-grandfather were here today, I would want him to know that what he built didn't just support our family, it also instilled the values in us that would seed the acceleration and growth of hundreds of other veteran-owned businesses in the future,” McKindra says. “I know he'd be proud of that.”
In the past decade, over 16,000 veterans and service members have transitioned their military skills into civilian careers at JPMorgan Chase. Through our programs and initiatives, our goal is to position military members, veterans and their families to thrive in their post-service lives. Learn More.