Gibson-Stevenson wants to be ‘positive change’
Gibson-Stevenson wants to be ‘positive change’
Romanda Gibson-Stevenson, JP Morgan Chase’s first community manager in Rochester, is focused on helping the bank do its part to close the racial wealth gap.
Her hiring earlier this year is part of the bank’s $30 billion Racial Equity Commitment to drive inclusive economic growth among Black, Hispanic and Latino communities.
“I want to be a positive change in the community,” said Gibson-Stevenson.
In her role, Gibson-Stevenson provides financial health resources, workshops and information to minority communities throughout Rochester, increasing access to critical resources.
She is initially focusing on the 19th Ward, Beechwood, Upper Falls, Lyell-Otis, Genesee-Jefferson, North Marketview Heights, South Marketview Heights, Mayor’s Heights and Plymouth-Exchange, which is where she feels the resources are most needed.
Serving as a local ambassador for JPMorgan Chase, Gibson-Stevenson is building and nurturing relationships with Rochester residents, community leaders and nonprofit organizations. The goal is to drive inclusive economic growth for community members.
In collaboration with these groups, Gibson-Stevenson will host regular workshops — free of charge and open to the public — that focus on a wide range of topics like building a budget, saving for a down payment and credit health while finding the right products and services to support individuals’ financial health goals.
Gibson-Stevenson is a Rochester resident and previously served as Community Development Manager for the City of Rochester for 13 years.
Financial health isn’t always associated with more income, she noted.
“Getting the right education is important to understanding how to utilize money and watch your finances grow,” Gibson-Stevenson said. “That’s why it’s so important to collaborate with neighborhood leaders and organizations to break down economic barriers and support the success of our customers and our community.”
Since taking the job, Gibson-Stevenson has been listening to a variety of stakeholders about the company’s needs and has partnered with organizations on several community events to address those needs, including helping to spearhead a job fair in the 19th Ward and giving a presentation on financial literacy to students at the ITECH Training and Education Center.
Other upcoming efforts Gibson-Stevenson will lead include homeownership workshops to help build generational wealth, as well as events at the bank’s regional branches to increase trust and inclusivity, especially among those in underserved communities.
Chase piloted the community manager program in 2019 in Harlem and expanded it nationwide in 2020 following George Floyd’s murder as part of its multi-billion-dollar Racial Equity Commitment.
Since then, the bank has added roughly 150 community managers across the country.
There is an extensive search process in each location for the position to make sure a person with the right background and skills who can make the deepest community impact is chosen.
Each community manager then goes through a three- to four-month training period before they begin hosting events for the public.
Bank executives said Gibson-Stevenson is the person to get the job done in Rochester.
“We understand fully supporting our customers’ success requires a commitment to supporting the community’s success,” said Michelle Doreen, Chase market director in Rochester. “Romanda’s passion, energy and expertise will help us bring Chase’s resources beyond our branches with the goal of increasing financial wellness and breaking down economic barriers.”
In addition to her job with the city, Gibson-Stevenson has worked in senior leadership roles with SUNY College at the Brockport Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, the New York State Department of Labor and SUNY Empire State College.
Gibson-Stevenson has a master’s degree in Management from Roberts Wesleyan College and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from SUNY College at Brockport.
Beyond the new leadership role for the firm in Rochester, JPMorgan Chase is investing to drive inclusive economic opportunity among communities of color.
Last year the firm invested $150,000 to the Rochester Area Community Foundation to support the Rochester Financial Empowerment Center’s Financial Coaching Program.
Through the program, clients with Section 8 housing vouchers receive financial coaching and access to homebuyer grants to help them on the path to home ownership.
Sekou Kaalund, head of Consumer Banking, Northeast Division at JPMorgan Chase, said Rochester is critical to the success of the bank.
The financial institution employs some 250 local workers and operates 23 area branches. The bank has made more than $1 million in philanthropic investments in the region over the past year.
“We’re bringing in local leaders who know these communities inside and out and are committed to empowering everyone throughout Rochester to take charge of their financial futures and succeed,” Kaalund said.
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