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Sekou Kaalund, MPP ’99

Sanford Alumnus Sekou Kaalund has more than two decades of Wall Street experience and currently leads Consumer Banking at Chase for the Northeast Division.  In simple terms, he oversees 1000 bank branches in five regions with 10,000 employees, millions of customers, and $350 billion in deposits and investments. As  context, if his division were a standalone, it would be the equivalent of the 4th largest bank in the country. 

Before assuming this significant leadership role, Sekou tapped into his policy background to launch JPMorganChase’s Advancing Black Pathways (“ABP”), the first global corporate initiative that leveraged a data-driven strategic framework to develop scalable programs to reduce the racial wealth gap. The program focuses on three pathways to economic success — education, wealth, and careers — in order to address systemic challenges facing black people. The success of this initiative—which included hiring thousands of black students, providing millions of dollars in capital to black businesses, and reaching over one million individuals with financial health content—led to a historic five-year firm-wide $30B commitment to advance racial equity.

Prior to leading Advancing Black Pathways, Kaalund held several leadership roles in JPMorgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank, but no matter the job, he maintained his passion for impacting communities. Whether serving on non-profit boards or  working to create more inclusive growth, Sekou has built on an interest that he had since writing his Duke master’s thesis on charter schools in North Carolina.His thesis research helped him recognize that “talent is created equally, but opportunity is not and, more and more, opportunity is shaped by factors you don’t have control over,” Kaalund said.

“I have always felt a responsibility to make an impact, and my current position, I have the ability to create opportunity for communities,” he said. Sekou’s career success has resulted from him bringing together his quantitative skills, business and policy expertise, relationship-building skills, and, most importantly, the understanding of how to solve problems and affect outcomes, he said. 

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