Will Bachman 00:01
Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host Will Bachman. And I am so excited to have Sam Saperstein. On the show today, she’s a managing director at JPMorgan Chase, who is running the women on the move program there. Sam, welcome to the show. Thank you. Well, it’s great to be here in chat with you. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. We knew each other when we were on the same floor and McKinsey ages and ages ago, and really excited to explore what you’re doing with women on the move. And you know, this important topic of helping women thrive professionally and start businesses. Give us the overview of what women on the move is all about, and what JP Morgan is working to do with this initiative.
Sam Saperstein 00:50
Sure. So JP Morgan Chase has a DNI or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group now with seven different segments or communities under it. And I run one of those, which is called women on the move. And really what all these are trying to do is provide more resources and access to the people in their communities. And for me, in particular, I focus on three areas. One is helping women in business. And that is that includes women who have small businesses all the way up to women in large public companies. My second area of focus is around helping women with their financial health and making sure they have strong financial literacy skills. And the third area of focus is to help our own employees and make sure we’re getting women more women into the company, we’re retaining them, and helping them get more senior level jobs. So it’s a really nice blend of internal and external activities. And I love the fact that I can help women across all these different areas.
Will Bachman 01:50
Well, let’s go through each one of those. I’ll start with number one. So women in business, maybe we started a little fact base for us, what are some numbers like percent of businesses that are started by women, or just give kind of give us a little bit of a fact base of the current state?
Sam Saperstein 02:05
Yeah, so women, and especially women of color are starting businesses faster than any other segments. But overall, we see in our data, and this comes from our JPMorgan Chase Institute data, that women have businesses with slower revenue growth, and lower revenues overall, but they tend to stay in business just as long as businesses run by men. So they have the longevity there that they don’t necessarily have the size or the growth. And we think in part, that’s because they don’t tend to have access to financing early on in their businesses the same way that male founders do. And even when they do go out there and fundraise, women often ask for less, and they often receive less in funding. And I think everyone is very familiar with the stats that at least in the venture capital, part of the industry, for financing, only about 2% of financing goes to women or women run teams. So we’re starting with a very low base. So we know it’s a problem. And we’re really just trying to bring attention to that and help women founders with that financing piece. But we do other things, too. So the other things are around providing them access to content and really building some of their business aspects out that they might need help with. And so one thing we did last year, during the pandemic, was put out a digital suite of tools free for anybody where people can really go deep into cash flow management, because that’s an area that even before the pandemic was critical for businesses, but certainly it was last year. And so a lot of these tools just help women understand, you know, how do I get more cash in the door? or prevent more cash from going out the door? How do I make sure I have a stable cash position right now. And so that was something we thought was really important and was a real pain point we had seen in the research for female founders.
Will Bachman 03:58
Yes, certainly, it seems to me that in business school, they don’t emphasize so much cash management typically has this more corporate perspective. But when you’re running your own small business, you realize that it’s more important than profitability is being actually having oxygen in the bank. Tell me a little bit about the tool says it looks like this, an Excel kind of tool or some kind of tool for
Sam Saperstein 04:23
Yeah, they’re really simple like that. So you can actually look and make a cash flow projection for yourself over a year’s time by inputting your cash outflows and inflows, you know, on a monthly or quarterly basis, whatever, it’s right for your business, to really see the trends to see what’s happening to the cash through the year. And then there’s other supplemental things that you can do to see how you can improve your cash position for so for example, we have a vendor management analysis that really lets you look at what you might be paying for your vendors. And we heard from a lot of businesses that they might say vendor relationships early on in their business, but not necessarily go back and check on them or update them or renegotiate them over time. And so particularly last year, it was really important for everyone to understand what they were paying vendors, and could they do something differently? You know, could they maybe delay payments to certain vendors or renegotiate terms. And so that kind of tool really puts it all in front of you, and in a very visible way?
Will Bachman 05:25
What more can financial institutions do to make sure that women who are starting businesses, you know, have access to credit?
Sam Saperstein 05:35
I think the education piece is also really important. You know, what we’ve seen, I think, through the pandemic, too, is when folks really needed access to financing, a lot of times, they just needed to have their documents in order. And some small businesses didn’t necessarily have that, or they relied on accountants or others, and didn’t necessarily know where things were right away in one place. So the education of understanding your business documentation, having all your forms available is key. And then obviously, knowing what your financing partners could be out there, whether it’s a bank or some other entity. Now, understanding your different options is really important. So what we’d like to try to do is educate women across a spectrum of sizes, in terms of the kind of financing that’s available to them, and then really work with them on what the goals are for the business.
Will Bachman 06:27
So, you know, most, you know, most people have at least some idea of that there’s no personal credit scores out there that that’s important to maintain. But I think I mean, and I would include myself in the second group that understanding how you know, kind of business credit decisions are made, is a little bit more opaque to a lot of people. Do you have any tips or suggestions there? So for, you know, maybe one of them is yes or no, I’ve heard this, I don’t know if it’s a myth. But it’s a good idea to maybe before you even need it to try to get a line of credit from a bank. So you can start building a relationship, and you maybe use it and you make sure you pay it off. So that like you start showing that you’re in a responsible business with that, and so that you can grow that over time, because maybe it’s a little different than just a line of like the credit score, which is a little bit more, maybe impersonal, or just solely based on the numbers that when you’re dealing with a bank, it’s more about that, you know, building a trust with with it with a banker, and they know that your business and so forth.
Sam Saperstein 07:31
Yeah, I would definitely encourage people along these lines to at least have a relationship with a bank before you need certain things. I think what we found last year is that as many individual owners, you know, men and women, were trying to access the government’s paycheck Protection Program. Those who already had relationships, banking, relationships, lines of credit, just saw a lot of things happen more effectively and faster. So have that there in case you need it. You don’t necessarily have to borrow a great deal, but you should establish that relationship right now. And by the way, you know, trained professionals can just help you understand what the options are, you might not think you’re able to access those options, but you really might be over time. And I think a lot of women in particular are very risk averse, when it comes to taking on debt, but you might really see a need for that to help you grow the business. So understanding how debt might help you actually grow is important. And the other thing I would say is, you know, people are starting businesses, funding their businesses, making sure you have a credit card in the business’s name, you’re using it for business purposes versus having it in your personal name just helps you really keep things you know, better organized. And with a track record.
Will Bachman 08:48
You mentioned that sometimes women will ask for less, and then they get less. What are some resources for women to you know, find someone who can help advise them on, you know, how to sort of navigate this whole process, how to negotiate effectively, and so forth?
Sam Saperstein 09:07
Yeah, I would say there’s a number of different courses out there that could help women really understand how to pitch effectively, how to structure a pitch I didn’t seen in research, like from the Harvard Business Review, that many women will go into a pitch and get asked questions that might be perceived as more risk averse questions or defensive questions from investors, meaning, you know, what’s going to happen to your business if there’s a downside scenario, versus many men get questions around their businesses potential for growth, you know, more of those optimistic scenarios. So I think for for people really looking to raise money and go out there and talk to investors, understanding what kind of questions you might get ahead of time and knowing how to change that answer. So you’re really focused on not just the downside, but the upside, is how to get yourself kind of better position. Ultimately, for more financing,
Will Bachman 10:03
are there other things that financial institutions can do that maybe that you’re doing with your program to help more women even just be aware of the kind of possibility of starting a business, helping to demystify some of the steps to, you know, get an LLC registered or, or take care of the bookkeeping and all those other sort of administrative items.
Sam Saperstein 10:25
So we’re doing a lot more coaching now for businesses directly. And that coaching does not have to be necessarily tied to a specific product like alone, my team is actually going to start some one on one coaching with women later this year. And our bank at large is doing this now really focused on diverse founders in the black and brown communities. So we’re really excited about that. Because we don’t want people coming in feeling like, it always has to be a discussion around a product, or we’re pitching you on something, we really want to help businesses grow, particularly in these communities. So I would say find institutions that want to have these conversations in general to help you. And then for others, you know, there’s wonderful resources now outside of the banks, that are really helping look at much smaller entities. So if you have an idea for a product, for example, and want to build a prototype and just want to raise money for that, there’s some really interesting crowdsourcing platforms out there. One of them particular is for women, it’s called I fund women. And this allows people to raise money for a particular product, understand that, you know, a potential investor base and user base, and I love what they’re doing there to really help get people going.
Will Bachman 11:42
Let’s talk a little bit about the second major initiative you have around financial health and financial education for women. What are some of the gaps that you found? And what do you think are some of the root causes of that?
Sam Saperstein 11:56
So we’ve seen in the research, women tend to say they just don’t have the same level of confidence when it comes to managing their money, which is really interesting to me, because, you know, women and girls are still excelling in school, they’re graduating college with greater numbers of degrees, so there’s no reason academically, why they wouldn’t be just as suited to do this stuff as men. But we see even around the world that when women get into relationships, marriages, you know, partnerships, they often tend to give up that financial management to their spouses or partners. So over time, they take less of an active role in it. And so what we’re really trying to do is make sure women stay close to their financial situation, their family’s financial situation, because at the same time, they might be kind of peeling back from a day to day responsibility. They’re making so many decisions on behalf of their households, you know, women are the CFO, so to speak, of their households, to a great degree. And so not being involved in the budgeting, the savings or the investment side of things, you know, you’re just kind of giving that up, and not necessarily staying close to it when you need to. So we’re really trying to make this pertinent to women. And we found too, that women tend to approach money in a different way from men. So whereas you might remember these commercials, you know, where as some people might think they have to have a retirement number, or a goal in mind, you know, before they can retire. Women don’t necessarily think that way. That’s pretty stressful, to think you have to hit a certain number to be ready to retire. You know, instead, we really try to talk to women about what are your life goals? What do you want your money to do for you? Is that a comfortable retirement? We’re paying for a kid’s education, or another car, whatever it is, how can you use money to further your goals? And what have your own relationships done to money in the past? What did you learn from your parents from your upbringing, that you might not realize is having an effect on how you approach money? So we really try to take the numbers out of it strictly and make it more about your lifestyle, your needs and your emotional state?
Will Bachman 14:07
Yeah, that that resonates with me in terms of there’s a book by what’s his name? Morgan, can’t remember his last name right now, but about about money, and how much of it is really about storytelling and about your emotions? and managing money as opposed to just straight up like purely kind of purely numerical decisions, but it’s like, what is your relationship to money? What what are some of the very tactically what are some of the things that that your group is doing to help with that education?
Sam Saperstein 14:40
So the exciting part is we get to work with girls all the way to adult women. So when it comes to really teaching girls at a young level below college level, we work with a group called Girls Inc, which is a national nonprofit that serves girls around the country. And through the economic literacy work, they provide for reaching 10s of 1000s of girls in very early stages around, what is the budget? How do I think about my spending? What do I save for? How do I make sure I have early savings habits. And what I love about this is not only do we reach girls, we reach their parents too, because very often we’ve worked with the parents directly, or the girls will share what they do with their parents. So it gets us, you know, to the adults as well, then we’re also working with a number of colleges to really talk to students who might be out on their own for the first time, they might also be first generation college students not knowing about how to maintain or just manage their debt on college, and what can they do to really stay on top of debt over time. And then we work a lot, of course, with adult women who are independent or in relationships, or you know, just need tools to manage their finances. One really fun thing we did, pre pandemic and lasted into it is work with our retail bank, to really talk about an app that’s in our mobile phone, called auto save. And auto save is a feature that allows you to automatically move money from a checking account into savings accounts, and actually have goals on those savings accounts. So again, if your goal is to save for a vacation or try to put down debt, you can actually pull money into very specific goals. And we didn’t know once a pandemic started, you know, would women still be able to save, given what was happening on the job front. But it turned out, women kept signing up for this feature. And we had more than 1 million women sign up to start saving in this way. And it’s so powerful to do this, because the studies show that if you have an automated way of saving, where it takes money out of your account automatically, even in little amounts, you’re more likely to save, and to save more, because you’ve just forgotten about it, and it keeps going. So that’s just a tool that people can use. And I think a lot of institutions offer this, where people can really see the value of that. And we have to stress everyone here, you know, the good money management formula, which is save early because your money compounds, and it’s very important to have that growth, that compounded growth over time. So starting early, even if it’s small, is really critical.
Will Bachman 17:20
And that’s awesome. Totally a fan of that we we created a savings account for our kids when like as soon as they were eligible, I think was 10 years old or something. And, you know, just to kind of get them the idea of being in a bank and you know, sort of culturally almost introducing them to that concept of having an account and putting something into it right. Tell me but let’s go talk about the third thing. So what are some things that you’re doing more internally to help, you know, encourage the careers of women at JPMorgan Chase?
Sam Saperstein 17:55
Yeah, so there’s lots of fun stuff going on for employees. So when we started this group, we looked at our data internally to see where women were in our pipeline, meaning you know, what percentage of women was at every level from junior analysts all the way up to our managing directors, and like many industries, and certainly other banks, we noticed that while women tend to come in at more junior levels at about 50% of our employees over time, with each successive stage of the careers, we see women dropping out, and they’re not necessarily dropping out to stay home with families like that is a myth that we want to bust, they generally drop out to have other jobs, for whatever reason, maybe have, you know, fewer professional responsibilities as their home responsibilities grow, but they’re still working. And so we’re really focused on making sure we have women stay, and stay in their roles and stay progressing their careers, until more senior levels. So one of those really critical levels in our pipeline is the vice president level, it’s about mid career level, you know, with people anywhere from, let’s say, six plus years of work experience. And that’s where we see a fairly big drop off of women. But it’s still such a large part of the pipeline that if we can retain them there, then we’ll have a much bigger feeder into senior level roles. So we just rolled out a very specific program worldwide, for our vice president level women. And we really tried to anchor the work and the content around things they were asking us to do. So they wanted to learn about how do I assess my skills? How do I negotiate? How do I navigate a big company like JPMorgan Chase, and other communication tools? And so we started this program this summer, and we’re really excited about this because it was it was based on a need, and it was really based on very specific skills we could teach. Actually, one person who was very involved in the program is helping us on the good negotiations friends, is Katherine Valentine. Who? I think we both know. And I think Billy introduced us to. And Katherine’s a fantastic negotiations expert when it comes to women. And it was the first time we had really seen someone take that gender lens to such a critical topic. And so we’re very excited to have her come in and work with us.
Will Bachman 20:20
That’s awesome. Yeah, Katherine was a recent guest on the show, she’s a friend and delighted that, that she’s working working with you on this topic. Some of the so it sounds like one of the areas is, is, in terms of structurally in terms of root cause it sounds like helping, you know, provide the skills around negotiation around, you know, being able to articulate, you know, needs, you know, in terms of the job to make, you know, so that the job can be structured such that, you know, the woman doesn’t feel that she has to go leave to somewhere else.
Sam Saperstein 20:57
Absolutely, no, we want women to understand that there’s different pathways, that if they’re looking to change jobs, or get stretched, or find different roles, that they have the skills that are transferable, and they can go in different directions. But I want to be clear, the onus is not only on women to guide their careers, I mean, for the most part, I would say any individual is responsible for their own careers. But the institution also has to play a role in really having a supportive environment for people of all types for making sure that we have the way we look at whether it’s promotion or compensation that we’re doing things equitably. And that’s where I’m really proud of all the work we’ve been doing, really across all of our HR processes on hiring and promotions and, and pay to make sure that it is fair for women and for minorities. So it’s a two way street. And I’m just happy to be able to play a role facilitating both sides. Yeah.
Will Bachman 21:58
What would some examples be that where it’s helpful to have that kind of negotiation or training or the ability to, you know, have a discussion about structuring the role is it you know, in terms of, like, what would some examples be that, you know, women who have gone through this and gain the capabilities would be better, better able to, you know, express themselves or make sure that their needs are addressed?
Sam Saperstein 22:27
Well, one key, I would say, time that you want to negotiate and this would be true, really, for everyone is when you’re going into a new job and accepting an offer. Because the studies show that women do not tend to negotiate salaries as often as men do. And they leave a lot of money on the table as a result of that. So anytime you’re going into something new and you have an offer, before you’ve accepted that, you should think about negotiating what that offer is. And that could be compensation. It could be other things, it could be some flexibility, it could be vacation, it could be something else that you need, but you should ask and you should be prepared. And the way you get prepared on things like that is to first of all know what the job generally gets paid in the market. And second, you know, know your own worth. Companies now in several states are not able to ask you for your prior salary history. And that’s really important, because that means you do not have to be pegged to the salary you had in the past, you should go in and ask for what you think you’re worth and what you think the market would bear. Because very often, that will get you a higher salary. So if they’ll come away with anything they should realize, like you must negotiate those offers before you take them.
Will Bachman 23:42
Yeah, so to your point, I mean, be prepared. It’s important to, you know, talk to people in the industry and build relationships with people and kind of similar roles. That’s mean, that’s certainly the guidance that I give to independent consultants in terms of setting their rates. It’s connect with other independent consultants that are sort of at the same level of Zoo have similar backgrounds. So you know, what other folks are charging? And generally, you know, I found that people are pretty open and willing to share. So, yeah, you’re kind of just educating yourself about what’s the going market rates. So you have that info?
Yes. And there’s tools out there and platforms, you know, Glassdoor, even just talking to your peers now. And by the way, I’ve heard this one which is also very good, especially for women. Don’t only talk to your female colleagues and peers, you have to talk to the men to because they might get beat, they might be paid more than you are. And you should really understand you know what anyone is getting paid for the job you plan to do
Will Bachman 24:40
is so important. And for in the consulting world, for listeners of this show, definitely I recommend going to the Charles Eris AR is their website, they do an annual compensation survey for management consultants. And that’s super helpful just to kind of get a sense of what consultants at consulting firms are making as well as consultants once they’ve left one of those firms what what sort of an average salaries are based on that tenure? So a good resource beyond beyond Glassdoor and just talking to other folks, I guess you can look, you know, traders research salary surveys for your particular industry. Other tips on preparing for those sorts of conversations?
Sam Saperstein 25:27
Yeah, I think you want to really make your value known and be very explicit about that. So are you bringing certain skills to the table? Have you gotten certain things done? That is important to a new employer? know, what is it that you will actually drive and if you can put that value in terms of what the company hopes to achieve? And how you’re going to make it very real? I think that helps to make just a really compelling argument. And in the end, you know, if you don’t ask you don’t get so you just have to go out there with as much confidence and boldness as you can, knowing that they might not meet you all the way. But they might give you more than your original offer.
Will Bachman 26:05
Yeah. And if they never say no, you’re probably not asking for.
Sam Saperstein 26:09
Exactly. That’s always a bad feeling. And people say right, that they wish they’d gone in asking for more Oh, snap,
Will Bachman 26:15
they just said yes to everything. Right. What How do you define success in with women on the move? So, you know, we talked about three initiatives like so how do you any kind of objective goals that you have? Or? or How would you know, if you’re successful?
Sam Saperstein 26:33
So on all those areas, we’ve set very specific metrics on the projects that we’re trying to implement. So that could be your number of people that we’re training, for example? Or what’s happening to the people that we’re training, how can we look at their progression over time and see where they have moved to. So we get very specific with numbers around, you know, who we’re reaching what we’re doing, evaluating these programs, and we take feedback basically, on, on everything that we do. So it’s a combination of those quantitative and qualitative metrics that help us judge if we’re successful, you know, and a lot of things that we do are really changing people’s minds and moving the culture and our societal norms, that sometimes I know I’m successful, when I get calls from a lot of male executives at the company, and they say to me, you know, I just want to retain my good female talent, I don’t want them to walk out the door. That, to me, is the best reason that I could hear for why anybody wants to help women, you know, it’s not only that they have a daughter or a wife or a sister who works, but that they understand that the talent issue. So that to me, is a real measure of change.
Will Bachman 27:48
Yeah. On that note, what what are some suggestions that you have and guidance to men who are listening to on how to retain women and make sure that their needs are being addressed?
Sam Saperstein 28:03
Thank you for asking that question. This is one of my favorites. So we do a lot of things with men in our organization, we have groups around the band called men as allies, where we really engage men directly in this discussion. And I would say there’s a few things they could do. And right now, I’m talking about senior managers. But I think there’s things that everyone can actually do to, you know, if you’re a manager in a position where you’re hiring, and you’re promoting, and you’re thinking about people to give assignments to take a very good look at number one, what is the feedback that you’re giving to your team? Is that feedback fair and consistent for everybody? And is that feedback? what I would call performance driven? Meaning Are you telling women especially how they could be better at a job with an outcome, and not just giving them feedback around their communication skills, or their people skills are something that we would consider softer skills or skills having to do with executive presence, because those are very vague. And they reinforce a lot of the cultural stereotypes we have of leadership, particularly being male. So I would ask you to look at your feedback and make sure it’s it’s very focused and actionable. And second, you know, take a look at who you’re sponsoring, and who you’re mentoring and who you’re spending your time with, in terms of developing them. And ask yourself if the people tend to look like you? Do they have the same background as you for the most part? Or are you really trying to get out there and cast a wide net of diverse talent that you’re managing? No, often we gravitate toward people who look like us are very familiar to us. But it’s really these other folks out there who need your help. So pay careful attention to that. And you know, if you’re even a junior man on a team, maybe you’re not a manager, yet, you can still do things to improve the culture around you. You can still engage your female colleagues, your black and other people of color colleagues around What do they feel about? What’s going on? What are their perspectives, both professionally and personally, right now? Who are you having lunch with? Who do you stop to get coffee with, make sure you’re really open and inclusive, to a large number of people. And again, not just people who look like you.
Will Bachman 30:19
To your point about mentoring, something that you you hear a little bit about, but is some men might be concerned, particularly with the me to movement and so forth, of just, you know, just being a little bit cautious about mentoring women, just, you know, for perception reasons, or being, you know, concerned that they might, at some point, you know, get in trouble for that. So, it might just be a little bit more cautious on on the margin. How do you address that it might even be unspoken by a lot of people, but how do you kind of address that concern, and, you know, encourage men to, you know, provide those sort of mentoring relationships, and get them comfortable with with that.
Sam Saperstein 31:09
Yeah, I think it’s such an unfortunate side effect, if men, because they’re too scared, you know, won’t mentor and coach women the same way, it’s just a horrible outcome. And I really, really would encourage people if they are afraid or feel like they’re going to adopt that stance to kind of question what they’re really afraid of. And I would say this, you know, if you’re afraid of doing anything with a woman, whether it’s having a conversation behind closed doors, or going out for a drink afterwards, then don’t do it with men either. You know, you have to treat everybody equally. So if you’re more comfortable having lunch in an open space, and you’re more comfortable with your door open talking, that’s fine. But do it the same way with men too. You just can’t show preference to one group over another, you know, women really, really need support of men. And they’re not going to get that support if men are too nervous at this point to do the right thing for them. So just be very consistent in your approach.
Will Bachman 32:06
Yeah, no good rule. Treat treat. Men and women the same. If you’re like that approach, we should mention that you have a podcast women on the move, where you cover many of these topics and interview folks. Tell us a little bit about if people want to learn more about the work that you’re doing, where would you point them?
Sam Saperstein 32:29
Yes, thank you. So our podcast is called women on the move. It’s out there on Spotify on Apple, you know, on the major podcast platforms. And what we try to do is really talk to speakers around all of these themes that I mentioned about entrepreneurship and growing businesses around financial health, and absolutely around careers and leadership and growth. And so we’re able to speak to a number of women all over different sectors and industries, about their experiences, their learnings. These are CEOs, entrepreneurs, financial health experts, and many of our own employees at JPMorgan Chase. So if you’re interested to learn about the bank and its culture, you can hear a lot from internal folks. But what I love about this is that everyone has a unique story. And everybody has a different approach to things so you can really learn how they approach problems and building businesses in a very authentic way. So it’s a lot of fun to be able to do that.
Will Bachman 33:29
Yeah. And there’s also a link with a ton of information about the program, which will include in the show notes. Sam, this was fantastic. Love the work that you’re doing. Thank thanks so much for being on the show today. Thank you Well, it’s a pleasure.