Alumni Changemaker: Sekou Kaalund
To honor our 40 years, we're celebrating our most valuable resource - our alumni - through 40 profiles highlighting their leadership. Next up is Changemaker Sekou Kaalund! He completed the 1996 Junior Summer Institute at the University of Maryland - College Park.
Forging Pathways of Economic Wellbeing for All
Sekou Kaalund embodies the values of leadership, wisdom, and success.
Sekou, named after the 1st President of Independent Guinea, shares that his first name means warrior and his second name means wise. He lives up to his name as he uses his wisdom to fight for the things he values.
Now a board member of PPIA, he has turned the opportunity it granted him into numerous corporate successes and civic contributions.
Beginning with winning a prestigious competition at Duke University where he attended graduate school and earned his MPP, he gained both insight and counsel that was instrumental in charting his course into financial services.
Valuing long-lasting relationships, Sekou was a natural fit for this field and soon held multiple leadership positions. He began at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then went on to spend 11 years devoted to JP Morgan & Chase where he came to manage many of the firm’s largest clients. By building trust over time, Sekou has acquired a wealth of mentors, supporters, and friends to which he attributes much of his personal and professional success.
However, it was his position as Head of Advancing Black Pathways at JP Morgan that gave him the chance to offer his skills and talents to a community in need. Here he worked to bring black people, families, and businesses to new levels of economic growth and stability.
“We have a unique opportunity to empower communities—with the resources and support—and build pathways for more promising horizons in education, careers, and wealth.”
In his newest role leading Chase Consumer Banking, he will reach millions of customers and tens of thousands of employees, and the influence of his leadership will continue to grow. But no matter what his role, his mission to help Black people get on a path to financial freedom holds steady.
His civic contribution has been widely recognized with notable awards from the Boys and Girls Club of America who chose to induct him into their Hall of Fame in 2011, the Harlem YMCA who chose him as the Black Achiever of Industry in 2012, the Council of Urban Professionals who honored him with the All-Stars Project in 2017, and the Westchester Clubsmen who chose him as the Business Executive of the Year in 2019.
Serving on a multitude of boards and councils, Sekou is committing to enhancing the human experience through transformative initiatives. This commitment to service has brought BBC, Forbes, NBC, CNBC, Black Enterprise, and Essence to feature his thoughts and voice on their platforms.
“In order for our society to continue to progress and be successful, we will need to ensure that people from all backgrounds no matter where they start, have an equal opportunity to finish where they want to be.”
He realized early on that in order to solidify ideas, innovation, and infrastructure funding would be needed. His experience and wisdom in the area of finance are but one aspect of his impact, however. His ability to motivate, create a shared vision, as well as understand and solve problems all work synergistically alongside his finance background to create stronger and more vibrant communities.
We celebrate you, Sekou, for inspiring and igniting success without borders! Your humble leadership and guidance speaks volumes to young African Americans as to what is possible and provides a solid pathway to get there. Your generosity of spirit and heartfelt wisdom is closing the racial wealth gap for future generations.