Don't let that mild-mannered executive headshot fool you. JP Morgan Chase's diversity diva Patricia David is a firecracker: blunt, confident, funny, and brilliant. An engine of efficacy, her mind and mouth sync at 120 mph, the requisite speed for success in the fast lane of high echelon financial management. David's signature 'take charge' style evinces with a lack of pretention and a surfeit of humor as she explains her disciplined method of management in her friendly New York City accent.
"I'm in a job where I could easily misuse my function. I don't misuse my function," she said. I could easily spend my time going to dinners, giving out lottery-sized checks."
As a champion for excellence in corporate diversity, David doesn't play. "I take my role very seriously." David also doesn't hide behind corporate policy. "I'm not one of 500 accountants. My way is the way, my voice is the voice."
David came to JP Morgan Chase in 2010, and looked around. "When I joined this company, I asked, 'what have we got?"' David saw room for improvement. "We needed more deliberate communication so that employees didn't experience things differently." There needed to be a more level playing field. "There needs to be a de facto standard. We needed a more organized structure so that employees could experience the same thing. Comes a point where there should be a baseline." She had to find a way to get through to managers by speaking their language, the argot of success.
"Telling managers we need to include women and minorities isn't a strategy, that's a tactic." All in all, David is pleased with the receptiveness to her message. "The reason I enjoy working here [at Chase] is this company is very mature, this company is constandy looking for a way to do things better, and that's what I do. I explain all day long what I do so people can feel it in their own stomachs. It's about human capital. If someone comes to work and is not 100% engaged, you get 'drag'."
David asks managers the right questions: "In hiring, do you follow a process? How involved are you in the people process? These are questions put to managers overseeing teams of 2,000, and they start taking notes, and saying, 'Oh my god! I got to get to work!"' David feels the effect. "They love it because it's thought provoking."
David's official title, Managing Director and the Global Head of Diversity for JP Morgan Chase, implies a certain detachment. In fact, as this conversation...