It was a transformative move when Marisol Rubecindo left Sidley and private practice in favor of a junior in-house role at JPMorgan Chase in 2009. Little did she know then that less than 11 years later, she would hold the position of managing director and legal chief of staff at JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest financial institution.
This places Rubecindo among a select group of Afro-Latina women who currently hold a senior executive position at a major bank or financial services firm. Minorities comprise about four percent of executive and senior-level employees at the nation’s 44 largest bank holding companies and savings and loan holding companies, according to a recent landmark report by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.
“Reflecting on my career journey has been quite overwhelming and rewarding,” says Rubecindo, whose parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic. “This milestone not only represents the culmination of a lot of hard work, but also the efforts of people in my corner who opened doors for me and supported me.”
Rubecindo was originally hired as a vice president in the government investigations and enforcement group within JPMorgan Chase’s Litigation team. She now supports the day-to-day operations of the legal department together with the firm’s general counsel and senior leadership team, focusing on department-wide initiatives and legal strategy. She also runs a small team dedicated to strategy and organizational effectiveness.
“I grew up in this department, and I am grateful for all the opportunities it has provided me,” she says fondly. “Among my current areas of focus is how to create similar opportunities for everyone. Basically, my job now is to give my opinion, which allows me to have an impact and influence over the future of our department and to better position the firm.”
A key reason she took the role was the ability to focus on the department’s inclusion strategy. “The firm is committed to having more diversity in its senior leadership ranks, and I am proud that more people like me are joining those ranks,” Rubecindo says. “These last few months, I’ve been supporting the department’s diversity efforts, which has really been focused on turning words into action. I do feel we have made progress in opening minds and creating real accountability.”
Rubecindo’s new role has its challenges, some due to the pandemic. Now that COVID-19 has curtailed in-person gatherings, Rubecindo says she is in the midst of planning a virtual event next year in place of the department’s senior legal leaders conference. “Normally, nearly 200 of legal’s senior leaders would meet in New York. Now, we will not be able to strengthen our relationships with each other through collaboration in the same way.”
The global nature of her job hearkens back to her time at Sidley, where she arrived as an associate in 2005. She was invited to join the law firm by partner Kevin Campion, with whom she had previously worked at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2003. She says she jumped at the opportunity, “Mainly because I really enjoyed working with him but also to continue my expertise in broker-dealer regulatory work. It was a phenomenal experience.”
Rubecindo is also grateful for the training and development that she received at Sidley, which she used to leverage into a career at JPMorgan. “Sidley gave me the legs to understand what it meant to support multiple clients and listen to their needs, as well as to provide legal advice on the private side,” she says, adding, “These things aren’t taught in law school.”
Sidley’s alumni network has kept her connected to former colleagues and introduced her to new ones. It was at an alumni event where she first met Sidley’s chief diversity officer, María Meléndez, with whom she discussed the significance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. “María wowed me with the work that she was doing at the law firm and in the legal profession and opened my eyes to ways I could support the diversity and inclusion work at JPMorgan Chase,” says Rubecindo. “She has become such a mentor to me in ways that she’ll never understand.”
Outside of work, Rubecindo serves as a member of the board of directors of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national civil rights organization that protects the civil and constitutional rights of Latinos throughout the country. “What motivates me is supporting my community and developing talented Latino and Black lawyers—it’s important as we think about the future.”
She is also mom to a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who inspires her to get up and do the best she can every day. “Ultimately,” she says, “I want to leave this world in a better place for her; I want her to see herself.”
Published September 2020
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