On October 4th, JPMorgan Chase hosted PowerHER San Antonio where over 150 women gathered to be inspired, connect and learn from each other. The event focused on creating an ecosystem for professional women across San Antonio’s disparate sectors to authentically connect.
Entrepreneurs, business owners and C-suite executives focused on the power of being genuine in both personal and professional capacities through a day filled with panels and workshops. Hosted at the historic Hotel Emma, the event fostered an open space where vulnerability was described as a superpower.
“PowerHER is a personal passion for many of us involved because we’re here to inspire and support other women,” said Monique McGillen, executive director and area manager for Chase Business Banking. “I was once a young single mom putting myself through school while building a career, and it’s not an easy life to multitask.”
The tug of war between personal and professional ventures was highlighted by Brooke Warren, vice president and banker at J.P. Morgan Private Bank and co-chair of the event, in a panel discussion about finding sustainability and resilience.
“Unpleasant times are pivotal in changing our path,” Warren said. “As I navigated the last years, I kept thinking of the bear hunt song from our childhoods: ‘We’re going on a bear hunt, can’t go under it and can’t go around it, gotta go through it,’” Warren said. “It became my defining mantra; however, I found that the struggle wasn’t just being resilient, but how we do it without losing parts of ourselves along the way.”
The entrepreneurial journey and its pitfalls, including strategies to make resilience sustainable for women.
Intentionally curating a personal board of directors with perspective to rely on for guidance.
Finding authenticity in both your personal and professional life, and building communication skills that lead to more meaningful conversations with families, coworkers, clients and investors.
“The aspect of self-awareness, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and knowing what you need can add clarity – not just for your vision, but for your business,” said panel moderator Preston James, founder and Chief Executive Officer of DivInc. He encouraged women to engage in these conversations intentionally.
Stacey Embrey Rubin, Ph.D., Chief Behavioral Health Officer at RiteSite Health, echoed the sentiment saying positive changes in entrepreneurial women creates beneficial ripple effects with those around her.
“When women are in power, there’s a more maternal and compassionate attitude towards sharing of success and collaboration,” she said. “Women heal themselves and look for ways to heal the world.”
Ashley Brueckner, managing director and banker at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, noted PowerHER was launched in March 2020, shortly before the pandemic. After its wild success in Austin, PowerHER became a national movement in 2023 hosted in Seattle, San Antonio and Denver.
“We work with female-powered businesses, from startups to publicly-traded companies, because we want to see women take leadership roles and succeed,” she said. “We want them to have a deeper network, more meaningful conversations and actual takeaways to help them tackle obstacles that get in their way. Our firm is committed to supporting women because they will look for ways to build a better community for everyone – that’s what women do.”
As women continue scaling the professional ladder, it can cause them to feel lonely at the top, a sentiment shared by both panel speakers Peggy Rubenzer, Whataburger’s Chief People Officer, and Rosa Santana, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Santana Group.
To prevent that, participants were encouraged to create a support system of leaders, which was underscored by Michelle Yeh, managing director and market executive for Technology and Disruptive Commerce at J.P. Morgan Commercial Banking.
“Who do you surround yourself with when you need to make the toughest decision in the room? Who can you rely on?” she asked. “You have to be focused on navigating adversity in a sustainable way but you need to be laser-focused on curating a personal board of advisors who during critical times will offer you support.”
To close the day, JPMorgan Chase’s Meredith Hopson Beaupre, managing director and region manager for Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, joined keynote speaker Ash Beckham and Andy Brock, managing director and head of J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Central Texas, on stage for a thought-provoking authenticity exercise.
“Showing up as our most authentic selves within our personal and professional lives can sometimes be difficult, and is often uncomfortable,” Beaupre said. “The willingness to open up and be vulnerable is a big step towards forming honest and real human connections.”
Other panelists who participated in San Antonio’s event included Mandy Barton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Barton Logistics; Elizabeth Johnson, owner and chef of Pharm Table; and Somer Baburek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hera Biotech.
As part of its commitment to support women entrepreneurs, JPMorgan Chase made a $500,000 investment to three San Antonio nonprofits to expand opportunities for underserved businesses and create jobs in the market: greater:SATX Regional Economic Partnership, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and MassChallenge; all three organizations have placed an emphasis on assisting local women in business.
To learn more about J.P.Morgan Private Bank in San Antonio, visit the online webpage or call 210-841-7074