The ingredients for success

November 19, 2018

If you were born on third base, don’t make the mistake of thinking you hit a triple — as the old critique of the 1-percenters goes.

You’ll be more successful if you recognize and appreciate the shoulders upon which you stand. Plus, people may actually like you.

On today’s cover, we feature a Houstonian who has become one of the most powerful women in banking, Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of JPMorgan Chase Consumer Banking.

Her humility is refreshing. She was not born on third base, and she’s hit a home run.

“I know growing up what it’s like to not have your lights turned on,” she told Texas Inc. “I know what it’s like to have your parents get the first set of furniture when we moved to Texas, and then we got robbed and we were back sitting on cartons. I would wake up and have Christmas presents, but then they would be up at night writing. They were trying to balance it all out after they made that sacrifice to give us toys.”

Research shows children born into poverty are not likely to hit the ground running by the time they reach kindergarten. And once behind in kindergarten, they’re all the more likely to fall behind in first grade, perpetuating the cyle.

Most of the world’s people are not even born in the ballpark. Think about how far you would have made it if you’d lost the location lottery — born in a region with little economic opportunity. Many of us are not so much smart as we are lucky.

Duckett has not forgotten the challenges she’s faced. Whether it’s helping Hurricane Harvey victims or improving financial literacy nationwide, she knows and appreciates that she is in a position to help people ascend the rungs of the socioeconomic ladder.

This is not charity or philanthropy. This is good leadership and good business for Chase — which is one of the biggest banks in the world.

We at Texas Inc. feel richer for having met her, and we hope you’ll enjoy her insights, too.

Please let me know what you think of Texas Inc. Share your thoughts for business and economic stories you’d like to see covered. Your comments and questions are always welcome at al.lewis@chron.com and @tellittoal.

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