Members Making a Difference: A Conversation with Kendee Ruark

Why is it important for you and JP Morgan Chase to support CIE? Why do you believe CIE is a good investment of time and money?

Supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion is a moral imperative.  It is simply the right thing to do. The pandemic exposed and amplified inequalities across our nation and the world.  As we work to recover from the pandemic, it makes sense that we work together to bring the economy to a better place for everyone. A more inclusive economy is a bigger economy.  Shared economic prosperity means more prosperity.  It’s a virtuous cycle.  We all benefit from an inclusive economy. The best ideas comes from a diverse and inclusive workforce.

What have you learned about yourself along the DEI journey?

I have learned that my leadership is essential to sustain DEI efforts long term.  I do believe this is why it is

important that the work of CIE starts with CEOs and executive leaders in Colorado.  The executive team sets the tone that DEI

is a priority and that collectively the organization will do the work.  I think another important lesson is that, as leaders, we have to recognize that everyone starts the DEI journey from their own place.  We all have different experiences in life and, as a result, people will internalize the value of DEI work differently.  It is important that we make space for courageous conversations.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Orchestrating sustainable DEI strategy has been challenging.  This starts with getting everyone on the team committed to taking ownership of driving DEI change.  This is not necessarily easy.  It is about culture.  Culture is shared basic assumptions that drive how people think and feel about an organization.  Culture is much more difficult to define and measure than business strategy.

What have you changed at JP Morgan Chase as a result?

We have leveraged data and insights that highlight the challenges to leverage our resources as a financial institution to direct capital and expand opportunities for Black, Hispanic, and Latino communities to build, sustain, and pass on wealth.  We announced a

five-year commitment in October of 2020 to advance racial equity and promote inclusive growth.  It includes lending, equity, and philanthropic capital targeted in key areas.  We have been focused on building long term, sustainable infrastructure to enable our firm to accelerate progress and reach more people.  There is still much work to be done, but this is a start.


Kendee is the Regional Director of Consumer Banking for JPMorgan Chase.  She serves the markets of Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Eastern Washington.

Kendee has 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, and 11 years of successful leadership experience.  She has a passion for creating customer-obsessed cultures, building top performing teams, and developing talent from within her organization. 

Kendee serves as the chair of the JPMorgan Chase Colorado Market Leadership Team, and she previously served as the Market Leadership Team DEI Council Chair.  She is on the board of the Downtown Denver Partnership, and she is also a founding member of Colorado Inclusive Economy.

She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in economics.

April 14, 2023