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Thasunda Duckett

CEO, Chase Auto Finance

New York, NY

If you give all of your energy, commitment and passion to your life, you will almost certainly have a fulfilling professional and personal life journey.

In March 2009, I was in a dual leadership role in the Mortgage Banking division of JPMorgan Chase. I was the Director of Affordable Lending and also Channel executive for Bank Branch Integration. I enjoyed the responsibilities and each day faced new challenges as the home lending landscape changed dramatically. Additionally, I was the mother of a two-year-old and my husband and I were eagerly anticipating the birth of our second child.

Later that month, I was asked to assume the role of Region Sales executive for the Northeast.  It would be a significant career change in that I would move from a corporate position to direct oversight of a multi-billion dollar originations role. I would also be leading a sales force of over 800 mortgage bankers and managers who serve hundreds of thousands of customers.

At this time I was six-months pregnant, which caused me to question my ability to balance two young children, a new role and expansive responsibilities, all during the height of change in the mortgage industry.  Was this something I was prepared to take on?

After careful consideration I realized that this was an incredible opportunity, and even though the timing may have been unexpected, I had to jump at the chance. During my career I had worked hard and consistently assumed new positions that would let me hone my analytical and strategic skills. I felt that this was now my time and, with the support of my husband and many colleagues, I accepted the role.

In the weeks before my leave, in addition to my new responsibilities, I had to build a tight operational framework so that my managers would be able to lead the organization and meet aggressive business goals during my absence. I believe that if you outline clear expectations and provide a roadmap for your team that includes goals, metrics and needed tools, then they will be able to lead with confidence.  The plan worked and I continued to serve in the role for 2 years.

Taking this risk gave me great confidence in my abilities and deepened my comfort level with taking chances. Following this role, I became National Sales Executive for Mortgage Banking.  In February 2013, I was announced as CEO of Chase Auto Finance. I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to run a major business unit, and oversee all functional disciplines supporting one of the country’s leading providers of auto financing. I believe that all of the experiences and knowledge that I have gained has prepared me for this career milestone.

I am a better mother and partner because I am living my passion and able to be a strong role model for my children. I encourage all to prepare for the opportunity that may be around the corner. Embrace it and bring all of your energy, commitment and passion, and you will certainly have a fulfilling professional and personal life journey.