SPONSORED CONTENT – Sacramento native Deneva Shelton has been a community leader working in the financial services industry for almost 20 years. Starting out in the Welfare-to-Work program, Shelton first learned how to best navigate the system to be able to help people in the local community who don’t have the resources to reach their financial goals, whether it’s starting a business, becoming financial healthy, or buying a home.

As the new Community Manager in Sacramento for JPMorgan Chase, Shelton‘s goal is to provide the local community with access to the tools and resources that are available to help them.

“Growing up in Sacramento, I’ve seen a lack of awareness among the local community for some of the tools and resources out there to contribute to their success,” explained Shelton. “Expanding that knowledge base of what’s out there and helping them learn more about what it takes to make their goals a reality really drives me.”

Here, Shelton shares insights around her version for her new role, the impact it will have in the local community and existing financial barriers and opportunities she’s seeing.

  1. Can you share what your mission and vision is in your new role as Sacramento Community Manager for Chase? I’m a Sacramento native, born and raised here and care deeply about the community. These are the people I see day to day, I pump my gas next to them and go to the grocery store with them. It’s important to be engaged in the community, look around and do your part to help. My goal as Community Manager for Sacramento is to help close the wealth gap. Sacramento is very diverse, yet financial gaps are still present and at the forefront in the community, especially for the Black and Hispanic and Latino communities. The goal of my role is to help people of color reach that next level of financial success – whether that means the unbanked has banking options, opportunities to correct credit, or providing guidance for purchasing a home and investing in the market.
  1. How will this impact the local community? When you look at statistics pointing to the fact that the majority demographic in Sacramento will be mostly minorities, what would it say about Sacramento’s economy if they’re not thriving? If we’re unable to close wealth gaps, it will have major implications for Sacramento’s overall economy.
  1. How did you get started in finance? Completely by accident. I went off to college and came back with a baby instead of a degree. When I looked into getting a stable job to support my family, I landed in banking as a teller.  When I first started, I didn’t have a car and had to take the bus, bringing my daughter to daycare, each and every day. There were opportunities for me along the way to finish my degree in marketing and communications and later achieve my MBA. After nearly 20 years of working as a Teller, I was able to see the disparities between certain communities very clearly. The wealth gap was apparent and drove me to more community based roles, leading me to work at JPMorgan Chase as the local Community Manager.
  1. Where do you see financial barriers and opportunities for the local community? Primarily, I see a number of consumers not knowing what to do with credit. There is a lack of education in knowing how to utilize credit, knowing how it works and opportunities to access capital or a credit card to build credit. I’m also seeing a lot of income disparities. When you’re not comfortable with your finances, that can be a stressor leading to wealth disparities as well.
  1. What will you do next in your role? Listen. My job is to constantly listen and pay attention to local nonprofits and other organizations that are already making an impact in the community, to provide them with additional support. I’m here to listen to the local community and identify what we need to do to help close this wealth gap. I recently joined the board of Salvation Army and have been working with them on programing. I am also working with local ethnic chambers to provide them with additional support.

A year ago, JPMorgan Chase announced our $30 Billion Racial Equity Commitment to help close the racial wealth gap among Black, Hispanic and Latino communities. To date, we’ve deployed or committed more than $13 Billion, driven by homeownership refinance and affordable rental housing preservation. The five year commitment includes lending, equity and direct funding to help increase sustainable homeownership, expanding affordable housing, supporting small business growth, improving financial health and access to banking and building a more diverse and inclusive workforce. More work needs to be done and I’m excited to help bring some of those solutions and educational opportunities to the local community.