Jamie Dimon Walks the Talk: Leadership Development

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JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon wrote a personal letter to his shareholders, noting...

"Times like these reinforce that our employees are our most important asset - they are fundamental to the vibrancy and success of our company. Excellence in everything we do - from operations and technology to service and reputation - depends upon the abilities and character of our employees."

So true. And yet how many leaders and companies actually operate based on this thinking? It’s been a shock to the country that the lowest paid, most compromised workers are actually the most essential – the store clerks who stock the shelves and cash us out, the delivery folks who bring us food so we can stay home, the cleaning crew at the hospitals, the teachers who care for our kids more hours a day than we do, the bank employee who fills the ATM. We are dependent on all these employees and workers for our quality of life, the life of our children and in some cases, our survival.  Yet we don’t treat these “essential” employees as if they are essential with pay, healthcare, benefits and support. If they were tech workers, they would have onsite child care, provided meals, laundry services, phone and computer support, and so much more.

In times like these, the truth of a situation often becomes visible. It is laid bare by the crisis and shows us exactly where we have not been walking our talk. If you are one of the leaders who has said “Our employees are our most valuable asset”, now is the time to check if you are treating them as such. It’s easy to make this statement. It’s much harder to actually make it true.

Ask yourself

  • “Am I treating my team as if they are the most important asset of the company?”
  • “Do my employees know that they are the most valuable asset of the company by the way they are treated?”
  • “What am I holding as most important?” “
  • “What needs to change so that my words and actions are in alignment?”


Jamie Dimon is considered one of the best CEO’s of our time. My guess is that he is walking this talk. 20 years ago when the coaching industry was just emerging, I was already teaching Coaching Skills for Managers at his company. We went on to teach the same coaching skills to front line customer support folks as well. Why spend money on this? Because when the company really does treat employees as their most valuable asset, that alignment is visible to customers. If you are treated well, you naturally treat others well. And that directly impacts business success.

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Lori Mazan

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Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

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Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
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Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

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