Silvana Montenegro, Advancing Hispanics & Latinos at JPMorgan Chase

By Gloria Romano-Barrera

Silvana Montenegro will never forget the first day she walked into the doors of the tall JPMorgan Chase building in Brazil. An ad at her university for an internship at the bank caught her attention. She applied and today, 24 years later, she is JPMorgan’s global Head of Advancing Hispanics & Latinos for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) organization. This brand-new leadership role for JPMorgan Chase provides a unified vision and strategy to advance the unique priorities of the Hispanic and Latino communities, aligning with the firm’s $30B racial equity commitment to racial and social equity.

Brazilian-born Montenegro was driven to have an international career from a young age as she was strongly influenced by her father, who often traveled to the states from Brazil.

“I always knew I wanted to have an international career to enrich my own experience and drive meaningful impact through my work,” she shares.

Silvana Montenegro (L) and Alba Baylin (R) at the 2021 USHCC National Conference in Las Vegas, NV. September 28, 2021.

For Montenegro, several individuals have influenced and made an impact in her personal and professional journey. Growing up her grandmother, a social activist who helped underserved communities, gave her a sense of wanting to make a difference. Her father, a successful small business owner, also inspired her as he was always committed to growing and bettering himself.

“His work ethic and determination served me very much to get me to where I am today,” she says of her father.

Mentors and sponsors have also made a difference inside the firm as they opened many doors in her professional journey.

“I think it’s a combination of personal experience and having strong sponsors and advocates within JPMorgan Chase,” she shares of her success. “I look at myself today knowing I am 100 percent Latina, Brazilian, and I also feel American because this has been my home for the past 20 years.”

(L-R) Naibe Reynoso, Dr. Betty Uribe, Silvana Montenegro, and Bel Hernandez at LATINAFest in Los Angeles. October, 17, 2021.

In her current role, she is serving a greater purpose of being a voice for Latinos and Latinas. She is passionate about developing talent, driving an inclusive workplace, and excelling at connecting the dots to deliver business results.

“Since taking this role five months, I think we are making positive strides in terms of presenting the holistic narrative of who we are as a community,” she shares. “We are supporting the first cohort of Hispanic students through our 2022 fellowship program and are working on building a more inclusive pipeline of diverse talent for people at all career levels.”

On a larger scale, Montenegro is making an impact by being a voice for the community, both externally and internally. She also doesn’t shy away from the fact that diversity and inclusion are important in the workplace.

“I don’t think we can be successful if we have people that think and act the same way, and don’t challenge each other,” she shares. “Diversity alone is not enough, we need an inclusive culture. For me inclusion is about the small things we do or do not do every day. We need to be ready to embrace different perspectives and experiences – this is where we have the biggest opportunity to lift each other up.”

Oscar D’León and Silvana Montenegro at the 2021 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Celebration in Las Vegas, NV. November 17, 2021.

Of her 24 years with the firm, she spent 17 supporting the Latin America business in various capacities, including as the Head of Latin America Talent, Diversity & Inclusion, leading the function from the ground up and laying a strong and sustainable foundation for the region. During her time supporting Latin America, she played a critical role in advising Senior Management on talent matters, in addition to leading key strategic efforts. A key example was the set-up of the JPMC Colombia office, where she developed the local HR function and practices, in addition to leading the recruiting and onboarding of over 30 new employees.

“I feel honored to work for a company that I’ve never had to leave,” she shares. “As I reflect on these 24 years, I never felt like I had to leave a part of me outside the door when I came to work, and I always felt like the company had my back. Through this role, I am uniquely positioned to help advance opportunities and career pathways for Hispanics and Latinos.”


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