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3 Step Process to Get Exposure and Press Coverage for Your Business

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October 14, 2020 12 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We all want more exposure because that is the lifeblood of a successful business. 

Unfortunately, most people don’t earn anywhere near the exposure they want because they don’t know how and they don’t have a documented process to produce it consistently. They’ll dabble a little here and there, and when they don’t get the results they’re looking for, most will simply throw their hands up in exasperation and exclaim, “I guess this doesn’t work!” 

Today, I have both good and bad news for you on this topic. 

The good news is that it does work and you can do it. The bad news is that it will require a lot of work. There is no shortcut. But that’s true of anything worth doing, right?

Related: Checklist to Maximize Press Coverage for Your Business

In this article, I’m going to outline a three-step process that will help you to reliably and consistently build the exposure you need to build the business you deserve.

1. Demonstrate your expertise

People want to hear from experts. That’s why they’re constantly cited in the media. But it’s not enough to simply say you’re an expert. Anyone can do that, and many unqualified people do exactly that every day.

You have to actually demonstrate your expertise by creating original, useful content, which might include articles, case studies, videos, podcasts, or even short posts. 

It’s important to point out that in order to do this, you have to actually have real expertise in the first place. None of that “fake it till you make it” trash is going to work here. Sure, you might fool some people in the short term, but you’ll eventually get caught and cause long-term, irreparable damage to your .

Case in point — a few years ago, I saw a guy who was brand new to the SEO industry posting questions in a particular group of some of the most experienced SEO professionals. His questions were frequent and were consistently followed up with additional questions. 

We later found out that he was finding questions that people had asked in other SEO forums, getting the answers from experts in this group, and then returning to the forum to answer those questions as if the answers were his own. 

Related: 4 Innovative Ways to Get Media Coverage

People caught on quickly and because of that, most of the industry sees him as a charlatan. He will never have the opportunity to write for or be featured in any trustworthy industry publications, and without that as a stepping stone, he’s unlikely to earn any other media coverage. 

The right way to demonstrate your experience is by creating useful, and publishing it through multiple channels. This content can be any format, such as:

  • Articles 

  • Case studies

  • Original research

  • Videos

  • Podcasts 

  • Books

  • Social media posts

  • Webinars

The key is that your content should solve a particular problem for your . This might include an in-depth tutorial, explaining complicated industry terminology, or outlining a particular strategy or tactic.

Now you might be thinking “But Jeremy, if I publish content that tells people exactly what I know, they won’t need me anymore!”

Yes — some people will use the information you share instead of hiring you for your expertise, but the reality is that most of those types of people would have never hired you in the first place. But legitimate prospects who don’t have time to mess around trying to do everything themselves will be more likely to hire you, and equally as importantly, the media will be more likely to cite you. 

In both cases, this is because you have clearly demonstrated your expertise. 

2. Build the right relationships 

The right relationships can help you earn exposure significantly faster, on a much larger scale, and with less effort.

That’s because they can help a larger audience see your content by sharing it with their audience. After all, you could create the most amazing content in the world, but if no one sees it, it won’t do you any good. 

When it comes to creating exposure for your brand, the relationships you’ll want to build could include:

  • Industry peers 

  • Contributors

  • Editors

  • Producers

  • TV/radio personalities

  • Influencers 

  • Podcast hosts

The problem is that most people don’t put the time or effort into building the right relationships, and because of that, their requests and pitches tend to turn people off. The right relationships, however, can help to create more exposure in several ways. 

For example, assuming you’ve already built a relationship with some of your industry peers, asking them to share a piece of content or mention something you’re doing is usually a pretty low friction request. This can obviously help you to reach a larger audience, and it comes with the added bonus that some in the media may be following them, creating opportunities for even more exposure.

Related: An Entrepreneur Editor Shares How to Get Press Coverage for Your Brand

However, getting exposure from people in some of the other groups I mentioned, such as editors or producers, is typically more difficult for a variety of reasons, but the primary reason is that they’re constantly being pitched. 

It is possible to earn exposure from a cold pitch, but this is a skill that most people don’t possess, so it’s rare to achieve that. An effective cold pitch requires the right contact, a tailored, effective message, and a certain degree of finesse, which is why PR professionals invest years honing their skills. 

You can get around this by working to build relationships with some of these people before you need them. This means engaging regularly with them on social media, sharing their content, and helping them in other reasonable ways when you can. It’s important that you do not treat this as a transitional relationship.

Yes, this requires a significant investment in time and energy, which means most people won’t do it. It also means that when you do, you will stand out. 

But don’t approach it without a plan. 

It’s important to build a list of the people you want to build relationships with. This is a critical step because if you’re doing things right, there will likely be too many people to remember off the top of your head, and because of the algorithms on social media, you probably won’t see them in your newsfeed regularly. Especially if they don’t post frequently. 

One approach is to build a spreadsheet with links to their various social media profiles so that you can quickly and easily check them and engage with any new content they create. This helps you stay on top of things you might otherwise miss. 

Another tactic is to subscribe to their newsletter. This might give you their primary email address, but even if it doesn’t, it will at least give you an email address that they or an assistant check. And if nothing else, it will help you find more opportunities to engage with them because you’ll be notified as soon as they announce that they’re doing something they consider big.

You can also set up news alerts for both their name and their company name to get notified when other people or publications mention them. Imagine how powerful it would be if they were mentioned in the media and you were the first one to share it and tag them — maybe even before they knew about it!

The key is to have an effective system in place to ensure you can effectively nurture the relationships you need to create more exposure for your brand without anything slipping through the cracks. 

3. Leverage the media

I think it’s safe to assume we all understand the power of the media, especially in today’s always-on, hyper-connected world.

When I talk about media, I’m talking about entities you would expect like national and local news or tier-one publications like Entrepreneur and The Wall Street Journal, as well as entities you might not expect, like trade publications, blogs, and even podcasts. Basically, any relevant entity with an existing audience. 

You can leverage the media from two separate perspectives. The first is obviously to increase your exposure. The second, however, maybe even more valuable, which is to bolster your authority. 

Let’s talk about the exposure first. 

The more of the right people you can get in front of, the more effectively you can grow your business — we all know that. Media comes with a built-in audience, meaning that if you’re featured, you’ll immediately be thrust in front of exponentially more people than you’re reaching right now on your own. The advantages here are obvious. 

Now let’s talk about authority. 

People are social creatures, and over the years, our brains have evolved to pick up on certain social cues that have served as shortcuts to increase our chances of survival. This is a concept called social proof. When we see that others we trust, trust someone we don’t yet know, we tend to trust that new person more than we might otherwise. That’s why an introduction from a good friend typically creates a bond faster than meeting someone randomly in the street.

Media can play the same role. 

The barrier to entry is higher for another entity—whether we’re talking about a small local podcast or a national news network — compared to what you can post on your own website or social media profiles. People understand that these entities are going to vet anyone they mention or feature because their own reputation is on the line. As a result, when someone is mentioned or featured in the media, people will generally assume that person is an expert in the subject being discussed. That implied authority helps to attract more clients and close them more easily. 

Think about it like this — you’ve been to the doctor before right? Did you ever argue with the doctor about their recommendations for your health? 

Of course not. Because you assumed that since they went through medical school and had to pass the medical board exams, they knew what they were talking about.

But we all know there are tons of unqualified doctors out there. In fact, medical errors are one of the most common causes of death in , yet we hardly ever even seek a second opinion. 

And why is that? 

Implied authority. 

And that’s exactly what the media can create for you.

But getting featured in the media is no small feat because you have to first establish your by demonstrating your expertise, which we’ve already covered, and then pitch with a compelling reason on why someone should feature your brand.

Most people get the latter wrong because they make it all about themselves. They open with stories about how awesome they are and why they want to be featured.

The correct (and infinitely more effective) approach is to reframe your pitch from the perspective of the audience, then the person you’re pitching. Your needs are a distant third place.

The key is to make your pitch relevant, newsworthy, and specific. 

For example, let’s say you want to be recognized as an expert in real estate law in Tampa, so you want to get featured in a local news publication. Your pitch might go something like this:

Hi Sarah,

I’m sure you know about the eviction freeze that Governor DeSantis signed during the pandemic, but since it’s about to expire on September 1st, I thought your audience—particularly renters, homeowners, and real estate investors—would want to know what that means for them.

If this is a story you’re considering covering, I’d like to offer my insight as an experienced real estate attorney on how it will potentially affect the people in your audience and how they should prepare for it. You can take a peek at a recent article I published on the topic here: https://example.com/end-of-eviction-freeze/ where I explained some of the risks each group faces when this happens on September 1st.

Feel free to reach out via email or call my cell if I can help in any way.

As you can see, this pitch doesn’t ramble on about this attorney’s life story. It starts off with a very newsworthy story the editor is probably already aware of, ties that to an upcoming story that most Americans would be interested in, and quickly demonstrates that he is qualified to share his opinion on the topic. You’ll also notice that there’s no begging, sucking up, or attempting to trade a favor for a favor. It’s simple, transparent, and puts the audience first. 

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Ant Challenged Beijing and Prospered. Now It Toes the Line.

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As Jack Ma of Alibaba helped turn China into the world’s biggest e-commerce market over the past two decades, he was also vowing to pull off a more audacious transformation.

“If the banks don’t change, we’ll change the banks,” he said in 2008, decrying how hard it was for small businesses in China to borrow from government-run lenders.

“The financial industry needs disrupters,” he told People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, a few years later. His goal, he said, was to make banks and other state-owned enterprises “feel unwell.”

The scope of Mr. Ma’s success is becoming clearer. The vehicle for his financial-technology ambitions, an Alibaba spinoff called Ant Group, is preparing for the largest initial public offering on record. Ant is set to raise $34 billion by selling its shares to the public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to stock exchange documents released on Monday. After the listing, Ant would be worth around $310 billion, much more than many global banks.

The company is going public not as a scrappy upstart, but as a leviathan deeply dependent on the good will of the government Mr. Ma once relished prodding.

More than 730 million people use Ant’s Alipay app every month to pay for lunch, invest their savings and shop on credit. Yet Alipay’s size and importance have made it an inevitable target for China’s regulators, which have already brought its business to heel in certain areas.

These days, Ant talks mostly about creating partnerships with big banks, not disrupting or supplanting them. Several government-owned funds and institutions are Ant shareholders and stand to profit handsomely from the public offering.

The question now is how much higher Ant can fly without provoking the Chinese authorities into clipping its wings further.

Excitable investors see Ant as a buzzy internet innovator. The risk is that it becomes more like a heavily regulated “financial digital utility,” said Fraser Howie, the co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.”

“Utility stocks, as far as I remember, were not the ones to be seen as the most exciting,” Mr. Howie said.

Ant declined to comment, citing the quiet period demanded by regulators before its share sale.

The company has played give-and-take with Beijing for years. As smartphone payments became ubiquitous in China, Ant found itself managing huge piles of money in Alipay users’ virtual wallets. The central bank made it park those funds in special accounts where they would earn minimal interest.

After people piled into an easy-to-use investment fund inside Alipay, the government forced the fund to shed risk and lower returns. Regulators curbed a plan to use Alipay data as the basis for a credit-scoring system akin to Americans’ FICO scores.

China’s Supreme Court this summer capped interest rates for consumer loans, though it was unclear how the ceiling would apply to Ant. The central bank is preparing a new virtual currency that could compete against Alipay and another digital wallet, the messaging app WeChat, as an everyday payment tool.

Ant has learned ways of keeping the authorities on its side. Mr. Ma once boasted at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about never taking money from the Chinese government. Today, funds associated with China’s social security system, its sovereign wealth fund, a state-owned life insurance company and the national postal carrier hold stakes in Ant. The I.P.O. is likely to increase the value of their holdings considerably.

“That’s how the state gets its payoff,” Mr. Howie said. With Ant, he said, “the line between state-owned enterprise and private enterprise is highly, highly blurred.”

China, in less than two generations, went from having a state-planned financial system to being at the global vanguard of internet finance, with trillions of dollars in transactions being made on mobile devices each year. Alipay had a lot to do with it.

Alibaba created the service in the early 2000s to hold payments for online purchases in escrow. Its broader usefulness quickly became clear in a country that mostly missed out on the credit card era. Features were added and users piled in. It became impossible for regulators and banks not to see the app as a threat.

ImageAnt Group’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
Credit…Alex Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

A big test came when Ant began making an offer to Alipay users: Park your money in a section of the app called Yu’ebao, which means “leftover treasure,” and we will pay you more than the low rates fixed by the government at banks.

People could invest as much or as little as they wanted, making them feel like they were putting their pocket change to use. Yu’ebao was a hit, becoming one of the world’s largest money market funds.

The banks were terrified. One commentator for a state broadcaster called the fund a “vampire” and a “parasite.”

Still, “all the main regulators remained unanimous in saying that this was a positive thing for the Chinese financial system,” said Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

“If you can’t actually reform the banks,” Mr. Chorzempa said, “you can inject more competition.”

But then came worries about shadowy, unregulated corners of finance and the dangers they posed to the wider economy. Today, Chinese regulators are tightening supervision of financial holding companies, Ant included. Beijing has kept close watch on the financial instruments that small lenders create out of their consumer loans and sell to investors. Such securities help Ant fund some of its lending. But they also amplify the blowup if too many of those loans aren’t repaid.

“Those kinds of derivative products are something the government is really concerned about,” said Tian X. Hou, founder of the research firm TH Data Capital. Given Ant’s size, she said, “the government should be concerned.”

The broader worry for China is about growing levels of household debt. Beijing wants to cultivate a consumer economy, but excessive borrowing could eventually weigh on people’s spending power. The names of two of Alipay’s popular credit functions, Huabei and Jiebei, are jaunty invitations to spend and borrow.

Huang Ling, 22, started using Huabei when she was in high school. At the time, she didn’t qualify for a credit card. With Huabei’s help, she bought a drone, a scooter, a laptop and more.

The credit line made her feel rich. It also made her realize that if she actually wanted to be rich, she had to get busy.

“Living beyond my means forced me to work harder,” Ms. Huang said.

First, she opened a clothing shop in her hometown, Nanchang, in southeastern China. Then she started an advertising company in the inland metropolis of Chongqing. When the business needed cash, she borrowed from Jiebei.

Online shopping became a way to soothe daily anxieties, and Ms. Huang sometimes racked up thousands of dollars in Huabei bills, which only made her even more anxious. When the pandemic slammed her business, she started falling behind on her payments. That cast her into a deep depression.

Finally, early this month, with her parents’ help, she paid off her debts and closed her Huabei and Jiebei accounts. She felt “elated,” she said.

China’s recent troubles with freewheeling online loan platforms have put the government under pressure to protect ordinary borrowers.

Ant is helped by the fact that its business lines up with many of the Chinese leadership’s priorities: encouraging entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, and expanding the middle class. This year, the company helped the eastern city of Hangzhou, where it is based, set up an early version of the government’s app-based system for dictating coronavirus quarantines.

Such coziness is bound to raise hackles overseas. In Washington, Chinese tech companies that are seen as close to the government are radioactive.

In January 2017, Eric Jing, then Ant’s chief executive, said the company aimed to be serving two billion users worldwide within a decade. Shortly after, Ant announced that it was acquiring the money transfer company MoneyGram to increase its U.S. footprint. By the following January, the deal was dead, thwarted by data security concerns.

More recently, top officials in the Trump administration have discussed whether to place Ant Group on the so-called entity list, which prohibits foreign companies from purchasing American products. Officials from the State Department have suggested that an interagency committee, which also includes officials from the departments of defense, commerce and energy, review Ant for the potential entity listing, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Ant does not talk much anymore about expanding in the United States.

Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

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Good Is the New Cool When It Comes to a Successful Brand

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October 27, 2020 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Afdhel Aziz is a thought leader, writer, speaker, consultant and board advisor with 20 years of experience working as a visionary marketer at companies like Procter & Gamble, Nokia, and Absolut Vodka. Despite creating world-class pop partnerships with everyone from Lady Gaga to the TED Conferences, he felt there was more he could be contributing to society. 

This search inspired him to co-write Good is the New Cool: Market Like You A Give a Damn. The book’s success led Aziz to quit his job and follow his own purpose. Now he is on a mission to help companies and individuals find purpose and meaning in their work and in their lives. 

An internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, Aziz is also the co-founder and Chief Purpose Officer of Conspiracy of Love. The purpose consultancy supports a long roster of clients, including iconic brands like Adidas, Red Bull, Oreo and Microsoft, to Fortune 500 companies like Unilever, AB Inbev, and .

“Goodisthenewcool.org is now a global movement of good, with events and podcasts in association with Soho House, conferences in LA, Sydney and Melbourne, and an online community of 20,000 purpose-driven leaders in and culture,” Aziz says.

Aziz spoke with Jessica Abo to discuss Conspiracy of Love, why businesses should take the “good is the new cool” approach and why it’s not too late for companies to do better. 

Jessica Abo: Tell us about your book Good is the New Cool: Market Like You A Give a Damn.

Afdhel Aziz: It’s an exploration of the whole world of purpose driven . Today, brands more than ever are asked to take stands. When you think about Nike with Colin Kaepernick, for example, consumers are asking brands to take positions in social issues. We wanted to explore that in this book that I co-wrote with Bobby Jones. The expectation for brands to help solve societal problems has never been more sky high.

In the wake of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter, consumers are demanding that the brands in their lives stand up for their values. Consumers are voting with their wallets, we like to say, and making sure that if they’re going to invest in a ‘s products and services, that brand better be helping solve issues, whether they’re environmental issues or social issues. There is an incredibly high level of scrutiny at the moment that brands are under and expectations keep growing as well.

What are some of the biggest mistakes brands make?

Aziz: One of the biggest mistakes brands make when they venture into this territory of social impact is positioning themselves as the hero, riding in on a white horse to solve the problem. We like to preach to our clients the maxim “be the helper not the hero.” Brands who do this find a way to make the consumers the hero of the journey to give them platforms to help society at large. And this way you can avoid the trap of coming across as too egotistical when talking about how you’re going to attack this problem. 

Do brands have to be perfect to start doing good?

Aziz: Brands do not have to be perfect to do some good. In fact, I would say that no brand is perfect, just like no human being is perfect. It’s important not to be paralyzed by the lack of perfection. Every brand has its problem, has its issues. As long as they’re transparent about it and say, “Listen, here’s the plan that we’re putting into place to solve this problem, bear with us while we do it. But in the meantime, here’s another problem that we really want to solve in society, will you help us?” Taking that humble posture really helps people understand the genuineness of your intentions and that really makes a difference when asking people to participate. 

What advice do you have for brands that want to do some good in the world?

Aziz: The advice that we have for brands who want to do some good in the world is, first of all, listen. Listen to your employees, listen to your consumers, look at the culture in the world today and try and find a way of thinking of people as citizens, not just consumers. Think about the broad range of issues that they care about, and then figure out a way that you, as a brand can get involved in helping to solve some of those problems as well. We like to say brands should solve problems from the everyday to the epic. It doesn’t all have to be about climate change and racial inequality. Maybe there are everyday problems as well that you as a brand can get involved in to make people’s lives a little bit better.

Related: Fighting Zoom Fatigue? These Cards Can Help

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What Counts as Race Discrimination? A Suit Against JPMorgan Is a Test

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Over 18 years of working as a secretary at JPMorgan Chase, Wanda Wilson had learned to brush aside remarks directed at her race.

“Wanda, do you mind if I tell a Black joke?” a colleague once asked her. Another co-worker told her that she disliked Black people in general but made an exception for Ms. Wilson.

Ms. Wilson saw no reason to complain. JPMorgan had been a good employer, giving her opportunities to rise through the secretarial ranks and providing assistance during a fraught time in her personal life. She felt proud defending her career to her family, which included several prominent civil rights activists. (Her mother is the poet Amina Baraka, and her stepfather was Amiri Baraka, the playwright and poet. Her younger brother is Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark.)

But things soured in 2016 after a new colleague began to bully Ms. Wilson and order her around, according to a lawsuit Ms. Wilson filed against JPMorgan and its chief executive, Jamie Dimon. For the first time, Ms. Wilson felt that she was not on equal footing with her white colleagues, according to the suit. She complained to JPMorgan officials, but the bank’s response shattered her faith in her employer, she said. After she was unable to find a different job within JPMorgan, the bank fired her. She then sued, alleging race discrimination and retaliation and seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

JPMorgan said its officials had done everything in their power to make things right for Ms. Wilson. “The firm denies that it engaged in any race discrimination or harassment or retaliation with respect to Ms. Wilson’s employment,” said Joe Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesman.

The bank tried to have the lawsuit, filed in 2018, dismissed. This month, a judge ruled that the two sides should engage in mediation instead.

Wall Street has come under growing scrutiny for how it treats people of color, and Black employees in particular. Last year, The New York Times detailed allegations of racism at Phoenix-area branches of JPMorgan. Recently, a former head of global diversity at Morgan Stanley, a Black woman, sued the bank for discrimination.

ImageTwo Black employees at JPMorgan said race was a constant undertone in their interactions with non-Black employees.
Credit…Seth Wenig/Associated Press

But while such cases claim broad and systemic discrimination involving banks, Ms. Wilson’s lawsuit tells the complicated story of interactions between co-workers that can carry racist undertones. It shows how allegations of racism in a workplace can be difficult to verify, even when a company conducts an investigation. That’s especially so in the absence of explicit language or actions — such as a racial slur or blackface — that are easily identifiable as racist.

“This isn’t the ’60s or the ’50s,” said David Carlor, a financial adviser who is Black. “No one’s going to tell you: ‘Because you’re Black, go get us coffee.’ You’re just going to find that you’re the one that’s being treated most disrespectfully in the office.”

At JPMorgan, Ms. Wilson was often the first to arrive and the last to leave, according to three of her former colleagues, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. She got lunch and coffee for her superiors and ran errands that seemed well outside her job description, like buying a mirror for her boss’s office.

In March 2016, Ms. Wilson joined the audit department as an executive administrative assistant — a coveted position among secretaries because it involved handling duties for one senior executive in that department.

Around the same time, Janet Jarnagin was also assigned to Ms. Wilson’s boss as a team leader. A midlevel executive, Ms. Jarnagin’s duties included helping the audit department prepare presentations and reports, according to a publicly available résumé.

Over the next few months, Ms. Jarnagin began ordering Ms. Wilson to hang coats, get coffee and lunch, or carry out requests — such as making photocopies — by visitors to the department, according to the lawsuit.

Once, Ms. Jarnagin stood up from her desk and announced that she was “sending Wanda out for coffee,” asking if anyone else wanted to place an order with her. Other Black secretaries who had overheard Ms. Jarnagin later teased Ms. Wilson about being treated like Kizzy, an enslaved character in the book and television mini-series “Roots.”

Ms. Wilson said that she asked Ms. Jarnagin not to use the term “sending” any more, but that Ms. Jarnagin ignored her. Ms. Wilson described the incident in a 2017 interview with a JPMorgan official, a recording of which she provided to The Times.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Wilson described how Ms. Jarnagin had been making these demands only of her — the lone Black secretary in the vicinity. She tried to distance herself. When she rearranged her desk so that the two women no longer had an unobstructed view of each other, Ms. Jarnagin mocked her for trying to build a “Mexican wall” out of a stack of folders on her desk, according to the lawsuit.

Ms. Wilson complained about Ms. Jarnagin to their boss, who told her to work things out on her own, according to the complaint. She then told a human resources representative that Ms. Jarnagin was ordering her around and bad-mouthing her work. JPMorgan’s Mr. Evangelisti said the bank had begun investigating Ms. Wilson’s complaints immediately.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Henry Klingeman, a lawyer for Ms. Jarnagin, dismissed the allegations. “In the high-intensity, high-stress world of New York banking, Janet was no more rude than a male employee who is assertive,” he said in an email. “That she asked an administrative assistant to get coffee for senior management is one of the criticisms made against her. There is nothing to this, much less implied racism.”

Ms. Wilson eventually emailed Mr. Dimon: “I have followed the chain of command and have not received any assistance.” Mr. Dimon did not personally respond, but her complaint was promptly shared with senior bank officials who stepped up their investigation.

Bank officials interviewed people in the immediate vicinity of Ms. Wilson and Ms. Jarnagin, two people familiar with the investigation said. The investigators determined that Ms. Jarnagin had behaved rudely toward Ms. Wilson. However, since Ms. Jarnagin had been rude in the past to other employees who were not Black, they concluded that her behavior was not racially motivated, the people said.

Mr. Evangelisti said the officials’ conclusions had been “based on information provided by Ms. Wilson at the time.”

Ms. Jarnagin was given two “coaching” sessions, including one by her boss, the people said. She was never formally disciplined, but was advised to treat Ms. Wilson more gently, they said. Ms. Jarnagin left JPMorgan in November 2017.

JPMorgan officials also did a broader “climate study” of the area where Ms. Wilson worked, the people familiar with the matter said. The study concluded that there did not appear to be a problem with racism.

However, two Black employees interviewed for the study, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation, told The Times that race was a constant undertone in their interactions with non-Black employees. One said Black secretaries felt it was harder for them to get promotions, and they believed they were underpaid. But the Black employees said they downplayed the racism they witnessed to bank officials, partly because it wasn’t directed at them.

JPMorgan officials have recently acknowledged that some employees still do not feel safe speaking up. In March, the bank announced that it had reviewed its anti-discrimination practices and identified several areas for improvement.

Things didn’t improve for Ms. Wilson after her complaint.

Mr. Evangelisti said JPMorgan gave her nearly a year to search for a new job inside the bank as well as a raise and bonus during that time. Ms. Wilson said the only job the bank offered her was a role working for a man who had become enraged at her over a disagreement with her boss when she worked in the audit department.

Mr. Evangelisti said the role would have come with the same title, grade and compensation as her prior job, “but Ms. Wilson declined the role and refused to provide any context about an ‘unpleasant exchange’ she claims to have had.”

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