In the Bustle Booth with Thasunda Duckett

When influential women hang out with Bustle editors, we want to give them the chance to leave their mark. Literally. So we hand them a pen, a piece of paper, a few questions, and ask them to get creative. The rest is up to them. This time, Thasunda Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, is leaving her mark in the Bustle Booth.

"What are you saving for?"

That’s the question Thasunda Brown Duckett is most passionate about.

As the CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, Duckett’s mission is to inspire people to take their savings seriously. Not only does she want individuals to invest in themselves with intention; she also wants them to realize that the word "savings" doesn’t just apply to the future — it applies to everyday life.

“I’m passionate about the question, ‘What are you saving for?’ because savings is not just about investing or planning for your retirement,” Duckett explains. “While those are so important, so is short term savings!”

By prompting individuals to answer the question — whether they’re funding their next trip to the grocery store, buying a plane ticket for a getaway weekend, or storing money away for retirement — this simple query inspires people to connect their savings goals to their day-to-day lives. And when people connect why they are saving to a specific goal they really care about — like being able to travel now, buying a house soon, or having financial independence later — they are more likely to stockpile their money, alleviating financial anxiety, and as a result, make the most out of their lives.

“It’s not only my passion to get people to save,” Duckett says. “It really is my responsibility. I take that responsibility seriously; not just as a CEO, but as the daughter of Otis and Rosie Brown.”

Coming from modest beginnings herself — as a child, her family moved from the East Coast to Texas with only the belongings in their car — Duckett knows firsthand how critical savings are in your day-to-day life and beyond. She understands that it’s not about how much money you make, but how much you are able to keep.

“What you’re really saving for is the ability to be the best version of yourself,” she explains.

For Duckett, the best version of herself is leaving a legacy that demonstrates what’s possible. Despite her humble means growing up, today the successful business leader is responsible for nearly 50,000 employees, over 5,000 JPMorgan Chase bank branches, and 16,000 ATMS. Rather than let her past limit her, she embraces it and uses it for inspiration to help ordinary families and households believe that they, too, can not only obtain financial success but become great leaders.

Duckett believes her story is not unique, but one that follows the trajectory of the true American Dream.

“My ancestors and the people who started here at JPMorgan Chase couldn’t imagine someone that looked like me leading the consumer business,” she said. “... So when I think about my legacy, I think about giving homage to the people before me — the people who were cleaning the buildings of banks — and how now, we can have more than a way to take care of our families, and even ascend to become CEOs.”

While she is truly impressive standing alone, Duckett recognizes the support she received throughout her journey, and advises others to both give and seek aid as they travel along their respective paths.

Her advice for future leaders? While navigating your career and life, “reach as you climb.”

This article is brought to you by JPMorgan Chase.