Heather Arison, ’18
Vice President, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Interviewed by Catherine Napier, ’18
Tell us about your career in asset management at JPMorgan.
I have been at JPMorgan Asset Management for seven years on the North America Institutional team, working with the firm’s institutional clients to help them solve for their investment needs across public and private markets. I began in the firm’s Investment Management Analyst Program and have been promoted over the years. I am currently a vice president and client advisor, responsible for the firm’s corporate and public pension plan, foundation, endowment, and healthcare system client relationships in the Central U.S. region.
At Booth, you were very involved, including serving as President of the Student Advisory Council (student government). How did the leadership opportunities at Booth help shape your career?
Booth’s extracurricular activities were an incredibly rewarding way to give back to the Booth community, interact with the school’s administration, and have the opportunity to work with my peers outside of the classroom. My experience helped reinforce the importance of cross-collaboration across teams: bringing together diverse backgrounds, expertise, and insights to best achieve goals. My experience at Booth has motivated me look for opportunities to collaborate with my JPMorgan peers outside of my immediate team—not only to help provide the best insights to clients but also to give back to the broader JPMorgan community.
I am currently on the Leadership Committee for Women on the Move - Asset and Wealth Management as Regional Outreach chair. Women on the Move (WOTM) is a JPMorgan firm-wide initiative to empower female employees, clients, and consumers to build their careers, grow their businesses, and improve their financial health. I lead WOTM—Asset and Wealth Management’s internal efforts to engage and inspire women across 70+ offices. Many of the women I work with through WOTM are individuals I don’t interact with in my day-to-day job.
I was also selected to participate in the JPMC Service Corps, a three-week, skills-based volunteer program that engages the firm’s top-performing employees from around the world who share their expertise to help the firm’s nonprofit partners expand their impact on the community. Last fall, I worked onsite in the Bronx with a nonprofit organization called Phipps Neighborhoods, whose mission is to help children, youth, and families in low-income communities rise above poverty. Working with three other JPMC employees, we created an implementation strategy for Phipps to build out a children’s financial literacy program for their afterschool programs. The opportunity to contribute to Phipps’ mission by combining the sales, marketing, strategy and operations expertise from my job and from my Booth degree, and applying it to the entirely different discipline of the nonprofit world, was an amazing experience. Through working with this global team of people from across the firm, we learned how to best utilize each other’s unique and diverse experience sets, and the expertise of our nonprofit partner, to accomplish the project.
What advice you have for women who want to pursue careers in asset management?
Asset management is a big industry. There are many different asset classes and roles you can work in, ranging from portfolio management, investor relations, sales, research, etc. and across both public and private markets. Don’t be afraid to engage your Booth network, ask questions, and really dive deep into what exactly people in the industry do on a day-to-day basis. This is a great way to learn more about the industry and pinpoint where your skills and Booth education match your interests and goals.
For me, it’s been important to see many female role models in asset management—our clients, JPMorgan portfolio managers, and senior leaders across the firm. I interact with inspiring women every day who are accomplishing great things in the industry and excel at very senior levels at their firms. I’m fortunate to have these female role models and mentors.
Given that you were a Division 1 golfer at Brown University, how has golf impacted your career?
As a student-athlete, time management, discipline, and persistence were critical to excelling in the classroom and on the golf course. Golf is a game where even the best players in the world have a bad day and a bad shot. Regardless of how well I played, there was always something I could work on to be a better player. Becoming a better player doesn’t happen overnight – it builds over time through conscientious practice and good habits.
I view my career the same way—reaching my personal and professional goals and objectives isn’t always linear. I’ve put in place the right fundamentals, like being diligent in my work, raising my hand for opportunities, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and there’s always more I can do to get better and succeed over time. Golf has been important in teaching me that success is a long-term commitment—patiently putting in the right practice and habits now pays off over time.