How HR Professionals Supported a Transition

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By JP Morgan Chase Oct 1, 2009

October CoverOne employee found JPMorgan Chase managers supportive throughout the process of gender transition. Kathryn Winters says the process had no effect on her career and she was promoted shortly after her transformation from a man. As she writes in an article for JP Morgan Chase’s intranet site:

An assistant manager at a Chase bank branch, I worried what people would think if I began a gender transition. After all, I work with customers on a regular basis. Plus, my manager and I had been discussing my becoming a branch manager, and I was worried that transitioning might affect that possibility.

It was a very confusing time, and I felt like my life was unraveling. Emotionally, it was no longer an option to keep fighting my desire to transition.

In February 2008, I came out to my spouse and really started to research transitioning and what it entails. I heard stories about people losing their jobs, being ostracized and even worse. But on my first day at Chase, I saw the gender transition guidelines on the intranet, which gave me hope that this would be a safe place to pursue my dream.

I read about how when other people transitioned, they didn’t tell their HR departments until the last minute, which created a lot of chaos for them and their companies. I didn’t want that to happen. So I contacted PRIDE [a support organization] for guidance on how best to inform the company.

The PRIDE global secretary introduced me to three people: a colleague who had transitioned in the workplace, a corporate diversity manager and an HR business partner. They were all tremendously supportive and committed to helping me through the transition.

On the career front, an opening came up for branch manager trainee. I applied and interviewed for the position several months before my transition. I brushed up on my sales skills, filled in for my manager and did whatever I could to grow and actively pursue the role. I really wanted to show I could do it.

Then, I was out of the office for two weeks to get ready for my transition. During that time, my transition was communicated to my branch network, and the support from my local management was heartfelt and awesome.

On my first day back at work, I had lunch with my manager and another assistant manager. They both commented on how positive I was. My manager even said that seeing how happy I was made it clear that this was the right thing for me to do.

On my second day back, I was told I was promoted to the manager trainee program. Not only was I extremely proud and happy; it made me realize that my transition didn’t matter. It just wasn’t an issue. I was promoted based on the quality of my work. It was another confirmation that JPMorgan Chase really does “live” its policies.

I was amazed by the level of support, understanding, commitment and desire to help. I’d been terrified for many years. To have things come out so much better than I imagined is amazing, and Chase—including PRIDE, Diversity and HR—were a big part of that. Now I’m totally comfortable with who I am and I am excelling even more because I can just be me. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel.

Before, I hid from the world, but now I’m getting involved in the community and living an active and productive life, in addition to building my career at Chase. I’m also kicking off a PRIDE chapter in Austin, Texas, so I can help give back to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

If you are considering a transition, just reach out to PRIDE and corporate diversity, because they truly are there to help. They are willing to get involved and support you throughout the process.


Published with permission, JP Morgan Chase

​Web Extras

SHRM article: Accommodating Sex Transformations (HR Magazine)


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