Laura Swain is a software engineer and has been with JPMorgan Chase & Co for more than 25 years, in large part due to the “work family” she’s found there. Years ago, when she took an 18-month leave of absence to care for her son — then slowly transitioned back to being a full-time employee — Laura says that everyone “from my manager, my coworkers, and the bank as a whole were very supportive. I never had a desire to leave the bank because there was so much flexibility.”
“You’re committed to your job, but you also need to be committed to your life. JPMorgan Chase was very much a part of that,” Swain explains. “There’s so much flexibility with career here as well. You can build your career path at this bank and never have to leave.”
Swain recently shared with Fairygodboss how she prioritizes mentoring and coaching her team members, the best piece of career advice she’s ever received, and her #1 tip for women who are job searching.
What do you do in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
In my current role, I am coaching, mentoring, leading and partnering Scrum Teams, focusing on the Agile transformation within Chase as we move from waterfall practices. I also coordinate across teams and the organization to deliver products and build relationships for the best customer and employee experience both inside and outside the team. Prior to this role, I was an application development manager, technical lead, and a developer in many different technologies.
What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of JPMorgan Chase?
I would say we are very customer- and people-focused. We have a strong sense of community and we are inclusive. My team is spread across three strategic hubs; and, although they’re in three different locations, we are able to keep everyone informed and engaged.
Locally, we host potlucks, team building activities, and games. While you have your personal life outside of work, a big part of your day is your job, and JPMorgan Chase prioritizes fostering a work family.
What’s something you’re especially good at? What about outside of work?
I really enjoy coaching, mentoring, and positioning others for their career growth, and I take pride in it. You have to allocate time for the individuals you’re coaching and mentoring, so I try to make sure I don’t commit to too many people. It’s fulfilling and enriching to me personally to see others grow, develop and see them succeed.
Outside of work, I enjoy photography. I have photographers in my family; my uncle is a professional photographer, so I grew up with it. Also, I enjoy spending time with my family outdoors.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
I had a boss who told me to do what I love, find my passion and stick to it.
Name one important quality you appreciate about a former boss.
I’d say having a manager who listens first before providing you with an answer — someone who really wants to understand your point of view.
What advice would you offer to women who are looking for jobs, specifically in fields like finance and tech?
Stay current, be active in networking, stand strong, come across confident, and remember that you absolutely have a voice and a place in technology.