100 Women, 100 Stories: Brooke Jones-Chinetti

Where do you live? New York, NY

What is your profession? Founder, Your Sequel; Deputy Director/Head of Operations (Military and Veteran Affairs), JPMorgan Chase & Co.

How did you get your role at JPMorgan and what was your path leading up to this? Whew, this may be a long one. I was in the Army for six years and served across the world. After I met my husband, we made a decision to transition from the military in search of stability for our family (hint: hasn’t quite happened yet haha). We both went into finance and moved to Philadelphia from Colorado. As soon as I started my new career, I knew something was missing. I longed for the feeling of selfless service that I had lived for so long. I missed being pushed to my limits. The community and family that I had grown to lean on was gone. I began volunteering with a nonprofit that assisted veterans as they transitioned from the military and began their careers in Corporate America.

Eventually, I made the decision to join that nonprofit full time as the Executive Director. It was a mix of startup scene, tech, and nonprofit. It was a ton of work, but I was loving it. Unfortunately, the (male, also veteran) founders decided to terminate the nonprofit and do a for-profit venture, leaving me in the dark and jobless. Every possible emotion ran through my body, but I knew my next move needed to be strategic and fulfilling. I mean, a 6-month stint running a start-up/non-profit can’t look awesome on a resume. Through all of it, I realized I still have a knack for running organizations and building teams, and also longed to still make an impact that is bigger than myself. I decided to start an organization that focused building a networking and mentorship platform for female veterans. In most heuristics tested, female veterans have a worse transition than their male counterparts. Female veterans represent a rich and untapped talent pool to corporate America. There are female industry leaders who want to give advice, and guidance, and tools to this pool. Yet, there is a disconnect. I’ve been there, and I want to change that. So, I created Your Sequel to bridge that gap and create a mentorship and networking platform for female veterans.

Additionally, I recently went back to JPMorgan Chase & Co. where I run operations for their Military and Veteran Affairs group. Along my path, I found that (1) it’s okay to change your mind on what you want to do (or thought you wanted to do), (2) network your ass off so that your voice is heard, and (3) knowing your values — and actually having them written down — will guide a lot of your decision making process and make it easier to decide what is a fit.

What did you study in college? United States Military Academy (c/o 2009): BS — Portuguese/Environmental Engineering; Columbia Business School (c/o 2018): MBA

How did you know you wanted to study those things? My degree from West Point is not necessarily applicable in what I do now, but the lessons that I learned while there absolutely are. The United States Military Academy is a leadership factory. Through the training I received as a cadet, I learned to live outside of my comfort zone and lead my peers. That experience was invaluable. I made the decision to pursue my MBA at Columbia Business School, because I wanted to hone my quantitative skill set and advance my entrepreneurial knowledge. I want to be able to take my leadership set and apply it in the industry that I work. I am in the “Executive” format, which means that I work full time (we’re all gluttons for punishment). My peers take my graduate program to the next level. I am able to find diverse experience both inside and outside of the classroom.

As I said, I don’t use my Bachelor’s degree (although I still love studying the language). When I left the military, I had to do a huge transition. It’s okay to “take a step down” in order to pursue the career that you want. With that being said, know your worth. Go in confidently and make yourself so valuable that they can’t afford not to promote you.

Has anyone been a mentor to you? What role did they play and how do you feel about mentorship now? I have been fortunate to have a handful of mentors. Two specifically come to mind as they still play a huge role in my life!

What’s the hardest thing that you’ve had to deal with in your career so far? I have to say — the transition from the military was the most difficult career move thus far. This is not unique to the military. Career shifts are TOUGH, and navigating that and trying to pin down what I thought I wanted to do when I grew up was mentally and emotionally draining.

What has been a really rewarding moment in your career? At the first nonprofit I worked for, I organized a Women Veteran Summit where we took 25 women transitioning from the military to 11 tech companies in NYC. These companies were mostly female run or led. Having the ability to provide the education, access, and exposure to that group of women was the most rewarding moment to date.

What do you want to accomplish in your lifetime? I want to write a book. It may not ever be published or leave my computer, but I want to get it on paper.

What’s something you want young women to remember when thinking about their future? I want women to remember to take risks and do things that are uncomfortable. You hear that a lot, but I want women to actually live it. People often don’t take risks because they could be embarrassed if they don’t succeed. However, I think everyone should flip that thinking.

When you look back on your life, will you be disappointed/embarrassed/regretful that you didn’t take that risk?

The worst feeling is saying “what if?” This way of thinking will probably change your mind on a lot of decisions.

What’s one thing you want to try to make an impact on in your lifetime? Gender Equality

Connect with Brooke online on Twitter: @brookejones05; LinkedIn; Instagram: @brookejoneschinetti