Speech: Joe Evangelisti, 2016 Corporate Honoree

KRISTIN LEMKAU: I’ve known Joe Evangelisti for 20 years. He first hired me at JP Morgan and since we’ve known each other we’ve been through two marriages, four mergers, two children, and I think one very special dog. So, I have to admit, I was both flattered and then I was a little bit confused when Joe asked me to come speak at an event in Chicago for an award he was winning from the University of Alabama.

And I was pretty sure Joe had never been to Alabama. And if asked what roll tide meant, he might think that was a call to action to buy another beach house. But then I read about the Jack Koten Award, and I got it. And I read a bit about Jack Koten.

So, the Jack Koten Award is for someone who excels in mentoring in corporate life. Not for someone who excels in PR, in the craft of PR, someone who excels at mentoring.

And then I read a little bit more about Jack Koten and some of the things that he read. And Jack Koten said things like, don’t check your personal values at the door. He said, follow your moral compass, never lie, and do the right thing always. And for any of you who know Joe, it’s kind of uncanny because he uses those same phrases a lot.

And if you know our boss, Jamie Dimon, he uses a lot of those same phrases a lot. And Jamie is almost impossible to script. But a little-known fact is, sometimes Joe’s voice is often Jamie’s voice from behind the curtain.

And so, I know Joe and I can tell you he is the very best at what he does, anywhere. But he’s much more than that. He’s one of the most influential advisors to one of the most influential business leaders of our time. And he’s someone we all look up to.

He’s someone who believes that people don’t just come to work. They come to work because they believe in something. And they come to work because they build relationships with the people. They come to work for the people. And he believes you bring your entire self to work.

Keep in mind, Joe is one of the most senior proudly gay executives in business today. And he has done this in an industry that has not always been terribly accepting of it. He’s been at JP Morgan for 30 years. And he’s let the hundreds of gay men and women at JP Morgan know you can bring your whole self to work and be proud of it. And you can bring who you love to work and be proud of it.

In a time when this country has become so deeply divided, and bigotry is back, and hate feels like it has a new hope, we need him to continue to set the example for all of us. So, Joe, I am so proud to give you this Jack Morton Award. Sorry, Jack Koten Award. And I’m so proud to call you my friend. Thank you.


JOE EVANGELISTI: Thank you, Kris. I usually give out awards. I’ve never actually received an award. So, I’m just going to bask and feel important for a bit.

I want to thank Plank. I want to thank Bill Heyman for recommending me for this award. And I really want to thank my friend, my colleague Kristin Lemkau. We’ve been through a lot together, as she said. I learn as much, or more, from her as she learns from me.

I look up to Kristin. And I have to say, sort of the beauty of that is that I’ve always found in mentoring, helping each other succeed is the best thing you can do. Helping each other look better, making their lives easier, helping them do their jobs better is good for everyone. And so, my practice has been, make each other better, help them be their best.

One of my proudest moments is that when I see somebody sort of surpass me and I’m learning from them, and I’m looking up to them. And it just makes that whole day, that whole week, all that time at work be better. It’s great for the individual. It’s also great for the institution, the organization you solve.

So, this has been my career. It’s been how I’ve operated and what I love to do. So, it’s especially wonderful to get an award for something I love, from a person I love. So, thank you.


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