CEO, Chase Auto Finance, JPMorgan Chase

Inspiring others is what motivates Thasunda Duckett to keep taking on challenging new assignments.

Duckett held several top mortgage-lending jobs at JPMorgan Chase before she was named chief executive of the bank's auto finance arm in early 2013.

On her watch, Chase Auto Finance has reported loan growth in every quarter and jumped from No. 5 in the rankings of the nation's largest auto lenders to No. 2 as of Dec. 31. Perhaps even more important, the financing unit moved from No. 27 to No. 16 in J.D. Power's annual customer satisfaction ratings, largely due to Duckett's efforts to simplify and speed up the loan-application process and improve overall service.

Still, for Duckett, it's not really about the numbers.

What drives her to succeed is knowing that she is a role model for thousands of other JPMorgan staffers, particularly women and minorities.

Duckett, who is African-American, speaks frequently about leadership and development at JPMorgan Chase events and she is an enthusiastic mentor to women and men of color, both inside and outside of the bank. Three years ago, she started a foundation — named after her parents, Otis and Rosie Brown — to help provide academic opportunities to economically disadvantaged families in north Texas.

"When I'm mentoring people, yes it's helping them, but it's also helping me because it's what motivates me," she said. "I truly believe that my purpose in life is to inspire people."

Duckett said the key bits of advice she offers to up-and-coming leaders are to never lose confidence and that real success requires some sacrifice. But, she tells them, "never sacrifice your health, your family or your character."

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