Leading with Intention
Growing up in Trinidad, Juneisha Burrowes enjoyed school and being around her friends, like most children. It wasn’t until she was a bit older that she learned about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from family friends. Trusting their recommendations, she applied to Howard University and was awarded a scholarship. “Attending Howard was one of the best decisions of my life,” says Burrowes. She describes the “Howard Experience” as transformational.
HBCUs are recognized as institutions where Black community members can be in a safe space to expand their education with people who look like them; but Burrowes shares that it was deeper than that for her. “You meet people who look like you but who are also very different than you.” Being of Caribbean, West-Indian descent, Burrowes was able to meet people from all over the world and experience the diversity of Blackness. She explains that it was a humbling experience and she learned about different cultures while maintaining individual purpose.
You meet people who look like you but who are also very different than you.
Another differentiating factor of Howard University for Burrowes is that she had the opportunity to tap into activism, and with that, build her confidence. As she explains, “I learned how to change any environment I am in for the better.” With a strong sense of legacy for those who came before you, Burrowes felt honored to know she was at an institution that was uniquely preparing her to drive change and open doors for others behind her. She warmly recalled faculty mentors who “were invested in my success and understood the positions I might face in the regular world.”
It was with her mentor and finance professor, that Burrowes first crossed paths with Morgan Stanley during a tour of Wall Street. After graduating as valedictorian with Summa Cum Laude distinction at Howard, Burrowes began her career at Fannie Mae. From there, she led a successful career in the financial services industry and earned an MBA from George Washington University. She also stayed active in several boards and organizations dedicated to teaching financial literacy to youth. In 2018, Burrowes became a full-time Morgan Stanley employee.
Part of the reason Burrowes took a role at Morgan Stanley was that “[she] was inspired by the warm welcome and embrace that she felt from key members at the firm.” She recognizes that to advance diversity and inclusion (D&I) there needs to be a deliberate and intentional effort. “It doesn’t happen by chance; you have to be intentional—our culture is key,” noted Burrowes. In her role as the co-chair of the Black Employee Network Group (BENG), she has an opportunity to impact Morgan Stanley’s efforts.
It doesn’t happen by chance; you have to be intentional—our culture is key.
Morgan Stanley is guided by its core values, a shared set of behaviors and attributes that drive decision-making consistent with the expectations of our clients, shareholders, regulators and the public. In 2020, Morgan Stanley made explicit its intention to advance D&I by adding an additional core value: commitment to diversity and inclusion. This new core value helps guide Burrowes in her leadership of the BENG as she advocates for change both inside the firm, and in the communities where we work and live.
As a long-term goal, Burrowes is hopeful that Morgan Stanley can “leverage diversity to expand its commercial efforts.” By this, she means not only attracting and retaining diverse talent but attracting and retaining a diverse set of clients. As she explains it, “how can we expand our products and services and ensure they are marketed to a broader and more diverse audience?”
Though she acknowledges there is still work to do, together with her co-chair of BENG, Peter Akwaboah, they are focused leveraging the resources and reach of the BENG to support the careers of Black talent at Morgan Stanley and help the firm increase representation of Black talent at every level. In a joint message to employees, they recognized that “doing so, we will undoubtedly foster an equal opportunity culture that not only continues to create value for all of our employees, but for our clients, as well.” With intentional steps, Burrowes is helping shape Morgan Stanley’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Juneisha is an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley and is responsible for Operational, Fraud and Cyber Risk Management within the Field Strategic Services Wealth Management division. She was named as a Forbes Next Generation Leader and speaks fluent French. Before her current role, she served at Fannie Mae, EY, RBC and Alliance Bernstein. She co-chairs Morgan Stanley’s Black Employee Network Group and is an alumna of Howard University and George Washington University.