From his years of service in the military to his current role as a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase — where he helps ex-servicemen build their businesses — Alex McKindra Jr. is a veteran success story.
And his story has a long history, tracing back generations of his family in the small town of Union Chapel, Arkansas.
In the late 1800s, McKindra’s great-grandfather, Reuben Frank McKindra, moved his family to Union Chapel, a town originally settled by freed black slaves.
Working on their family farm, the McKindras made a name for themselves by demonstrating their resourcefulness and capacity for hard work. Accordingly, the family used mentorship programs, as well as public and private funding, to not only start, but grow—and grow—their family farm.
Amid the success of the family business, the McKindras never forgot the support they had been given—and the importance of passing it on to others in their community and society. Generations of McKindras have dedicated their lives to the military and then to their communities when they returned home.
“I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if it weren’t for the opportunities that mentoring provided,” says McKindra. “The farm that my family was able to start, through the support and mentoring of others, has helped educate and clothe every generation of my family since the 1880s.”
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McKindra chose to honor his roots by following in the footsteps of his ancestors and joining the military. He graduated from West Point in 1993 and then completed a tour of duty serving as a captain in the United States Air Force.
Armed with the life experience and knowledge he gained from the service—and a newly minted MBA from the University of Southern California—McKindra dove into the world of corporate finance. Quickly establishing a reputation for his intelligence, trustworthiness and kindness, he rose through the ranks. Today, he works as a Managing Director for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking.
Amidst his success, McKindra’s also wanted to help those who – like his great-grandfather Reuben – had risked their lives for the country and were now looking to put down roots as civilians.
At JPMorgan Chase, he continued to advocate for veterans, eventually becoming co-head of JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking’s veteran initiatives program, along with Army veteran Terry Hill.
Currently, McKindra and Hill are working with JPMorgan Chase and Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit, to build programs to help veteran small business owners. Together, they created CEOcircle, a 13-month mentorship program tailored to help mid-sized, military-related companies grow. Through this program, veteran business owners and their families gain access to the guidance and resources they need to succeed, including education, networking and one-on-one financial mentoring from JPMorgan Chase advisors. The program empowers businesses that will support military families for generations to come – businesses like the McKindra farm.
The new program launched nationally last year and will welcome its second cohort of 80 military-related businesses this November.
“If my great-grandfather were here today, I would want him to know that what he built not only supported our family, but also instilled in us the values that would spawn the acceleration and growth of hundreds of other veterans. owned businesses in the future,” says McKindra. “I know he would be proud of that.”
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