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SoCal Power Women: 5 Questions With Chase's Alice Carr

This limited series profiles SoCal Power Women who have helped shape cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles in Los Angeles and Orange counties. These women will be honored at Bisnow's SoCal Power Women event Dec. 13. 

For more than two decades, Alice Carr has been a leader in the finance industry. As head of Community Development Banking at JPMorgan Chase, she and her team provide financing for the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing — from housing for low-income families to seniors. Her team also facilitates investments in economic development projects such as schools, healthcare clinics and food grocers.

JP Morgan Chase Head of Community Development Banking Alice Carr

How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?

Carr: My job encompasses a special type of commercial real estate, which results in much-needed community development throughout the country. My team and I bring real business acumen to these public and private partnerships that help create affordable housing and revitalize neighborhoods. We build great relationships with public, government and nonprofit leadership and provide financing to support these community development projects.

What is the biggest business problem you have faced and how did you solve it?

Carr: Community development is fueled by public policy, and programmatic changes and government shifts can be disruptive. This uncertainty is an ongoing challenge. My team and the broader business community are constantly innovating and evolving to adapt to these changes and continue to provide financing that helps transform our communities. Smart and informed lending to low-income communities not only has a strong social impact, it can also result in good returns for businesses.

What is one thing you think companies can do to address wage and gender inequality?

Carr: I feel strongly that everyone should be paid fairly for the work that they do. As an industry, we can always do more to broaden our employee base and bring different perspectives to our strategies. It’s important to support diverse talent and recognize the good work our teams contribute to the business equally. Especially in my industry, it’s crucial to have a team that reflects the communities in which we work. Also, ensuring that employees have access to mentorships and other opportunities to share their ideas and experiences is key to creating a positive environment for diverse teams to thrive.

What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?

Carr: I’m always quick to tell people how interesting, rewarding and diverse the world of community development is. There’s a wide range of work opportunities, from finance to development. It’s an innovative industry full of entrepreneurial leaders and passionate professionals.

I also encourage people to get engaged or volunteer with outside organizations or groups they’re passionate about, in addition to their regular workload. Exploring other interests will give people an opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and bring new ideas to the table.

What do you do to unwind when you’re not working?

Carr: My favorite thing to do is go hiking with my family on weekends!

Meet JPMorgan Chase Head of Community Development Banking Alice Carr at Bisnow's SoCal Power Women event Dec. 13 at the LA Grand Hotel Downtown.