Joyce Said Ward, 42, is the vice president of private bank JPMorgan Chase in Washington, where she manages the investments of private clients. 

Both sides of my family emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. My father came with his parents in the late 50s, when he was a young boy. My mother’s side of the family came in the late 60s. My mother was a young adult when she first arrived. In both cases, their reason for emigrating was the same – to obtain greater financial opportunities for the family. My parents met and married in New York where my sister, Mary and I were both born and raised.

I was drawn to Private Banking because it combined my appreciation of economics and efficiency of markets with the ability to work directly with individuals – on a topic that is often top of mind for most, their financial foundation and legacy. No two days of my job are alike, but the common thread is advising clients on how to be efficient from an investing, tax and estate standpoint in light of what their specific objectives and goals are.

Career-wise I am proud of moving from New York to Washington DC in 2001 to help build JPMorgan’s Private Bank in this area, one that has grown from a team of 6 individuals to now over 60 and encompassing over $25BN in Assets Under Supervision. Being a part of that growth has felt like both a significant accomplishment and a privilege to be a part of.

The births of my 2 children, Charlotte and Elizabeth, are among my proudest achievements. Having a new generation enter a family has been a really special thing to witness and be a part of.

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I didn’t have one specific experience that was a defining moment in my life. Rather, I think it’s the circumstance of being a first-generation American, and one raised with a strong connection to a different country, that has been a shaping force in my life. It gives me a much greater awareness of people’s backgrounds and how that often drives them to be who they are. My father always instilled in my sister and me how one’s cultural history often has an important impact on one’s way of thinking. It’s actually a very strong skillset to have and one that has been as especially helpful to me.

Being a first generation instills a certain purpose, one to not waste time, not to take opportunities for granted, and to follow through on the opportunity afforded by an earlier generation who left their country and way of life to make those opportunities available. It also comes with it a responsibility to not forget where you originally come from and to be proud of it.

Don’t be afraid to try new things or take a risk with an opportunity earlier in life. Doing so as a younger person allows you more freedom to fail and try again.

For me Malta is very closely associated with summer and summer vacation so it’s very hard not to miss and be nostalgic about that! Interestingly, I had both sets of grandparents return to Malta upon their retirement, which happened when I was young. As a result, I grew up visiting them and spending that time living life as they did. Having had that experience, you can’t help but feel more of an attachment to the country.

Once you have visited and spent time in Malta, there is an element of missing a quality of life that does feel closer to the elements of sea, land, and sky that you often don’t have living in a city.

My home is here in the United States. That said, my family intends to always maintain a home there and I hope to be able to spend longer periods of time in Malta in the future. I also plan to have my children visit more often as they grow a little older, hopefully made easier given they now have Maltese passports in hand!

Are you a Maltese person living abroad? Contact malteseabroad@timesofmalta.com

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