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How a Charlotte woman overcame poverty to become a powerful bank executive: For the Culture

Jada Grandy-Mock grew up in public housing. Seeing her family's struggle inspired her to become one of Charlotte's top banking executives.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Confidence beams from Jada Grandy-Mock as she walks the headquarters of Fifth Third Bank in Uptown Charlotte, entering rooms that, statistically speaking, she's not supposed to be in. 

"Growing up, I lived in a public housing community and saw a lot of families who struggled due to a lack of resources," Grandy-Mock said. "It wasn't due to a lack of will, but a lack of access to resources to financial products and services."

Those types of inherited, systemic problems have evaded Black households for decades. According to Brookings, the typical net worth of a white family $171,000. That's 10 times greater than the earnings of the average Black family. A close look at wealth in the U.S. is made up of staggering racial disparities accumulated of inequality, discrimination and differences in power and opportunity. 

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Grandy-Mock says she won't be just another statistic. 

"You know, I said I want to change this," she said. "This is not what I want for my life or for my family."

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Grandy-Mock was the first in her family to go to college and the first to work in corporate America. The past 13 years of her career have been spent at Fifth Third Bank. In December, she was promoted to Chief Corporate Community Economic Development Officer. That promotion turned out to be a full-circle moment for her.

"I am responsible for making sure the bank meets the needs of all the communities we serve, particularly the low-to-moderate income communities, ensuring that we provide accessibility to financial products and services," Grandy-Mock said. 

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Her hard work has allowed her to break through the racial wealth gap and generational curses at the same time. 

"I was able to put my brother through college. That was the first thing I did when I graduated from school," she said. "Now, we have four college graduates in our family, no one is living in public housing, everyone is on their own financial journey and it all came from one example."

Today it's her. Tomorrow, it could be you. To read more about Jada Grandy-Mock's story, visit Charlotte's Pride Magazine

If you have an idea for For The Culture, email Billie Jean Shaw at bshaw@wcnc.com.