How have you made new connections this year?  

In January of this year, I came across an article from OZY, about 25 women reshaping the C-suite. As I read and looked at their photos, I started thinking who of these accomplished women would wear my work? They are all powerful, confident and at the front of their industries.  When I speak about my jewelry, those are the words I use: powerful, confident, unique. One of the women on that list is Thasunda B. Duckett. Reaching to my frenemy Google, I found that, not only did Thasunda have her own sense of style, but her STORY was amazing and her professional journey impressive.

I did what most people would do, I found her JPM Chase email address and sent her a note, spoke about how I found her and came to know a part of her story and I offered her a piece of my jewelry. This is unusual for me. I haven't gifted my work to celebrities or people I do not know (I have gifted plenty of pieces and donated to a few causes) but I felt compelled to intentionally introduce a complete stranger with celebrity status to my work.  I want more self-made, impressive women to be aware of and wear my jewelry.

The very next morning, Ms. Duckett wrote to me from her personal email address, thanking me for my email, complimenting my work and saying yes to a gift. 

                                           Arose necklace by Oblik Atelier

During our exchange over the next couple of months, she stayed in contact, engaged with questions I posed and even picked up a pair of earrings that work back with this necklace. She also sent me this gorgeous photo of her wearing "A Rose necklace." All while she was in the midst of one of the most important transitions in her career. She was leaving the JPM Chase post to become the CEO OF TIIA, making her currently the second black female CEO of a fortune 500 company and only a fourth one in history!    

I am grateful and so impressed by her integrity and honesty.

I had lots of questions for her, but I'll share just a couple:

1) After so many years and growth at JPMorgan Chase,  what will you bring to TIIA from that experience?
In all my leadership roles at JPMorgan Chase, I've focused on driving outcomes - creating and executing a strategy to lead and grow a complex business, galvanizing thousands of employees around a shared vision to help meet customers where they are and help more Americans get on a path to financial health. All of this experience aligns well with TIAA's mission. As a purpose-driven leader, I'm excited to join a company that's helping millions of people retire with enough to live in dignity
2) How does the new role at TIIA align with your life's path/journey and what experience/legacy do you hope to gain/leave at that post?
Financial health is a human right - a right that is out of reach for far too many Americans. I'm deeply passionate about helping people get on a path to financial health and resilience. For me it's personal - I know what it's like to grow up in a family struggling to make ends meet. My father worked for a company for many years, but didn't know how to invest in his 401(k) plan. He didn't think this benefit offering was for him. That made it really tough when it came time to retire. So I'm excited for this opportunity to help advance TIAA's important work and help more Americans achieve financial wellbeing and freedom!

                         Thasunda Duckett in Oblik Atelier one of a kid rose necklace

I'll leave you with this thought. I made a promise to myself sometime midway through 2020. Work with intent, build your audience how you build your work, through personal, honest and meaningful exchange. Seeing this one of a kind necklace on this beautiful, driven and inspiring woman is the best gift I could give to myself and my business. 

Thank you Thasunda for responding to my email. My world is richer knowing your story. Congratulations on your new role. I look forward to watching your continued success! 


Previous Article Next Article

1 comment

  • Very cool, Mia!!

    Lilia on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Recently Viewed