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U of M Grad has full-circle moment as distinguished alumni

Monique McClain is a woman of many titles. Consultant, boss, philanthropist, cultivator, wife, and mother are just a few. Most recently, she was named Outstanding Young Alumna by her alma mater, The University of Memphis. 

McClain is vice president of Wealth Management for JPMorgan Chase & Co., Global Program manager within Asset Wealth Management Technology for JPMorgan Chase & Co., founder of Boss Up My Career and consultant and founder of Masterminds, LLC. 

She is one of eight alumnae being honored by the University of Memphis Alumni Association at the 40th Distinguished Alumni Awards. The event is Saturday, June 4, presented by Lowe’s. It is set to begin at 6 p.m. with a VIP welcome, followed by dinner and an awards presentation beginning at 7 p.m. at the Maxine A. Smith University Center on the UofM campus. 

The university is recognizing McClain for her community impact and work, which is extensive. From the time she was a student to the present, she has worked to grow herself and others. 

As a student, McClain founded the U of M Masterminds to talk about financial literacy. She wanted to increase not only financial literacy but entrepreneurship on campus and was able to bring students of different disciplines together for knowledge sharing. Since then, she has hosted community programs helping people navigate and understand the legal system, volunteered and raised money for community initiatives, and worked as a consultant for other young professionals to help them network and advance in their careers. 

“I keep in contact with several of the former members of U of M Masterminds, and we have partnered on consulting projects together, which was also another goal of bringing such a diverse group together,” she said. 

Originally, McClain applied to five schools for her post-high school education, including Duke and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She was accepted to all five schools and wanted to move away from home. 

“They say we make plans, and God laughs,” she said.

As she was applying for colleges, McClain found out she was pregnant with her oldest daughter and decided to stay home, close to family. 

“I know in my soul that it was meant for me to do so,” she said. “(The decision) helped drive every other critical advancement in my life, thereafter, creating opportunities early on in my career that were the foundational stepping stones that have led me where I am today. I’m not done yet! There’s still so much to do.”

McClain graduated cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Memphis in 2011. She earned her MBA from the University of Memphis in 2017 while working for FedEx Services as a project manager in sales technology. 

“I chose finance in school because I had a very basic finance knowledge. The most (financial) education I had from parents was balancing a checkbook, but I wanted to know how to grow your money. I was fueled by that, especially being a young mother. How do I build this for my child?”

One of her biggest career goals is to leave a legacy her children can be proud of, and wealth that they can leverage and grow for future generations. She wants to teach as many children as how to hone their talent into promise and profit. And teach as many adults as she can how to think like children again and believe that anything is possible.

McClain said she is honored to receive the alumni award from the University of Memphis and that while its impact is significant, she is most proud of the impact and contributions within her circle of family and friends. 

The alumni awards event is sold out, but those with questions can email contact [email protected].

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