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Meet Jessica Watson, Fidelity's University Relationship Manager Supporting HBCU Engagement

Meet Jessica Watson, Fidelity
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper on June 05, 2024

Jessica leads our historically black colleges & universities (HBCUs) engagement efforts for University Talent at Fidelity Investments. She and the Global D&I strategy team recently hosted HBCU Day at Fidelity’s Durham, NC, campus, where she moderated a career panel of Fidelity HBCU alumni who shared their journeys and insights with an audience of engaged HBCU students and faculty. Read on to learn about Jessica and how she is leading efforts to showcase Fidelity as a welcoming and inclusive company in which you can both launch and grow a meaningful career.

Hi Jessica! What was your experience before coming to Fidelity?

Prior to starting at Fidelity, I began my professional career as a higher education administrator at Howard University, a top HBCU. Through my years of serving students on campus, I began to better understand the barriers that students face while navigating life post-graduation, which inspired my pivot into corporate America. I then spent time at a regional accounting firm developing skills in full-cycle campus recruiting, which ultimately prepared me for my current, more niche role here at Fidelity.


How did you find out about your current role, and why did you ultimately decide to come to Fidelity?

I came across my current role while browsing LinkedIn. As I’ve shared with my personal community and interview panel, this role is the perfect culmination of all my professional experience. This role provides me with the privilege to continue serving HBCU communities, but in a different capacity. What largely influenced my decision to accept a job at Fidelity was the opportunity to take on the challenge of growing and developing in a newly created role. I’ll also add that Fidelity provides competitive compensation and benefit packages for their employees and provides the flexibility to balance both a fulfilling professional and personal life.


What do you do in your role, and what does your day-to-day look like? Why do you like your job?

My role was established to further develop Fidelity’s relationships with HBCUs from the lens of University Talent, which ultimately contributes to the diversity of our talent pipeline. What I love most about my job is that no day looks the same! I work collaboratively on a team with other university relationship managers to manage the overall University Talent school engagement strategy. I spend a lot of time visiting HBCU campuses to build brand awareness, promote our early career programs, and provide professional development support to students. I directly support our Global D&I efforts as a member of the HBCU strategy team, which supports talent acquisition and retention of our current associates. What’s also great about my role is the exposure I have to so many different communities and individuals within Fidelity. I’ve met hundreds of people since starting my role a few months ago, all of whom have played a role in my success and the progression of what can be very sensitive work.


How did HBCU Day come about? From your perspective, did it achieve your objectives?

HBCU Day came about as an extension of a previously held event at our NC regional site. Last year, we hosted approximately 40 NC Central University students because it was the closest HBCU in proximity to our office. This year, we were able to extend an invitation to students and faculty from six HBCUs to visit our regional site for a full day of engagement. From the planning process to the day-of execution, this event proved itself to be very impactful, not only to students who could be future candidates but also to our current associates. This day was full of community building, mentorship, forming of new relationships, and most of all, transparency about how your background and experience as an HBCU student manifests into working as a professional in corporate America. We got a lot of great feedback from the attendees, too: “I learned a lot of valuable things needed for the workplace. I was able to network and connect with others, which could be beneficial for moving forward after college,” and “Everything went so well. I really enjoyed my time here with Fidelity and want to work there.”


How did your HBCU experience help shape your professional career?

I describe HBCUs as incubators, or safe spaces, where Black-identifying individuals are provided the opportunity to develop personally, intellectually, and professionally. Outside of my degree, I graduated with several skills in my toolbox, including public speaking, relationship management, conflict resolution, event planning, risk management, and more! My HBCU experience helped me understand the importance of feeling a sense of belonging, which in turn has afforded me the skillset to offer that to others as a professional. My HBCU experience had such a big impact on my life that I decided immediately upon graduation that I wanted to continue serving that community as an educator, and presently, as a university relationship manager here at Fidelity.


Will you share some insights from the panel that you moderated?
  • Challenges will always exist. Your response to those challenges is what matters.
  • Mentorship and sponsorship are vital to your success, especially for those from historically marginalized backgrounds.
  • Intentional community building is a proven method of retention. Fidelity has a strong presence of HBCU community, especially in the NC office.
  • Bringing your authentic self to work does not negate the importance of professionalism.


Want to learn more about Fidelity and the opportunities available? Click here!

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