Five things to know about Racquel Oden, the first woman to shape Black futures from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

BY Preta Peace Namasaba January 15, 2024 4:06 PM EDT
Racquel Oden of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Photo Credit: The Network Journal

Merrill Lynch alum Racquel Oden has been appointed as the chair of the board of trustees for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). She is the first woman to hold the position in the organization’s 37-year history.

Oden is presently the Head of Wealth and Personal Banking for HSBC Bank USA.

The TMCF is named after the Supreme Court’s first African-American Justice, Thurgood Marshall. It is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools.

Here are five things you should know about about Oden:

1. She is an HBCU graduate
Oden earned her MBA from the historically-Black Hampton University. She is in a prime position to advocate for diversity at a time when diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI] ideals are being attacked.

She is already on the trajectory of giving opportunities to deserving minorities as she indicated in a 2016 interview.

“I hire more than 1,700 advisors a year and I’ve made it a commitment to put diversity at the forefront of my job.” she told The Network Journal.

Her HBCU credentials makes her the appropriate leader of one of the national associations representing the perspective of HBCUs.

2. Oden has thrived in a male-dominated field
Oden began working as a Wall Street trader as soon as she was out of grad school. Her first job was as an associate in equity trading at Morgan Stanley. It was a common thing in investment banking to meet the clients and go out to golf games. Oden didn’t play golf and felt left out because she wasn’t being invited. She has learned to adapt to the culture of the business to build a thriving career.

3. She was responsible for $980 billion investments and deposits
As Head of National Sales for Chase Consumer Banking, Oden had direct responsibility for over $980 billion in deposits and investments. She led more than 40, 000 employees and was responsible for servicing over 20 million customers. Before that, she was Managing Director – Northeast Division and managed JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Consumer Banking and Wealth Management business. She served 4.9 million customers with over $300 billion in deposits and investments and oversaw 10,000 associates and advisors.

4. TCMF represents the best of Black America for Oden
Oden also views the TMCF as the most solid vehicle for educational opportunities for young Black people.

“TMCF represents 80% of all students attending HBCUs. As a board member for the past 16 years, I’ve supported TMCF as it promotes access, equity, and inclusion by nurturing the growth of talent from HBCUs through scholarships and leadership development. I am excited to build on that legacy of service as the first woman to step into the role,” Oden said of her appointment.

5. She is a dedicated civic leader
Although Oden is the first woman to chair the fund, it was founded by a woman, Dr. N. Joyce Payne. Dr Payne established the organization in 1987 to financially support Black students who wanted to pursue higher education. But Oden continues the founder’s legacy and vision of equity in other aspects of her life.

In addition to corporate governance and the fund, Oden is involved in other civic initiatives. She is the Executive Board Member and Treasurer for the National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP). Oden is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council and the Financial Women’s Association (FWA).