Veteran helps others find success after military service

A family history entrenched in service and community led Alex McKindra to the place in life where he is today — a position where he can help fellow veterans succeed in their post-military career ventures.

The McKindra family’s dedication to the military dates back to Alex’s great-great grandfather. His father retired from the military as a colonel, and McKindra graduated from West Point in 1993 as a captain and then completed a tour of duty as captain in the Air Force.

During his time at Los Angeles Air Force Base, McKindra was already planning his post-military career as he also pursued his masters from the University of Southern California during evenings and weekends.

“During my MBA studies, I found the coursework on corporate finance to be really interesting,” McKindra said. “So I decided to pursue a career in both investment and corporate banking once I graduated with the MBA and left the military.”

These days, investment and banking and the military cross paths for McKindra, who is the managing director and co-head of Veterans Initiatives for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking.

Program helps veteran entrepreneurs learn to grow businesses

Upon leaving the military, McKindra felt a strong sense of responsibility to help veterans succeed in their careers. That was inspired by his great-grandfather Reuben Frank McKindra, who funded and maintained a schoolhouse in his hometown of Union Chapel, Arkansas.

The elder McKindra moved his family to Union Chapel in the late 1800s and also started a family farm in the town that was originally settled by freed Black slaves.

In a JPMorgan Chase profile, McKindra talked of the opportunities his great-great grandfather provided community members in the form of mentorships, both to start and grow the family farm.

“I would not be in the position I am today if not for the opportunities that mentorship provided,” McKindra said. “The farm my family was able to start, through the support and mentorship of others, has helped to educate and put clothes on every generation of my family since the 1880s.”

His family’s military background made it natural for McKindra to help the many veterans who need a helping hand to find success in the business world after their military days are done.

“Paying it forward, to me, is very important because the transition from the military to the corporate world can be extremely challenging,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to build a strong network through my MBA program. However, other vets who leave the military don’t necessarily have that strong business network to tap into.”

After taking the co-head of Veteran Initiatives position, McKindra has worked with plenty of military peers through the many programs JPMorgan Chase offers. By serving, veterans acquire the leadership skills that can help them succeed in whatever they choose to after their military days are over.

“I strongly believe that veterans have the ability to be successful in any profession or business venture that they choose, just based on the leadership and teamwork skills which they gained in the military,” McKindra said. “In my view, veterans have the super power of both thinking quickly on their feet and finding creative solutions to solve any problems that are unexpected. Based on my experience, that’s foundational to being a successful business owner.”