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HSF Leaders

Jessica Palacios

  • Gender: Female
  • University: Duke University
  • Undergraduate Degree: English
  • University: New York University
  • Graduate Degree: MS, Human Capital Management
  • Hometown: New Jersey
  • Organization: BlackRock
  • Position Title: Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Talent Acquisition
  • HSF Leadership Role: HSF Advisory Council, New York

Jessica Palacios was born in New Jersey, to Colombian parents. Her mother’s odyssey includes moving to the US at age 16 and working in a factory to support herself.  

When Jessica was a very young child, her father passed away from a terminal illness. She was too young to remember his death, but she does recall how her mother dealt with the hardship that followed. “[My mother] could easily have given up, but she persevered,” Jessica said. “She was, and is to this day, the strongest, most resilient person I know.”

Jessica’s family suffered another blow when her aunt in Colombia became a victim of gun violence that rendered her a quadriplegic in need of constant care. Jessica says that although these tragedies tested the family’s resilience, financially and emotionally, they also had a positive impact on her, due to the examples set by her mother and aunt. “I draw my strength from these two incredible women, and that helps me persevere in the face of adversity, to keep climbing towards my goals, and to keep seeking ways to develop into the best possible version of myself. 

Jessica adds that her mother also made education a “ferocious priority.” “She did not want for me to have her life–to depend on anyone, for lack of education.”

With her family behind her and the help of scholarships, Jessica attended Duke University, earning a BA in English and a Certificate in Health Policy Law and Management. After a short period in a management training program, she found her passion in Human Resources, and attended New York University, where she graduated with an MS in Human Capital Management.

Today, she is head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for Talen Acquisition at BlackRock, a Fortune 500 firm that provides investment and risk management services. In her role, she leads a center of excellence established to drive and support DEI projects, partnerships, and practices. Prior to joining Blackrock, Jessica was a vice president, human resources business partner, at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Outside of her job, she is actively engaged with DEI by giving back to the community, with a special focus on immigrant families. A self-described “change agent,” she says it is her calling to share knowledge and assist these families.

Her involvement includes serving as a board member for the New York Chapter of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America), an organization whose mission is “to empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation, in every sector of the economy.”

She also serves on HSF’s New York Advisory Council and hopes that HSF’s support services will reach increasing numbers of students to keep pace with the expanding Latino population. “It is critical that as a fast-growing segment of the economy, we are poised to also become leaders in different industries,” she said. 

She advises soon-to-be college grads that “becoming a student at a prestigious university is only the first step. To stay ahead and stand out against your peers you must become a life-long learner and be open to new knowledge and experiences…a curious mind will propel you to meet interesting people, open your heart to others, and live your life more fully.”