Coming Home

The property information that Paige Baker, a self-professed data person, has helped to gather and manage over the last 22 years at JPMorgan Chase have played a part in ensuring the firm has the most up-to-date information across the global real estate portfolio. 

The Columbus, Ohio-based Baker first joined the firm in 2000 after a seven-year stint reviewing leases and helping to close multi-family and commercial real estate refinancing deals. In 2022, she left to pursue an opportunity working on a grocery store retailer’s real estate team. But the separation from JPMorgan Chase was short-lived.

She rejoined the firm’s real estate team in 2023. It feels like home, Baker says. Now, in her new role as Retail Design and Construction (D&C) operations manager, she helps ensure real estate construction projects are run efficiently and looks for opportunities to streamline processes. “Our broader team is essentially a real estate company within the bank,” says Baker.

The D&C team heads up new branch construction projects, decommissioning of closed ones, ATM installations and removals, and manages branch maintenance projects. Baker heard about the role while at a gathering with former Chase colleagues. An employee at JPMC whom she kept in touch with knew Baker and texted to ask her if she was interested in returning.

“I missed my team and the environment,” Baker says. “It truly is like a work family, and it felt so good to come back.” Baker joined other long-time JPMorgan Chase employees on the real estate team, including one who recently celebrated 45 years at the firm.

Currently, Baker is working on building a new database of branch-related data that will help with capital planning. “It will help us understand on a more granular level what elements exist within each of our 4,700+ branches. We’ll have better visibility into what hasn’t been touched in a while, what updates were made, which branch might need a refresh now,” she says. 

Meanwhile, Baker is now completing a bucket-list item with JPMorgan Chase’s help: completing her undergraduate degree in business administration. She’s using the firm’s Guild benefit, which gives employees access to tuition-free programs, and she should graduate next year. “Chase has always been so supportive,” Baker says.

In the last several years, Baker has also tried her hand as an entrepreneur. During the height of the pandemic, when her Covid baking hobby didn’t pan out, she began to handcraft small-batch artisan soaps in her basement. Baker experimented with colors and scents and produced hundreds of bars of soap she then sold at local farmers’ markets. 

At the end of last year, Baker dissolved her soap-making company. But she still ventures into the basement to make the occasional batch and has close to 100 bars left. She has been known to give soap to colleagues as holiday gifts.

Now back for just over a year, she says she’s where she should be. “I came back where I belong, and I don’t plan on going anywhere else until I retire,” Baker says.

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