One holiday season, my siblings and I decorated the Christmas tree. After a few hours of meticulous work, we finally finished, placed the angel on top, and turned on the lights. Then my two-year-old niece walked up and tugged on one of the ornaments. The whole tree came crashing down. The four of us stood there laughing, as our mom came running to see what in the world had happened.
Years later, Javier Evans had a much more successful outcome regarding a tree decorated for the holidays. "For three years while at Fidelity Investments, I worked with the Salvation Army on their holiday angel tree giving program," he recalls. Evans spearheaded a drive that provided 500 children per year with toys.
For Evans, it was a natural continuation of a charitable spirit he learned as a child. "I was taught that you should help those less fortunate and that building lasting friendships is important. My ability to build relationships and bring people together has served me very well in my career."
Suzanne Brienza, executive vice president of Human Resources for HSBC, agrees. In nominating Evans for the Eagle Award, she said, "He is one of those rare individuals who have the natural ability to make other people feel comfortable around him. His colleagues consistently comment that he is the ultimate team player."
Evans says he was also driven to become a leader as a way to overcome challenges early in his career. When he first entered the financial services industry, there were few African Americans in senior positions, and Evans often found himself the only African American in the room. "Gaining acceptance from my peers was often not easy," he recalls, "but I was determined. This drove me to want to be a leader so that I could effect change and pave the way for other African Americans."
His strength of purpose was recognized, and Evans was rewarded with huge leadership responsibility. Now, as vice president and senior relationship manager at HSBC Bank, he provides personalized banking services to clients and generates new business of $10 million in deposits and $10 million in loans. Meanwhile, his team contributes $42 million per year in net profits to their division's bottom line, and Evans is in charge of managing a $30 million deposit portfolio plus a $20 million loan portfolio of businesses and high-net-worth individuals.
Evans also co-chairs the African Heritage Committee (AHC) at HSBC, whose mission is to aid and promote the professional development of its members and provide a forum for open discussions of workplace issues and challenges. Evans was honored for his work with the first AHC Leadership Award for providing outstanding vision, leadership, and dedication to the group's core values.
"My life's purpose is to try to assist others and to make a difference in someone's life, especially the life of a child," he says. "I have always felt that we can change the world, one person at a time, through acts of kindness and generosity."
To that end, he recently participated in a volunteer program to clean up a vacant lot in Harlem and transform it into a garden, and he is the board president of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which provides arts programs for inner-city youth.
To nurture himself while accepting so many responsibilities for helping others, Evans spends as much time as possible with friends and family. "They manage to keep me focused and grounded," he acknowledges.
CareerFOCUS Magazine and the National Eagle Leadership Institute® salute 2010 Eagle Award winner Javier Evans.