Lela Wingard Hughes ’77

Lela Wingard Hughes '77
Alumni Representative

Lela Wingard Hughes is the fifth of six children born to the late Jesse and Alice Wingard, natives of rural Alabama who moved to Ohio during the Great Migration to provide greater opportunities for their family. Ms. Wingard was raised in Elyria and Oberlin, Ohio, and was brought up in Second Baptist Church of Elyria. She and her family currently reside in Somerset, NJ where she is a member of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens.

Lela has thirty-eight years of experience in the banking industry including thirty-two at JPMorgan Chase Bank, from which she retired in October 2017. She led the bank’s community reinvestment program for over fifteen years. In her role, Lela served as a thought leader, technical expert, and strong advocate for helping to meet the needs of lower-income, as well as minority, communities. She is highly regarded for her community development subject matter expertise, strong fiscal and compliance discipline, communications skills, and strategic leadership.

In addition to leading community reinvestment work, throughout her career Lela served as an advocate for diversity and inclusion providing insight, guidance, and mentorship for employees. She was also a member of the Chase Black Executive Forum which was comprised of the firm’s senior black leaders.

Ms. Wingard has a long history of active participation in industry organizations where she maintained a strong focus on the intersection of policy, regulation, and practice. Among those organizations were the Consumer Bankers Association Community Reinvestment Act Committee, the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition Banker Community Collaborative Council. She has also served in a leadership capacity with a number of community organizations including as a trustee of the National Urban League and board member for Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC. She currently serves on the board of New Destiny Housing in NYC. Lela is a life member of the National Council of Negro Women and of the NAACP.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Care Administration from Fisk University and a Master of Science degree in Marketing from the University Wisconsin – Madison.