Jessica Gaffney, Managing Director, COO of Human Resources

Jessica Gaffney

Managing Director, COO of Human Resources

Human Resources


Years in Industry


Area of Focus

People Strategy, Operations and HR Information Systems


BA in English Literature, SUNY Binghamton

Juris Doctor, St. John’s University

What do you do at Mizuho? 

As the COO of the Human Resources Division, my team is responsible for developing the HR plans and strategies in support of the business objectives of the firm. From design to development and implementation, we focus on how HR services are delivered, with the goals of driving efficiency, consistency, effectiveness, and compliance for all HR services.

How is Mizuho different from other places you've worked? 

As Mizuho continues to grow, there is no shortage of opportunities to make a positive impact. Our leaders are always open and supportive of new ideas, and as a result, I have been able to step into a number of different roles during my time here, including risk management, strategy, and now human resources. In every role, I was proactive in raising my hand for different initiatives, approached new challenges head on, and saw projects through from inception to execution, which has been a very rewarding experience.

What’s a particularly proud moment you’ve had here? 

Navigating and coordinating the COVID-19 response and reintegration efforts for Mizuho Americas. It was a great opportunity and experience to work closely with the executive management team to plan our response. We worked diligently to listen to our colleagues, empathize with their challenges, and provide the right programs and policies to help them navigate this unprecedented time.

What skill or competency do you feel you've enhanced while at Mizuho? 

Effective Communication. Timely and transparent communication has been critical in implementing so much change and transformation over the last few years. Following the lead of our executives, I have found it critically important to not only communicate why we are undertaking certain activities but how what we do as a department and as individuals can contribute to the overall strategic objectives of the firm.

How would you describe Mizuho's culture and people? 

We put people first. We truly believe that differing perspectives and experiences are essential to ensuring meaningful organizational transformation. We’ve undergone a tremendous amount of change in my five years at the firm, and I think this can largely be attributed to the fact that our leaders act with empathy and insight, and have the courage to ask difficult questions, listen, and shape their decisions based on this feedback.

Tell us about something you've learned from another culture while traveling. 

In 2019, I had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda and hike through the jungle. On our way, we were walking through a local village as a group of children who were heading to school. Their excitement to meet us, ask us questions, and sing us songs is something I will never forget. It reminded me of an article I once read by former President Barack Obama where he said: “Travel also reminds us of what we share and what we have become – the ability for us to recognize ourselves in each other.” While visually that village in Rwanda could not have been more different than New York City, during that moment, it made me feel as if I was not so far away at all.

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