Jay Snider - two photos next to each other, one now and one as his younger self

Letter to my younger self: Jay Snider

16 February 2024

In the latest in our series of letters from Barclays colleagues, Jay Snider shares how a ‘bring your child to work’ day changed his life, what Black History Month means to him – and why it’s essential “not to live life simply for yourself”. 

Dear Jay,

Growing up in the Bronx, New York, with your mom, dad and older brother, you’ll learn to believe that things don’t just happen to you – they happen for you.

When you are around eight years old, attending a ‘bring your child to work’ day will change your life. You’ll go with your mom to her downtown office and notice a group of men in suits. They’ll have a presence that you’ll want for yourself. You’ll find out they work on Wall Street – and from then on, you will be determined to join their ranks.

At your first job, you’ll have a phenomenal mentor who will take the time to train you. It will be the first time you experience such a strong example of leadership in a professional setting. He’ll teach you how to engage others and lead by example. His influence will be instrumental – even now, you consider what he would do in the face of certain situations.

Unfortunately, you’ll experience challenges in your personal and professional life, including racial discrimination and even police brutality. Through it all, you’ll return to the lessons from your upbringing, focusing on perseverance and seeing things through. You’ll use moments of conflict as a springboard to strive for greatness.

Your hard work and determination will pay off, and you’ll find yourself being a mentor to others, offering guidance similar to what you were given. 

At approximately one year old, Jay sits with his older brother, around age seven.

Jay (left) says he grew up very close with his older brother (right), who he considered his “first superhero”.

Jay smiles for a photo with his family.

Jay with his parents and brother.

Against the backdrop of MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, US, Jay smiles alongside his brother, nephew and son.

Joined by his brother, nephew and son, Jay attends a football game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, US.

Over the following years, you’ll build a successful career working across different banks and as an independent consultant. Then one day, at your son’s basketball practice, you’ll meet someone who works at Barclays and find out about a job opportunity. Before you know it, you’ll be back at the bank leading your former team, where you’ll help colleagues feel valued through appreciation events and learning sessions. Everything will come full circle.

You’ll grow up very close with your brother, your first superhero. His passing in 2020 will be extremely difficult, and to this day, it’s something you still struggle with. But talking about him and recalling positive memories will sustain you. Most importantly, you’ll make sure you share his story with his two sons, your nephews.

Jay at his wedding with his brother, who was his best man.

Jay shares how he has dealt with his brother’s passing by “talking about him and recalling positive memories”.

A holiday photo of Jay, his wife and four children.

Jay with his wife and four children, who he considers his “role models”.

Look to celebrate life. You’ll mourn losses and experience failure – but keep moving forward. The best advice I can give you is not to live life simply for yourself. Your wife and four children will be your role models, teaching you every day to embrace difference. Treat everyone equally, no matter their job title. Be comfortable being uncomfortable, and above all, don’t be afraid to fail.

I’m sharing this letter during Black History Month in the US. I think of it as an opportunity to showcase the experiences and accomplishments of African Americans, but I’m proud to celebrate our heritage and history every day – it’s important to share this knowledge with others. American history is Black history, so keep marking it – throughout the year.


Need to know

Jay Snider has built an impressive career throughout his two decades in the financial services industry. His first mentor is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated – one of the first incorporated Black Fraternities in the US – which helped inspire Jay to join. After initially working at an investment bank as an analyst in 2008, he spent several years working in other roles before returning to the bank in 2022 as US Prime Finance Onboarding Director of Barclays Capital. Based in New York, US, he enjoys spending time with his wife and supporting their four children in their hobbies which include basketball, football, baseball, cheerleading, track, and theatre.