On Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. Fairfield Dolan will present this year’s Dolan Lecture featuring Synchrony CEO Margaret Keane. The annual Fairfield Dolan Lecture series spotlights highly accomplished, visionary, and internationally recognized business leaders. The event will be held online and is open to the public. For registration details please visit the webinar registration page.
Keane will share insights during a discussion entitled, “From the Call Center to the C-Suite: A Conversation with One of Fortune's Most Powerful Women.” President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, will welcome Keane, and the event will be co-moderated by Dean Zhan Li, DBA, and Fairfield University Board of Trustees member Kristin (Dodge) McMahon ’87,P’21,’20, senior vice president for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company/Ironshore, Inc.
At a young age, Keane experienced firsthand the impact of losing a family member and the resulting financial strain. She put herself through college by working three jobs, one of which was in a bank call center. It was this role that has continued to inspire her career. After graduating from college, she joined a management training program while pursuing her MBA, attending classes five nights a week. Today, Keane is one of the most powerful women in finance and banking, leading Synchrony — a global, publicly traded consumer financial services company. Principled and values-led, Keane is a leader deeply committed to empowering financial resiliency for all those she serves.
At Synchrony, Keane has built a culture of caring, inclusion, and innovation at every level, while balancing the needs of all stakeholders, partners, customers, communities, shareholders, and more than 16,500 employees. She has been instrumental in accelerating Synchrony’s growth since the company’s successful initial public offering in 2014, and separation from GE in 2015.
Keane’s passion for emerging technology, innovation, and employee development has solidified her reputation as a top leader in financial services. She has been recognized as one of Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” for the past five years, and American Banker’s “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance” for the past thirteen years. Fortune also included her on their “Businessperson of the Year” list in 2016 and 2019.
Prior to Synchrony’s founding, Keane worked for 18 years at GE Capital, where she led the retail card platform as president and CEO. She later expanded her responsibilities to become president and CEO of the GE Capital North American retail finance business. Earlier, she held leadership roles spanning consumer finance, vendor financial services, operations, and quality. Keane spent the first 16 years of her career at Citibank in various leadership roles.
As president of the Synchrony Foundation, Keane is dedicated to giving back to her community. She developed Synchrony’s citizenship platform, “Families That Work,” which supports non-profits that provide assistance to low and moderate-income working families. She also serves on the board and is passionately committed to the work of buildOn, among other organizations.
Keane earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA from St. John’s University, and is a member of the St. John’s University Board of Trustees. She is married with two children.
The Fairfield Dolan Lecture coincides with Women’s History Month and Fairfield University’s 2020-21 celebration of 50 years of coeducation, a commemoration of the women who have made their mark on our community over the past five decades.