The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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Arleas Upton Kea

Term: 2014 —2017

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Arleas Upton Kea provides strategic direction for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) nation-wide human resources, contracting and facilities operations and programs.  She also oversees the management of the conference facilities and training center in Northern Virginia. 

The FDIC, under Ms. Kea’s leadership, has developed a variety of innovative HR and employee support programs and these programs significantly contributed to the agency being recognized in 2010 as one of the best places to work in the Federal Government.  Ms. Kea received the Tele-Vision award for her innovation and forward thinking approach to the implementation of telework at the FDIC.  Ms. Kea’s leadership in outreach to investors and contractors serves as a model for the Federal Government, setting the pattern for partnering and contracting with women and minority owned businesses.

Ms. Kea has testified on behalf of the FDIC before the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, regarding the FDIC’s experience in pay banding and pay for performance systems.  She is widely recognized for her leadership in creating and implementing the FDIC’s first Diversity Strategic Plan and the creation and implementation of its Corporate University.  Ms. Kea has also led her agency’s recent efforts on culture change, career development for clerical and technical employees and sponsors and participates in FDIC’s highly successful mentoring program.  She is a sponsor of several employee affinity groups, including the Toastmasters and Administrative Professional Women’s’ Network.  Ms. Kea also manages a number of formal and informal programs within the FDIC that promote an inclusive environment for all employees and improve cross-cultural awareness.

Ms. Kea has enjoyed a long, distinguished career at the FDIC.  Prior to her current position, she served as the FDIC's Ombudsman.  In that capacity, she fulfilled a critical role for FDIC and the banking community through her effective liaison with bankers, industry representatives, community groups and other members of the public.  Ms. Kea's success in this role was evident through her selection as Chairman of the Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen and her receipt of the Vice President's National Performance Review prestigious Hammer Award for her contributions to Federal Ombudsmen programs.  Her approach to the Ombudsman's role in brokering relationships between the public and regulatory agencies still serves as a model today throughout the government.

Prior to serving as FDIC Ombudsman, Ms. Kea was an active member of FDIC's legal community.  She began her legal career as a staff attorney and quickly advanced to the senior positions of Assistant General Counsel and Acting Deputy General Counsel during the height of the 1990’s banking crisis.  During this time, Ms. Kea successfully handled numerous high-profile, complex cases involving professional liability litigation, failed financial institution matters, and labor-management issues.

Ms. Kea received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas Law School, and completed the program of Instruction for Lawyers at Harvard Law School and the Program for Senior Managers in Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with honors from the University of Texas..