ARLEAS UPTON KEA
Arleas Upton Kea provides strategic direction for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) nation-wide human resources, contracting and facilities operations and programs. As Director of the FDIC’s Division of Administration, Ms. Kea leads the FDIC’s staffing, employee benefits and facilities programs for eight regional locations, 85 field offices and the FDIC Headquarters in Washington, DC. She also manages the FDIC’s conference facilities and training center in Northern Virginia. These facilities, owned, developed and managed under her direction, include a 12-story hotel/student residence facility, information technology center and state-of-the-art video teleconferencing rooms supporting national and international bank supervision, market regulation and educational initiatives.
Ms. Kea’s administration and oversight of all FDIC contracting activities provides support to over 8,200 employees and all failed bank receiverships throughout the nation. Contract awards average more than $2 billion annually as a result of the elevated number of bank failures and related growth in real estate, financial and other assets retained by the FDIC for management and sale. 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.
The FDIC, under Ms. Kea’s leadership, has developed a variety of innovative HR and employee support programs and these programs, coupled with its outstanding pay and benefits, significantly contributed to the agency being recognized in 2010 as one of the best places to work in the Federal Government. The agency’s telework and workplace culture initiatives have also received wide recognition in human resource and management circles. Ms Kea received the Tele-Vision award for her innovation and forward thinking approach to the implementation of telework at the FDIC.
Under Ms. Kea’s direction, the FDIC’s Arlington, Virginia conference center has become a major destination for hosting international discussions on deposit insurance and bank supervision and related financial services topics. It has served as the stage for assembling finance leaders from around the world as they discussed current economic problems, the need for regulating derivatives and other products, and forging international cooperation in the oversight of the financial marketplace.
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 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 she manages 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, Ms. Kea 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’s 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 1990s 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 remains active within the business and legal community and is highly sought after as a public speaker on a wide range of topics related to her background and experience. She has conducted workshops on Women in Leadership for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, actively participates in activities organized by the White House Initiatives for Historically Black Colleges, and has published in legal and professional journals. Ms. Kea is a member of the Board of Directors at her church, serves on the Ethics Subcommittee of the Montgomery County (MD) School Board and has served as a board member and volunteer at a local Washington area adoption agency.
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. Ms. Kea is a native of Schulenburg, a small German community, in south central Texas. She now resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with her family.