Chief Information Officer, Technology and Operations Executive, KeyCorp

KeyCorp's $4.1 billion purchase of First Niagara is being hailed as a success, and Amy Brady deserves substantial credit.

Brady and her team were responsible for the behind-the-scenes technology integration. It was a process where a lot could go wrong. But Key says that the conversion was executed almost flawlessly, even as a host of other technology-related initiatives inside the company continued to move forward.

To manage the conversion process, Brady created a technology and operations command center that oversaw the integration of 50 work streams. She also coordinated a large training effort to ensure that employees were ready for the challenges they would face once the conversion was complete.

Throughout the process, Brady made sure to recognize the long hours that her employees were working. She provided food to staff on overnight shifts, flipped pancakes at team breakfasts, arranged chair massages for employees who were working over the weekend, and, in appreciation of the sacrifices being made by employees' family members, sent flowers to their homes.

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Also last year, Brady organized sessions where employees could share their feelings about the unrest triggered by police shootings in black communities across the United States. "While this was an unconventional topic to discuss at work, I firmly believe that the risk was worth the reward, creating a bond among employees and shaping a better community within the workplace," she said.

Brady's career in banking spans 30 years. She managed branches after college and eventually moved into various technology roles, rising through the ranks at Bank of America before joining Key in 2012.

"In the field of technology, there is something to learn every day," she said. "Whether it's big data or cognitive development or robotics or cybercrime, there is something new around every corner."