Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 17, KeyCorp's Amy Brady

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Chief Information Officer and Technology and Operations Executive, KeyCorp

Amy Brady wants people to know that you don’t need to head to Silicon Valley for a high-tech job. The chief information officer of KeyCorp is keen to spread the word about tech opportunities in Cleveland.

In 2018, Brady got involved in the Blockland Initiative in the city in what was initially an effort to create an ecosystem of employers and colleges to capitalize on the emergence of blockchain technologies. It was eventually widened, however, to encompass all types of tech innovations.

“It started off as a discussion about how to not let blockchain technology pass us by,” she said. “It has become an effort in how to put technology on the map in Cleveland, so for people who grow up here, they don’t have to leave for the West Coast to get a job.”

Brady serves on the executive committee of Blockland Cleveland and co-chairs its talent node committee, which is intended to foster workforce training at local organizations.

Brady can list the many ways the Ohio city should be considered a tech magnet. Naturally that includes $140-billion-asset KeyCorp, which has invested billions of dollars in upgrading its tech capabilities; much of that spending went to hiring tech talent.

Cleveland also boasts several large companies that rely heavily on technology innovations and employ tech talent by the hundreds, including insurance giant Progressive and the Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation’s top healthcare providers.

“We are a place where, if you want to innovate, you can do that,” she said.

The Blockland initiative also hasn’t forgotten its original mission tied to blockchain.

“An entrepreneur, if they’re working with blockchain and want access to a corporate chief information officer, they can do that” through Blockland, Brady said.

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The city also boasts a solid foundation of higher education, from research-minded institutions to community colleges, to deliver tech skills to Cleveland’s younger generations. Case Western Reserve University maintains a doctorate program in computer engineering, for example, while a local community college offers a certificate program in blockchain coding, she said.

Brady also wants to get the word out among Cleveland’s newly-minted college graduates that entering the world of technology doesn’t preclude them from other career paths in the business world. If anything, the opposite is true, she said.

“The day that you’re a business leader if you’re running the retail bank and you’re not a business leader if you’re a tech person, those days are gone,” Brady said. “I consider myself as much a business leader as a technology leader as an operations leader. You have to be all of those things today.”

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