Affiliated with:

Kendall Keeling

VP, Strategy, and Execution – Data and Analytics

20+ Years of Experience in Financial Services, Modeling and Analytics, Risk Management, and Data Strategy

  • In-depth knowledge of modeling application and quantitative analysis
  • Specialist in analytics translation
  • Experience as a Chief Risk Officer
  • Skills include Predictive Analytics, Strategy Design and Implementation, Collections Strategy, Data Mining, Subprime lending, Small Business Lending, Fraud Prevention and Management, Credit Cards, Data Governance, Strategic Initiatives, Consumer Education, Credit Risk SME

What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?

I worked for years in analytics and risk management, designing solutions with credit data.  Much of my career was with lenders, which really helped me understand the power of data, and how important accuracy and quality is to great solutions.  When an opportunity came up to work with a national credit reporting agency, supporting a major asset like the Consumer Database, I jumped at it.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?

COVID-19 sent the world and the economy reeling. When the pandemic first emerged, there was a need to collaborate with the federal government and our industry to design the credit reporting guidelines in the Cares Act. It was critical to the lending ecosystem that we provided clarity and flexibility for lenders to contribute information that accurately reflected their payment accommodations throughout this trying time.  I don’t know if that’s my greatest accomplishment, but it was a great experience to be part of the solution.

What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?

Educating the users of the data on the importance of sustainability and accuracy is certainly the top ongoing challenge.  I often use a forest as an analogy to our databases.  There must be the equivalent of the Forestry Service that plants new trees, prevents forest fires, etc. for the data.  If that guardianship is absent, the value of the data is diminished.  The other challenge is weighing the short-term needs of the users against the long-term needs of the databases.  The two challenges are, of course, very closely related.  These challenges are certainly not unique to my industry.  They require a strong voice to champion “the bigger picture” and as much leadership support as possible.  Compromises are always needed, but it is important to be able to clearly identify the risks.  If the data is not accurate and complete, the models and strategies will reflect that.

How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?

I think that the business leaders in the industry will need to become more invested in the value and governance of the data. I would like to see it become a strategic imperative.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I just changed roles, so I plan to ride this wave to the shore.

What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far?  Why has it been so important to you?

Don’t back down on what you believe in.  You can change the tone of the message, but if it goes unheard too long, you should change roles. This is important to me because I don’t want to lose my passion for this type of work.

Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?

I love movies, especially horror movies.  In my spare time, I produce and direct independent films.  Skills that I have learned in the corporate world are very useful on a film set.

If you have any questions about this interview, or if we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to contact us [email protected]

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