, the 2013-2014 Citi Leadership & Ethics Distinguished Fellow and former director of the US Treasury Department’s Office of Thrift Supervision, met with students and faculty this month. During a special lecture to undergraduate students, hosted by NYU Stern's Business & Society Program Area
and supported by the Citi Foundation
, Seidman shared her career history, including positions in law, finance, government and the private sector. She encouraged students to explore nontraditional paths.
Seidman challenged students to think broadly about how business can help tackle two issues that have remained central in her career – community development and consumer financial services. Starting with community development, Seidman listed a number of challenges and opportunities in the field:
- How do organizations with different systems and structures work together to tackle big issues? For example, hospitals and law enforcement agencies benefit significantly from housing programs. Is it possible to reallocate money from Medicare and police precincts to local housing programs?
- How do you improve quality-of-life in areas with a high concentration of low-income groups? How do you give a voice to underrepresented communities? What role do elected officials play in advocating for underrepresented groups? How does a community prioritize its issues?
- How do you move the needle when it comes to poverty in the United States?
- Is “school choice” a positive or a negative for a community?
- How do you conduct long-term planning for a community? How do investment decisions for public transportation get made?
Turning to consumer financial services, Seidman outlined several key principles to enable sustainable and profitable businesses:
- Embrace inclusion – ensure access to financial services
- Build trust – develop financial products that are mutually beneficial to businesses and banks and communicate all essential information
- Promote success – create default settings on financial products that benefit the consumer
- Create opportunity
The Stern-Citi Distinguished Fellows Program
identifies business leaders whose proven track records exemplify how business and government can address some of the world’s most intractable problems, including poverty, homelessness and environmental concerns, and stimulate sustainable economic growth.
Learn more about Ellen Seidman
and the Stern-Citi Leadership & Ethics Program