Glenda McNeal

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Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships, Establishment Services, American Express Co. • New York, N.Y.

Glenda McNeal has known many triumphs. She is a top executive at one of the country’s biggest conglomerates, a recipient of one of American Express Co.’s 150 Great Citizen Awards, winner of the 2002 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award from the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, winner of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Dillard University, recipient of the Women of Power and Grace Award from the Race for Success Foundation, a mother and a cancer survivor. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence,” she says, quoting Helen Keller.

McNeal became senior vice president of global partnerships in Establishment Services at American Express Co. in July 2003, managing the company’s largest and most complex customer relationships and leading efforts to expand the customer base and revenue opportunities as well as create strategic partnerships with big merchants and industry associations. A graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans and of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, she began her career at Arthur Andersen & Co. as an auditor. She was a mortgage specialist at Salomon Brothers in Chicago before joining American Express.

McNeal attributes her achievements to a “significant personal and professional support system” of friends and mentors, to the support of her husband, Philip, and to the values, confidence and self-esteem she learned from her parents. Away from American Express, she serves on the boards of the New York Urban League, the Harlem School of the Arts and the Pepsi Ethnic Consumer Advisory Board, and is a trustee of Dillard University and a member of the Executive Leadership Council and the Junior League of Montclair/Newark, N.J.

If she had the time and money, she says, she would do more volunteer work with children at risk, with cancer support and “sit on a beach in St. Bart’s [in the Caribbean].”

—T.G.