Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty Years of Service to the Student

Alumni

Alumni Q & A: Keith Mestrich K’89

Keith Mestrich K’89 Keith Mestrich K’89

Q: What career did you pursue after graduation?​

I thought that I wanted a career in politics or government.  The first job I landed was working for the labor movement which launched a 25 year career. I worked for the AFL-CIO as a corporate researcher and analyst.  I then moved from Washington to New York and spent nearly a decade working for a union called UNITE where I became the Chief of Staff and then spent 5 years at the nation’s largest private sector union – the Service Employees International Union – where I was the Chief Financial Officer.

In 2012 I joined the staff at the Amalgamated Bank, which is the nation’s only majority-owned union bank.  I started there as the director of the bank’s Washington Region and in 2014 I became the Bank’s President and CEO.

Q: What successes have you experienced after K?

Nothing has been more rewarding than turning around a troubled company and returning it to profitability.  The greatest aspect has been marrying my managerial skills with my love and passion for progressive causes.  Amalgamated has become the go to bank for not just unions, but for non-profit organizations, progressive advocacy groups and the Democratic Party and its candidates.  Earning the business of the Hillary Clinton campaign for the presidency was a huge victory and quite rewarding.

Q: How did your time at K prepare you for your work?

K was a great training ground.  I was fortunate enough to intern with Senator Ted Kennedy when I was a sophomore.  That gave me my first exposure to Washington and I was pretty hooked.  Studying abroad was eye-opening in so many ways – it was that semester that I learned a lot about the world, a lot about our own country, and an enormous amount about who I was as a man. Additionally, taking courses in a variety of disciplines opened my eyes to the diversity of opinions and points of view that are so very critical to understanding how things work, critically analyzing situations, and being able to create multiple problem-solving strategies.

Q: What is your advice for current graduating seniors?

Take chances.  Be bold.  Keep an open mind about everything.  Never let anyone tell you can’t do something.  And most importantly, remember to be kind in everything you do – it matters in life in more ways than you can ever imagine.

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Alumni Q & A: Keith Mestrich K’89