The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Division of Student Services

Konrad Alt

Class year: 1981
Major: Political Science
Company/organization: Promontory Financial Group, LLC
Job title: Managing Director
Company URL: www.promontory.com
Email: kalt@promontory.com

I would love to connect with students. In addition or instead of attending the Schmooze, I am available for one:one meetings during the weekend. Drop me an email and we'll arrange a time to meet. I arrive on Friday.

How did you get where you are? (e.g., education, brief work history, mentors)

I continued my education at Harvard Law School (J.D.) and the Kennedy School of Government (M.P.P.).  Graduating from both programs in 1987, I joined a law firm and soon began working on a series of matters related to the savings and loan crisis.  Finding the crisis interesting, I sought a position where I could get deeper into its public policy dimensions and found one on the staff of the Senate Banking Committee.  I spent four years there, working on a series of major financial services bills, then was asked to join the Clinton administration as a senior bank regulatory official (Senior Deputy Comptroller at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a bureau of the Treasury Department).  I remained in that position through the first Clinton administration, then relocated to the west coast, working first as a senior vice president at Golden West Financial (mortgage lending) (1996-99), then as an executive vice president at Providian Financial (credit card lending) (1999-2004).  I opened Promontory's San Francisco office in the spring of 2004 and oversee our business in the western United States.  My primary areas of expertise are financial services policy, compliance, risk management and communications, including media relations. I am a frequent public speaker and media source, and have authored - usually ghost-authored - many articles and speeches.

What lessons have you learned along the way that you'd like to pass on to current Reed students?

Although I didn't recognize it at the time, I picked up some of the most valuable skills I learned at Reed outside the classroom.  By leading campus organizations, or working in student government, you can learn skills that are incredibly valuable in any organization, public or private: how to motivate others, how to build support for an idea, how to plan a meeting, how to get a group to make a decision, etc. 

I also learned soon after I graduated that networking can be fun and that people, not my resume, would be my greatest asset in finding work.  People like to be asked what they do, and they enjoy opportunities to be helpful.  Be curious, be persisitent, be fearless, be patient, and be yourself.

In what ways you think you can help Reed students?

I  am happy to share my experience with Reed students interested in thinking about careers in government, finance, law, or communications.  In some cases, I may be able to put students in touch with other professionals, in or out of the Reed community, who could be useful in finding jobs or simply thinking about potential directions.

What else should students know about you? (e.g., volunteer engagement, avocations, interests)

I have been a committed volunteer for Reed for many years.  I founded and still lead an alumni fund-raising group, Alumni Fundraising for Reed, and serve on the board of trustees.  I formerly served on the alumni board, of which I was the president several years ago. 

My other major avocational interest is old-time music.  I helped support myself though college by giving banjo lessons and, during the summers, busking on the streets of San Francisco. I continue to play banjo, and a little fiddle, and am an active supporter of several organizations of infrastructural importance to the old-time music community.