Kathy O’Donnell ’90

  • Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Citizens Financial Group


Kathy O’Donnell is Senior Vice President, Head of Public Affairs for RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. She joined RBS Citizens in 1995 as a public relations manager. She was promoted to Vice President, Director of Public Relations in 2000 and was named Vice President, Director of the Rhode Island Public Affairs group in 2004. In 2005, she was promoted to Senior Vice President. She was promoted to her current role in 2009.

O’Donnell works with local public affairs teams throughout the company’s 12-state retail footprint. She manages Citizens Bank’s and Charter One’s charitable contributions, philanthropic activities, community outreach, and local sponsorships. Additionally, she oversees legacy programs such as Gear for Grades and Champions in Action®. O’Donnell serves as a key public affairs resource for RBS Citizens’ senior executives. She helps support the company’s strategic plan through its community- based, local delivery model by ensuring that RBS Citizens is actively engaged in the communities where it conducts business.Prior to her time at RBS Citizens, O’Donnell worked in the nonprofit sector and as a reporter.

O’Donnell is a board member of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and Day One. She chaired the development committee of Children’s Friend & Service in Providence, where she was also an agency board member from 2002 to 2009. She was a board member of RI’s Make- A-Wish Foundation affiliate from 1996 to 1998. O’Donnell is a graduate of the 2004 Omega Class of Leadership Rhode Island and the 2005 Babson Advanced Leadership Development Program. She is also a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in journalism and communications studies and a minor in psychology. She is a member of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Advisory Committee and serves on the university’s Alumni Association Board. In 2011, O’Donnell co-chaired the URI Alumni Gala. In 2006, O’Donnell was named to Providence Business News’ “40 Under Forty” list.

She and her husband, Bill White, live in South Kingstown, Rhode Island with their children Charlie and Molly.

Advice for Students

Internships, internships, internships! It matters and differentiates a student that has had real world experience in their pursuit of a job. Take advantage of the alumni association contacts that are very willing to meet with and help students and are dramatically underutilized as such.