Kelly McNamara Corley

Kelly McNamara Corley
Principal and Co-Founder

Kelly McNamara Corley served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Discover Financial Services, a leading consumer credit, payments and online banking company for nearly 20 years. Her responsibilities included serving on the firm’s ten-person Executive Leadership team responsible for the management and strategic direction of the Company. She was responsible for managing the Company’s legal, regulatory, public policy and compliance matters. As Corporate Secretary, Ms. McNamara Corley supported the Discover Board of Directors on Governance matters.  Prior to becoming General Counsel, Ms. McNamara Corley worked in Washington DC as Managing Director of Morgan Stanley’s and Dean Witter’s Global Government Relations Programs for 18 years.

Under Kelly’s leadership, Discover’s legal department was recognized for Pro Bono initiatives, Diversity and Inclusion, and Innovation. In 2019, Kelly was recognized at the Burton Awards in Washington DC with a “Legend in the Law” Award for her leadership in the field of Law. She also received the “Thought Leader of the Year” Global Counsel Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and Lexology.

She currently serves on the Boards of Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Rush University Medical Center, and several nonprofit organizations. She was previously appointed by The Governor of Virginia to serve a four-year term on the Board of Visitors at George Mason University. Kelly founded a Diversity and Inclusion Education program at Scalia Law School that helps equip students with skills to leverage the power of Diversity and Inclusion as they prepare to enter the legal profession. This program was the first-ever diversity education program offered by a law school. The curriculum will soon be available to all law schools.

Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, a JD from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from George Mason University.

Kelly’s recent speeches and seminars include:

  • “Getting Board Ready: The Secrets to Landing a Board Seat and Being a Great Director,” Hosted jointly by Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel and Hospitality, August 2021.
  • Ascent Leadership Network National Retreat, Faculty, January 2020.
  • “Interacting with the Board of Directors,” Hispanic National Bar Association “Poder 25,” Panel moderator and participant, September 2019.
  • “Unplanned CEO Succession,” Black GC 2025 Initiative, Facilitator, September 2019.
  • “Leading a Modern Global Law Department,” Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Executive Leadership Institute, August 2019.
  • George Mason University Commencement Address, December 2019.
  • “Civility, Diversity and Inclusion: the Cornerstone of Innovation,” Scalia Law School, Orientation speaker, 2019.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Education Conference, Scalia Law School, Keynote Speaker, 2018.
  • “The Evolving Role of the Law Department in the Modern Corporation and Legal Industry,” Northwestern Law, Guest Lecturer, 2014-2018.
  • Women in Housing and Finance – 35 year Anniversary Gala Speaker and Honoree, 2015.
  • Burton Award “Legend in the Law” (2019)
  • Lexology and Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Global Counsel Award “Thought Leader of the Year” (2019)
  • Legal Aid Foundation “Champion for Justice” (2017)
  • Equal Justice Works Scales of Justice Award (2016)
  • Inside Counsel Magazine Transformative Leadership Award: Mary Ann Hynes Pioneer Award (2015)
  • Womenetics – POW Awards: “Honoring Purposeful Women” (2015)
  • Metropolitan Family Services Legal Aid Society William H Avery Award (2013)
  • National Diversity Council “Most Powerful and Influential Women of Illinois” (2012)
  • Corporate Board Member “Top GCs to watch” (2011)
  • Rush University Medical Center- Board of Trustees (Audit and Community Affairs Committees)
  • Women Corporate Directors Association
  • Direct Women
  • The Chicago Network
  • The American Bar Association
  • The Virginia Bar Association
  • Cristo Rey St Martin College Prep- Board of Directors (Chair)
  • NPH (Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos) USA- Board of Directors (Vice Chair)
  • Midwest Young Artists Conservatory “MYAC”-Board of Directors (President)
  • George Mason University- Board of Visitors (Board Secretary and Chair of Audit Committee) 2013-2017
  • Financial Services Roundtable- Lawyer’s Council (Chair) – 2014-2017
  • The HistoryMakers- Board of Directors (Vice Chair)- 2006-2017