Susan Chapman, SVP, American Express, discusses leadership

Susan Chapman, SVP, American Express, discusses leadership

Susan Chapman, American Express’ senior vice president for global real estate and workplace enablement, has responsibilities that include leading Real Estate Strategy and Operations, HR Shared Servicing and Health and Safety in support of the American Express portfolio of over 65,000 employees in 41 countries. She has spearheaded the creation of  Bluework, an  award winning, innovative workplace initiative in support of the digital transformation of the company. Additionally, she holds leadership roles in the American Express Executive Women’s Network and World Monuments Fund Watch List Advisory Committee.

Chapman’s volunteer work includes serving on many boards including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Leadership Education and Development  and Girls Inc. She is a member of  The Urban Land Institute, The Executive Leadership Council and University of Wisconsin-School of Business Real Estate Alumni Association.


Ms. Chapman holds an MBA in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also holds a Master of Regional Planning from The University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a B.S. in Engineering from Vanderbilt University.

What do you do? One of my teams actually manages all of the real estate that our company runs everyday to run our business. We are in 41 countries and we support 65,000 employees. And the other team that I lead runs the HR services program. All of that stuff goes through my organization.


We want to focus on the employee experience at American Express and broaden it to the next level. And what we want to do is create a next level experience for our employees

Our company has supported events and conferences like Black Entrerprise and others for several years. We want to create a great experience for the many people who come here who are card members. And it’s really fantastic for them to learn about our products even more.

We have a great promotion going linking your card with Facebook or Twitter or FourSquare and it’s a fantastic way to get offers from our other partners and merchants. There is a promotion, for example, if you go to the U.S. Open, you get to spend $20, or you get $10 back. What happens is since you linked it with FB or Twitter it actually shows up as a credit on your bill.

If you think about the kind of people who come to these events they are the people who usally have AmEx cards.

Leadership: As a leader, you really have to lead from the front and serving others and giving more than you take. The way I look at it, I’m here to develop strategy for my team and be a role model eliminate roadblocks and make sure that .

We’ve won the J.D. Power award for customer service for the sixth year in  a row.

 What is your definition of a powerful black woman: Much is given, much is required. As far as being an African American woman, I know that I am one of very few African American women [in this position] … I’m in a unique position in an industry that traditionally has not been very diverse. I have a great great opportunity to bring many, many people along with me.

 Who were your mentors and why were they important to you: My mother and grandmother taught me a lot of great lessons. One is stay true to yourself. You cannot send a representative to the table everyday, so you might as well be yourself. If I am me all the time, then it’s very easy for me to do what I think is the right thing to do.

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