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The Upromise Leadership Team

Constantly striving to be better at helping American families earn, save, and pay for college. We promise.

David O'Connell

Upromise is a saving­-for­-college coach for families, with suggestions, guidance, and direction that I use in saving for my children.

David O'Connell

President, Upromise


Dave joined Sallie Mae in 2011. He is responsible for marketing and product management and also leads the strategic partnership with Barclaycard to offer the Upromise MasterCard®.

Before joining Upromise, Dave held a variety of senior roles overseeing customer engagement and loyalty programs at MBNA America and Bank of America.

A lacrosse player in high school and college, Dave values the positive impact that the coaching he received from family, friends, coaches, and business colleagues has had on his life. “Upromise can play that role for families as they take on the task of saving for their children’s education. Upromise is a saving-for-college coach for families, with suggestions, guidance, and direction that I use in saving for my children.”

Proud Georgetown alum.


Mark Allen

A big piece of the college experience is the network you can reach out to after college for jobs and advice.

Mark Allen

VP of Acquisition and Engagement Marketing, Upromise

Mark joined Upromise in late 2014. He leads membership acquisition and engagement initiatives for the company.

Before joining Upromise, Mark managed marketing strategy and customer acquisition programs at Carbonite and Prospectiv.

While at Duke University, Mark played lacrosse. He’s still close with many of his former teammates today. Playing sports taught him how to solve problems and work with people as a team, which he considers crucial skills in business today.

On higher education Mark says, “A big piece of the college experience is the network you can reach out to after college for jobs and advice. I loved college and I’m excited to be able to provide that for my daughter one day. And how can I not get excited working at Upromise knowing that I’m helping other people have that experience as well?”

Proud Duke University alum.


Meredith Shields

I want to instill a love of learning in my kids. I want them to go college, to have every opportunity possible, and to find their own path.

Meredith Shields

VP of Financial Products Marketing, Upromise

Meredith leads the product marketing function for Upromise core products including the Upromise MasterCard, 529 savings, and retail deposit programs.

Prior to joining Sallie Mae in 2002, Meredith spent five years in branding, advertising and media. She also acted as strategy lead on marketing viability studies, market expansion campaigns, product extension programs and product naming.

On why higher learning is important, Meredith says, “I think education is access; it opens doors and gives you possibilities. It was engrained in me at a very early age that I would go to college. My parents didn’t have that opportunity, but they wanted to make sure that my brother and I did. Beyond the academic challenges and freedom of college, it’s where I met my best friends. I want to instill a love of learning in my kids. I want them to go college, to have every opportunity possible, and to find their own path.”

Proud University of Virginia & VCU Brand Center alum.


Dan Hahn

As a new dad, I realize that we have 18 years to get our savings on track and help our child pay for part of her college tuition and expenses. That’s why it’s so important to start early.

Dan Hahn

VP of Strategic Initiatives, Upromise

Dan joined Upromise in 2011. He is responsible for working with retail, travel, restaurant, and credit card partners to offer members the most substantial earning opportunities.

Before Upromise, Dan spent a decade in the consumer banking and credit card business, first at Bank of America/MBNA and then at Barclaycard.

“Working at Upromise has made me realize the importance of starting early to save for college. As a new dad, I realize that we have 18 years to get our savings on track. Through our Upromise savings we'll be able to help pay for part of her college tuition and expenses. We're also opening a GoalSaver account so our savings, including our Upromise earnings, work even harder.”

Dan can’t wait to encourage his child to go to college. “My wife works in higher education and we met in college, so education is important to both of us. I loved my studies and the people I met; I want my child to have that same great experience.”

Proud University of Massachusetts, Amherst alum.