As chief of staff for Navient, Sheila Ryan-Macie is responsible for strategic projects that support business growth as well as enhance customer experience and success.
It’s a task she knows well. She was previously senior vice president of operations administration and chief of staff for Sallie Mae, which separated to form Navient in 2014.
But even before she joined Sallie Mae, Sheila had a relationship with the company. A Sallie Mae customer, she took out loans to pay for her impressive education: a Bachelor of Science in education, a Master of Science in management and a Master of Science in regulatory affairs, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
Sheila showed an early aptitude for business. One of five children, the Massachusetts native was always the banker during a game of Monopoly, and when it was time to order pizza, she figured out just the right number of pies that were needed. By the time Sheila was in seventh grade, Sheila was doing the weekly grocery shopping and pitching in with preparing meals, as her mother was back to school earning a degree.
After receiving her undergraduate degree in education, Sheila was hired by a bank to work in the student loan department.
In 1987, she joined Nellie Mae as vice president of federal relations and corporate strategy. In 2001, she started working for America’s Charter School Finance Corporation, where she served as vice president of programs and administration. Later, as managing director of Aurora Consulting Group, she helped boards of directors and executive management teams with corporate and regulatory strategy and rebranding.
At Sallie Mae, Sheila created and managed tactical and strategic plans for all facets or the organization.
At Navient, her work also spans the breadth of the company. “I am consistently impressed with the talent at Navient,” she says. “People are very dedicated, and they share a sense of purpose about the organization and about helping our customers succeed.”
When she’s not working, Sheila spends time with her husband and teenage son, as well as visiting with family and friends located throughout New England.
Happiness, she says, is being surrounded by nature and enveloped in warm weather.
“I feel like I’m blessed,” she says. “I never set out to be a chief of staff. I just always loved what I did and had a passion for it. The rewards came naturally.”