Michael Arena

Michael Arena is the VP of Talent and Development for Amazon Web Services.

Previously, Arena was the Chief Talent Officer for General Motors Corporation. He was responsible for enterprise talent management, talent & organizational analytics, talent acquisition, leadership development and global learning.

Since joining General Motors, he has employed an evidence-based approach to driving organizational performance, leveraging such concepts as predictive analytics and network analysis to empirically determine talent needs across the pipeline. These approaches have been complemented with qualitative research methods such as design thinking to discover the effective nuances of local solutions. 

Arena also launched the General Motors InnovationXchange Lab, which provides a global platform to connect individuals and ideas across the business to amplify impact. These interactions are designed to produce new solutions and innovations that enable adaptive responses to external pressures and demands. 

Prior to joining GM, Arena spent two years as a visiting scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, where he studied the intersection of human behavior, innovation and social connectivity. He was also the Director of the MS in Organization Development program at Queens University in Charlotte. 

Arena also served as Senior Vice President of Leadership Development for Bank of America's Global Consumer and Small Business Banking group, where he led talent management, executive development and organizational development. He also co-designed and launched the Center for Future Banking in partnership with MIT and created the Consumer Banking Design organization dedicated to driving customer-based innovation. 

Dr. Arena earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Dynamics from the Union Institute and University. He currently serves as board chair of the Plexus Institute, board member of the Innovation Institute and as a business council member for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

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