Alumni Achievement - 3
Lisa Waynelovich McCarthy ’01 and Amanda Dunne ’07: Advancing the role of Bryant women in finance
Apr 07, 2024, by Danny Lamere and Jake Bissaro
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Lisa Waynelovich McCarthy ’01 will receive the Distinguished Alumna, Undergraduate Award and Amanda Dunne ’07 will receive the Emerging Leader Award on Friday, April 12 at the Alumni Achievement Awards Dinner. Other award winners include Todd Gustafson ’86, Michael Oliveri ’08, Eric Emerson ’91MBA, Bruce Messier ’14, and Asli Ascioglu, Ph.D.

Lisa Waynelovich McCarthy ’01 “Bryant was the launching pad for so many things in my life,” says Lisa Waynelovich McCarthy ’01, CFO of Duracell, Inc., who credits the university for helping her achieve success in her life and career. At Bryant, she gained practical skills and leadership experience through her Accounting and Computer Information Systems majors, Student Senate and Resident Assistant duties, her work on the inaugural Women’s Summit®, and a second-place finish in an intercollegiate tax competition. She even met her husband, Brian ’00, at Bryant. “If I did not attend Bryant,” she says, “I don't know where my career would be.”

After graduating, Lisa went on to earn a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Connecticut, followed by several years working for Deloitte. She and Brian eventually decided to move back to her hometown, Turners Falls, Massachusetts, in order to start a family near her parents. That’s when she began working at Yankee Candle, an international manufacturer and retailer based in Western Massachusetts. “They had a really great breadth of opportunity,” says McCarthy of Yankee Candle. “I got tremendous opportunities along the way to learn and grow and to progress in my career.” After starting as a senior financial reporting analyst in 2004, she worked her way up to become the CFO in 2012 and the CEO in 2020. “They were all incredible learning experiences,” McCarthy says. “We were bought and sold so many times that it felt like a new company every few years.”

In 2023, McCarthy left Yankee Candle to become the CFO of Duracell, a company whose fully remote work structure has enabled her to remain in Turners Falls with her family. She says the opportunity to help lead this major brand, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, has been deeply fulfilling. “Their operating model is great,” she says. “It feels like I’m running my own business.”

McCarthy says receiving an Alumni Achievement Award is humbling. She is excited to celebrate with her family, especially her four children, the oldest of whom is a junior in high school. “It’s really powerful as my daughter starts her college search,” McCarthy says, “because I want her to understand that this is possible wherever she attends college. You can have a connection with your university that spans way longer than the four years that you’re there.”

Amanda Dunne ’07— As director and institutional advisor at the global investment firm AllianceBernstein, Amanda Dunne ’07 works with large public pension funds to help participants reach their retirement goals. Her interest in finance began years before while working in a bakery during high school on her native Long Island. “I loved the idea of pulling together with your colleagues to help run a business and make it successful,” says Dunne.  

A trusted co-worker and friend at the bakery was a student at Bryant, and she suggested Dunne consider the college. “When I visited campus in my junior year of high school, I immediately thought, ‘This is where I have to go.’ ”

In addition to lifelong friendships, her time at Bryant gave her the tools to succeed. “I think the emphasis on group work and collaboration in particular was crucial; so many roles today require the ability to work across teams,” says Dunne. “Our professors really cared about us as people and wanted us to be successful in all aspects of our lives.”

After graduating from Bryant, Dunne took on her first full-time role as an associate for a financial advisor at Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley Wealth Management) in 2008 at the onset of the Global Financial Crisis. “It was a real hands-on experience. I had to learn the role and the field while building trust with our clients during a very tumultuous time,” she says. 

Three years later, after time with AXA Advisors as an investment specialist, Dunne was seeking a new challenge when she connected with Stephen Tully ’98 at an alumni event. He helped advise her on other opportunities, including those at his previous firm, AllianceBernstein. Six months later, a position opened up, and Tully passed along her resume. “Sometimes, all it takes is one person to really help move your career forward,” she says. “The connections that link back to Bryant are truly unique compared to other schools.”

Today, Dunne serves on both Bryant’s Alumni Leadership Council and the Wall Street Council. “The resources I received throughout my time on campus and also as an alum have been invaluable throughout my career, so it’s important to me to stay connected,” she says. “It’s great staying in touch with students, providing mentorship, and hearing about what's going on campus.”

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