Metro Detroit's Most Powerful Women in Business



Published:

(page 1 of 5)

More and more women are breaking through the glass ceiling in metro Detroit.
In an effort to recognize their achievements, we asked readers to nominate female business leaders who they felt were moving their respective companies, industries, and communities forward. The only criteria was that the nominees be employed in the executive ranks of private businesses, corporations, hospitals, and universities in the five-county metro region (Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, Livingston, and Washtenaw counties).

Please join us on the following pages as we honor 10 of metro Detroit’s Most Powerful Women in Business.

 

Mark Shobe

Even as a young girl, when she had her own bank account, kept a budget, and babysat for an accountant, Eileen M. Ashley knew she would have a career in finance and money management.

In an industry not typically known for having women in top management positions, Ashley has steadily risen through the ranks at Comerica Bank. Today she is responsible for sales, profitability, relationship management, and intrabank relationships among Comerica’s wealth and institutional management offerings in Michigan.

“More companies are realizing the value of placing women in higher management positions,” Ashley says. “The research has shown that women change industries and have a positive effect on the bottom line.”

Ashley, who has worked in private banking, executive administration, management accounting and financial reporting, and corporate marketing and development, says her success can be traced to two principles.

“First, I’ve always been open to new opportunities and challenges, and even if I didn’t know an area I was going into very well, I was eager to learn and improve my knowledge base. I’ve also worked hard at developing long and endearing relationships, and having open communication with my employees. You have to connect with people. When we have tough times like we’ve just gone through, I believe people dig in and work even harder for you.” — Bill Dow


 

Genn Oliver

Susan Barkell didn’t have much time to enjoy college life. She was too busy pursuing degrees in accounting, finance, and managerial economics while working as an accountant for the Michigan Osteopathic Association (MOA).

By the time she graduated, Barkell was running the MOA’s office. It was during that time that she discovered a passion for advocacy.  “I wanted to go beyond the numbers side of accounting because I really enjoyed fighting for what I knew was right, developing relationships, and seeing the power of what people can accomplish,” says Barkell, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s senior vice president for health care value.

Determined to improve provider relations by enlisting the help of someone with an outsider’s perspective, the Blues hired Barkell in 1996. Under her leadership, satisfaction with provider relations went from 35 percent to 84 percent — all while the provider network was greatly expanding.
With a strong work ethic and a team-oriented approach that encourages a diversity of opinions, Barkell’s recipe for success centers on collaboration.

“Our principles of operation include a broad provider network that works collaboratively to provide input as we develop programs and policies,” she says. “This ultimately allows us to develop better products and have more satisfied providers. In turn, customers experience better outcomes.” — Bill Dow

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Financial Reservations

The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit hotel downtown has been outperforming most of its national peers, but behind the scenes, the city and pension funds used for its redevelopment nearly 10 years ago may now take a huge loss.

Foreign Correspondent

From Bloomfield Village to Tiananmen Square, ABC News’ Bob Woodruff covers the world.

From the Middle East to the Motor City

More than 500,000 people of Middle Eastern descent live in metro Detroit, and, combined, they generated $36.4 billion in economic activity in 2015. While the road to self-reliance can take years due to language and cultural barriers, the influx of refugees has been a boon to the regional economy.

Open Our Arms and Trust, But Verify

From an economist’s perspective, each legal immigrant holds the potential for augmenting “human capital,” the ultimate source of growth and prosperity for a region or nation.

2016 Champions of the New Economy

For the seventh straight year, Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan, in partnership with DBusiness magazine and News/Talk 760 WJR, selected six regional executives who are driving growth in highly competitive industries.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Father-and-daughter Team Will Open Mie Radici Boutique Food Store in Livonia on Nov. 18
    Mie Radici, a family-owned small business featuring authentic Sicilian olive oil and balsamic...
  2. Detroit Pistons to Bring Plum Market to Detroit’s New Center
    The Detroit Pistons today announced that Farmington Hills-based Plum Market is the official food...
  3. JPMorgan Chase Invests $900,000 in Sustainable Infrastructure for Detroit Branches
    JPMorgan Chase and Co. today announced a $900,000 investment to support sustainable...
  4. Details Announced for Winter Magic, Beacon Park Programming
    Quicken Loans and the Downtown Detroit Partnership have announced the lineup for the 2017 season...
  5. Business Leaders for Michigan Hosts Annual CEO Summit
    More than 500 business executives, policymakers, nonprofit, and community leaders attended the...
  6. Detroit Arena View Properties Launches Collection of Themed Overnight Rooms
    Finding opportunity in Detroit’s growing sports and entertainment markets, Detroit Arena View...