Co-General Manager and Head of Midwest General Industries, U.S. Wholesale Banking, MUFG

Inspiration can come from almost anywhere, even a fortune cookie.

For years, MUFG's Wendy Breuder kept taped to her computer a message she found in a fortune cookie that read, "None of the secrets of success will work unless you do." It was a reminder to Breuder that there are no shortcuts to success and that the best way to retain and win business is by outworking competitors.

Few commercial bankers outwork Breuder, a Chicago-based co-general manager of U.S. wholesale banking for MUFG responsible for helping corporate clients in the Midwest find business opportunities overseas.

Two years ago she traveled more than 125,000 miles and went more than nine months without taking a day off in leading her group to its third straight year of record, double-digit revenue growth. Last year, even after inheriting about two dozen clients Breuder considered to be only marginally creditworthy, her group once again exceeded financial targets. Revenue increased 17% year over year and net income increased 15%, to $115 million.

Breuder's work ethic has clearly rubbed off on her staff. In all of MUFG's U.S. wholesale bank, only nine people received promotions in 2015 and six of those nine came from Breuder's Midwest team.

Though company conflict-of-interest policies prevent her from serving on corporate boards herself, Breuder has made it a priority to open doors for other seasoned, female executives. She recently became a member of DirectWomen Board Institute, a national nonprofit that works to increase representation of top female lawyers and executives on corporate boards. She also is a member of Boardroom Bound, a nonprofit that works with corporations to create more diverse boards and to create a culture of social responsibility at the board level.

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