6. Deborah Doyle McWhinney
COO of Global Enterprise Payments, Citigroup
When consumer companies selling online in India are able to reach the 220 million people there with checking accounts, instead of just the 20 million or so with credit cards, they’ll have Deborah Doyle McWhinney to thank. This wealth management veteran turned heads in February when she switched into Citi's newly created global enterprise payments division to oversee two of four "capability development" teams working on new services for global clients. (She has since been made COO of the group.) But old strengths die hard. McWhinney, who was with Bank of America and Charles Schwab before joining Citi in 2009, also led a recent effort to realign Citi's menu of consumer account offerings. In addition, she co-heads an internal program aimed at developing female talent at the company.
"Can you remember the biggest problem you had at this time last week? Remember…this too shall pass."
7. Karen Parkhill
Vice Chairman, Comerica
Karen Parkhill began her career in Dallas as a securities analyst. She's back in Big D, after nearly a decade with JPMorgan Chase, to be a vice chairman at Comerica, overseeing planning and development, compliance, and a range of services ranging from corporate real estate to enterprise payments. The new job began in August; this fall she will take on the additional role of chief financial officer, replacing the retiring Beth Acton. Parkhill had been CFO of JPMorgan's commercial banking business.
"Continually seek new challenges. If they are not readily apparent or automatically given, go find them and make them yours. It's when you are no longer challenged in your current position that you stop growing professionally."
8. Mary Lynn Lenz
President and CEO, Professional Business Bank
When we were discussing wardrobe for this issue’s cover shoot, Mary Lynn Lenz let our stylist know, "I don't mind taking chances." But we already knew that. She's spearheaded two major rescue jobs, at Slade's Ferry Bancorp in Massachusetts and, more recently, at Professional Business Bank in Pasadena, Calif. She previously held supporting roles at larger banks—Citizens and KeyCorp—but Lenz, a theater major in college, seems to have found her niche at smaller banks where she can run the whole show.
"Use your femininity; use your maternal instinct. Something that has played over and over in my favor is being able to connect with our employees at all levels. It's a differentiator when you're approachable."
9. Linda Verba
EVP of Store Operations and Service Programs, TD Bank
A lot of the innovation and service that TD Bank is associated with can be traced back to Linda Verba. She spearheaded the company's implementation of Teller Image Capture, which streamlines processes in the branch. She also was instrumental in the integration of The South Financial Group, which unified the company's branch network from Maine to Florida. Verba chairs her bank's Women in Leadership committee, and also advocates within the company to improve accessibility for disabled customers and employees, and to enhance Spanish-language services offered by the bank.
"Many women, particularly young women, keep a lot of who they are to themselves because they think it's what their employer wants. But today, women are well positioned to lead an integrated life that includes everything that's important to them."
10. Cathleen Nash
President and CEO, Citizens Republic
The economy has been tough on Citizens Republic, the largest bank holding company headquartered in Michigan. But after three years of losses, Cathleen Nash—promoted to CEO in 2009 from the executive vice president level—proudly announced this summer that the $9.5 billion-asset bank had returned to profitability, netting $18.5 million in the second quarter. The company has partnered with the city of Detroit to get grants and loans in the hands of residents seeking to improve their homes and neighborhoods.
"Consistent and open communication is a great management tool. One of the first things I started after being named CEO in 2009 was a CEO blog, to foster communication and teamwork throughout the company."