Team spirit is a competitive advantage that's hard to quantify, but Marion McDougall knows just how much of a difference it can make.

McDougall had been a senior vice president at First Horizon Home Loan Corp. as the worst of the financial crisis hit. She considers holding her team together during that time and selling the business to MetLife in September 2008 to be the most significant achievement of her career.

"In my 25 years, it's my number one," says McDougall, who is now the chief operating officer at the bank and one of 11 women in senior management roles there.

MetLife earned a spot in this ranking partly because 40 percent of its corporate officers are women. The bankalso encourages diversity though internships and a supplier program that fosters partnerships with women- and minority-owned business.

It offers a story of true team triumph too.In the eight months McDougall searched for a buyer, she managed to keep all of her team in place, despite the fear many felt.

"There were people-even some of my direct reports-who said, 'Marion, should we look for another job?' I said, 'I am not looking for another job,'" she says.

They had reason to worry. At the time nobody wanted to be in the mortgage business-First Horizon's parent company included-and the collapse of the real estate market had started to wipe out huge competitors like Countrywide.

McDougall needed everyone to stay focused and stick around, so she could concentrate on shopping a fully intact business. Besides the confident reassurance she gave regularly, McDougall had frequent meetings to update all the employees where she spoke openly with them."It was constant communication on where we are, who we're talking to, what we believe the likelihood of a transaction is," she says.

McDougall believes her team is closer and stronger now.She descibes the transition to a new home as joyous and, as evidence, points to the MetLife mascots perched on many desks. "I don't know how many Snoopys we have in this building, but there are a lot of them," she says.

The Make-up
Management/Operating Committee Members: 11
Women Management/Operating Committee Members: 4
Percent women: 36.4%

Corporate Officers: 37
Women Corporate Officers: 15
Percent women: 40.5%

Power Players
Donna DeMaio, Chairman, President, CEO
Marion McDougall, COO
Belinda DeArman, AVP, Delivery Services
Lori Foster, AVP, Production Support
Blythe Boyd Hughes, VP, Recruitment
Dee Linkletter, AVP, Warehouse Lending
Sheri Rye, AVP, National Production
Mary Reinhold-Brown, Chief Compliance Officer
Cindy Tucker, AVP, Financial Planning & Reporting
Kim Yowell, VP, Home Loan Servicing
Michele Zachensky, VP, Reverse Mortgage Production

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