Barbara Yastine
Chairman, CEO and President, Ally Bank

Barbara Yastine has helped take Ally Bank from its origins as the troubled GMAC Bank to a rapidly growing and profitable online banking franchise. Deposit growth has been key; Ally passed the $40 billion threshold in deposits as of July 2013, up from $12.3 billion five years ago when the bank was re-launched under its current name.

Yastine had an unusual start on her path to becoming a top financial-services executive. She always liked math growing up, but as an undergraduate at New York University, she majored in journalism, because, she says, "I had no idea where math could lead."

Less than a year after graduating, however, she gave in to her quantitative side, returning to NYU for an MBA in business. She doesn't regret the journalism training, though. "It gave me an enormous advantage in being able to listen and communicate, which I still benefit from today," she says.

Yastine's biggest time commitment outside of work is raising her 10-year-old twin daughters. She and her husband, John Damonti, who runs the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, adopted the children on their 15th wedding anniversary. "I got a late start on motherhood," says Yastine, 54. "Like every other working mom in America, I'm just trying to keep it together."

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