Jacqueline Howard, Ally Financial | Most Powerful Women: Next

Senior director, corporate citizenship

For Jacqueline Howard, Ally Financial’s focus on the issue of economic mobility is personal.

Her interest in helping close the wealth gap — a 2016 Federal Reserve study showed the median net worth for black families is about 10% that of white families — prompted her to steer Ally toward a more concerted effort on this front.

“We have a responsibility in banking to drive money mindfulness and help people understand their finances,” she said.

As senior director of corporate citizenship, Howard, who is African-American, has created a strategy for the Detroit company around helping underserved consumers build wealth. This includes various financial literacy initiatives, charitable giving and volunteerism.

But, even more, she has tied these efforts together into a holistic corporate social responsibility program.

Her work has earned her a spot as one of the 15 women on our inaugural Next list. (An extension of our Most Powerful Women in Banking program, the list is meant to highlight high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline who are age 40 and under.)

Ally’s partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and entertainer Sean “Big Sean” Anderson is one recent highlight. Through the Moguls in the Making competition in March, 50 students from historically black colleges participated in a weeklong challenge, where they devised and pitched business plans to a panel of judges. Winning teams received prizes and a chance to intern at Ally, with the latter meant to expose diverse young people to banking careers.

Ally’s shift away from “checkbook philanthropy” to a more thoughtful approach entailed getting other areas of the company involved, from investor relations to marketing.

People are increasingly looking to do business with companies that do good, and Ally needs to be able to share how it is positively impacting the world, Howard said.

“Jacqueline is an enterprise thinker who coordinates cross-functional working groups. She seamlessly works across the company with employees at all levels.” — Alison Summerville, business administration executive

“We are looking at it less of just being philanthropic with giving grants and volunteering, because it is so much bigger than that,” Howard said. “Investors and customers are demanding it.”

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Howard, 38, serves as an inspiration on a personal level. She is open about her own life challenges, including losing her mother at age 12 and being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30. “Having survived that, it took away a lot of my fear,” Howard said. “I am willing to go after what I want, success or failure. Those experiences taught me to live in the present.”

Nominating executive: Alison Summerville, business administration executive

What she says: Summerville is impressed with Howard’s leadership skills, which she said are evident in how Howard went about shaping Ally’s corporate social responsibility program. Her approach: Articulated a long-term vision. Established strategies to achieve it. Inspired followership. It helps that Howard is “a clear and concise communicator,” Summerville wote in nominating her for the Next list. Howard used that skill well, first to win the support of C-suite executives and the board of directors for her ideas, and then to get employees excited about executing on those ideas. “Jacqueline is an enterprise thinker who coordinates cross-functional working groups. She seamlessly works across the company with employees at all levels,” Summerville said.

Foundations help set agenda at Mackinac Policy Conference

April 14, 2019

Crain’s Detroit Business

Sherri Welch


At this year’s conference set for May 28-31, foundations are hosting — that is, sponsoring and presenting — six of nine sessions on the agenda.

That’s up from five the past two years, four in 2014, two in 2013 and just one in 2012: by the Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Even more foundations (and others) would come in, if there were space on the agenda and at the Grand Hotel, chamber COO Tammy Carnrike said.

Kellogg is returning to this year’s conference along with Kresge Foundation, Skillman Foundation, C.S. Mott Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and the William Davidson Foundation, a newcomer to the hosted sessions in 2019.

Like other sessions at the conference, the foundation-hosted events align with the conference pillars.

This year’s conference theme, “One Michigan,” will focus on the pillars “prepare, grow and love.”

More specifically, sessions will focus on education and talent development/retention, entrepreneurial and economic development and stewardship and sustainability of the resources, industries and other assets Michigan currently has.

Foundations use the sessions as a forum to release new studies and research, explore topics of regional and statewide importance and leverage their connections to feature national speakers on important topics, Carnrike said, sponsoring programs that wouldn’t otherwise happen.

“They have the ability to see where there are other experts they can bring in from other areas of the country (and) where other regions are doing well and bring those experts in to share their experience and their best practice.”

The foundation hosts contribute to valuable conversation, attracting standing-room only crowds to their sessions due to strong content and speakers, Carnrike said.

Given that, the chamber has invited them to help plan the conference and to take part in mainstage programs, Carnrike said.

For example, Skillman President and CEO Tonya Allen will participate in a panel discussion on boosting education excellence in Michigan.

Government is at the conference to speak out from a policy standpoint and business to speak on economic issues, Carnrike said.

“To have the philanthropic community … be there to say, ‘We are also part of the solution, here’s the work we do and resources we’re bringing to it’ … really helps solidify what gets discussed in their sessions.”

Foundations and other hosts are still finalizing topics for their sessions, but three have working themes, said Kelly Weatherwax, director of communications for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Those are:

  • C.S. Mott Foundation will focus on transforming municipal funding.
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation will focus on the 2020 Census.
  • William Davidson Foundation’s session will focus on the Detroit region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

View the full article here.

Philanthropic Leaders: Greater Impact on Detroit’s Revitalization Dependent on Business Partnerships

Watch the full panel here. 

The philanthropic community’s contributions – from housing sustainability programs to youth education – was a critical step in Detroit’s post-bankruptcy revitalization. In the discussion, “Detroit’s Resurgence: Philanthropy’s Leading Role,” panelists highlighted how their respective organizations stimulated development throughout the city through projects, initiatives and programs while emphasizing the need for more collaboration with businesses.










“The foundation community, as well as the corporate community is slowly growing in the understanding that if we work together more, there are great things we can accomplish,” explained Faye Nelson, vice president of DTE Energy and board chair and president of DTE Energy Foundation.

Key takeaways include:

  • The community has needs that the public sector and government cannot address. Individually, philanthropic organizations cannot fill this void.
  • As paradigms shift in Detroit post-bankruptcy, foundations and philanthropic organizations have stepped in to invest in projects that the state and federal government historically funded.
  • Moving forward, for foundations and business it is no longer about investing in as many projects as possible, as much as it is about funding projects that best serve the community.

This session was moderated by Nolan Finley, editorial page editor for The Detroit News. Panelists also included: David Egner, president and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation; Katy Locker, Detroit program director at the Knight Foundation; and Chris Uhl, vice president of community investments for Rock Ventures. The session was sponsored by DTE Energy Foundation.

Read more from the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference:

Food Experts: Maintaining Detroit’s Momentum Begins with Healthy, Sustainable Meals for Communities

Walsh College Elects Kathleen O’Callaghan Hickey to its Foundation Board

The Walsh College Board of Trustees has elected Kathleen O’Callaghan Hickey, member attorney at the Detroit-based law firm Bodman PLC, to the Walsh College Foundation Board of Directors for a three-year term.

Hickey represents lenders in commercial loan originations. Her practice encompasses secured transactions and counsel to lenders on lender liability and loan structure issues. She is a former co-chair of Bodman’s Banking Practice Group and is a current member of the firm’s executive management committee.

Established in 2004, the Walsh College Foundation serves as the official fundraising arm of the College. The Foundation encourages private giving and ensures the integrity of the College’s philanthropy program. It is staffed by employees of the College and led by volunteers who are business, industry, and community leaders.

Before joining Bodman, Hickey clerked for the Honorable Richard M. Maher of the Michigan Court of Appeals. She has lectured for the Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education on commercial loan documentation matters.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in 1977 and a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Detroit School of Law in 1984.

Hickey is listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2014 under Banking and Finance Law, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2014 under Banking & Finance, Michigan Super Lawyers 2007 under The Top 50 Women, and Michigan Super Lawyers 2007-2013 under Banking. She is listed as a 2014 “Top Lawyer” by DBusiness magazine. Hickey serves on the Detroit Community Council of Sister to Sister: Everyone has a Heart Foundation, Inc.

She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and is a member of the American Bar Association, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, and State Bar of Michigan.

Founded in 1922, Walsh College is a private, not for profit institution offering upper-division undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees and certificate programs. One of Southeast Michigan’s largest business schools, Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township, and Port Huron, as well as online. Walsh’s business services division offers the Walsh Institute, which provides solutions for businesses through training, continuing education, and consulting.

Walsh is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org; phone: 312-263-0456). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, www.acbsp.org) accredits specific degree programs.