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Meet Monica L. Martinez, our third 2018 Role Model. Monica is Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Comerica Bank, which includes the dual roles of managing the corporate contributions function for the Michigan market as well as overseeing all aspects of the bank’s involvement of Hispanic Business Development nationally. Monica oversees charitable contributions budgets in addition to all corporate philanthropic giving in including day-to-day program management of Comerica’s charitable foundation and sponsorship programs in the state of Michigan. Her responsibilities also include developing and maintaining relationships with key community stakeholders. In the capacity of National Hispanic Business Developer, Monica serves as the liaison for the bank within the Hispanic community, directing Comerica’s Hispanic business and community outreach in the bank’s primary markets, which are comprised of Texas, Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan. She is being recognized for her outstanding professional accomplishments and service to the community at this year’s Role Model Dinner.
Here are some clips from her recent conversation with AFG.
Alternatives For Girls (AFG): Which of your accomplishments are you the most proud of?
Monica L. Martinez: The accomplishment that I’m most proud of is my commitment to mentoring young women. I mentor eight girls, basically working with them and meeting them where they are at in their lives. It creates an unlimited amount of proud moments. I’ve seen them graduate college, in their pivotal highest moments, and I’ve seen them in their times of need. If by sharing a story or my life experience shortens their learning curve and helps them reach their goals faster, I’m happy to do that and it makes me feel like I’ve done some good.
AFG: Clearly, you have felt inspired to give back to the community. Is there any part of your personal story that has led to this?
Martinez: I started out with humble beginnings. I was born in southwest Detroit and didn’t have a whole lot. But I had a loving family who always told me that where we start out in life does not define where we’ll end up. When people believe in you, it changes how you feel and when you feel positive about who you can be and aspire to be, it can change your story. It can be something that changes your destiny.
AFG: For many of the women we serve, AFG provides a support system to help them make positive choices. Was there anyone in your life or career who has helped guide you in making important decisions?
Martinez: My mother and grandmother in my formative years. Then in certain situations, I’ve had other people who have provided guidance. Some of them helped because I was reaching out and asking for it. And in some cases, there may have been someone who was kind and recognized that I may have needed help and was there for me. Maybe we don’t recognize it, but someone older than us sees something in us and lends a hand and you don’t even know it. Sometimes in our careers, those people act as a guardian angels who tell others about your abilities or potential and because of that an opportunity or a door opens. We don’t succeed without the help of others, we don’t succeed alone. I truly attribute my success to people who have come along my path or journey and have been observant of my enthusiasm to succeed and who have encouraged me along the way. That’s why I turn around and do it for others.
AFG: What advice would you give to the young women that AFG serves?
Martinez: Where we start out in life does not define where we end up, and when people believe in you it changes how you feel about what you think you can accomplish. It changes your destiny. It is important to know that even If you have humble beginnings, that isn’t going to define you. Having people who care about you, like AFG, is life changing.
AFG: Why do you believe that it is important to empower girls and young women?
Martinez: Empowering girls and young women is important so that we don’t put limitations on their dreams or what they can accomplish. It builds strong self-esteem and creates positive future leaders.