Irvin Ashford, SVP of Public Affairs, Comerica Bank
It s quite obvious that banking executive Irvin Ashford isn t content with mediocrity or resting on his laurels. His promotion to senior vice president of public affairs at Comerica Bank didn t surprise anyone. Since joining Comerica in 2000, Ashford has built quite the reputation. He has received Comerica s Volunteer of the Year Award and the Chairman s Circle Award for leadership and quality; was named a recipient of the 2009 C.A.W. Clark Human Relations Award presented by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Dallas; in 2008, the Dallas Business Journal honored Ashford with its Business Leader Award; and he received the 2008 Southern Dallas Development Corp. s President s Award.
He says his leadership style is simple. “I believe in situational leadership. Sometimes you have to lead the horse to the well. Sometimes you have to point the horse in the right direction. Either way, the horse must drink to survive.”
A graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio, Ashford earned dual master s degrees – one in public affairs from the University of Texas and one in business administration from the University of Dallas. He is a Woodrow Wilson International Studies and Public Policy Fellow and an American Marshall Fellow.
He offers this advice to young African American men to attract positivity: “I am a big believer in the phrase Birds of a feather flock together. If you want to create positive experiences and attract the right people and things, make yourself available to those types of situations. I developed connections with other African American men through volunteerism. There is a natural link between everyone in the room because of that spirit of volunteerism. They are there to do something other than promote themselves. People in positions of power need to help other people because if we don t do it, who s going to do it?”