by Thao Nguyen

Vice President/Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Initiative
Comerica Bank

Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Web Site:
Primary Business: Banking
Employees: 9,500

Who is/was your most influential leadership mentor and why? My most influential mentor was my credit manager, with whom I worked in my first year in banking. I admired his “lead-by-example” leadership style and his great sense of humor. He was highly respected for his excellent character, fairness, and the ability to lead and motivate others. He provided an inviting and comfortable working environment where employees felt welcome to share ideas and challenges.

What advice can you provide for young leaders? Leadership is not an entitlement, but something one earns through trust and respect. To earn trust and respect, one must demonstrate knowledge, common sense, honesty, and fairness. Good communication skills are necessary to achieve these tasks. A good leader also needs to listen to, and act upon suggestions and recommendations. My advice to young leaders is to invest heavily in your character. It takes years to build trust and respect, but a moment to destroy it.

Given the chance, would you do anything differently? Given a chance, I would not do anything differently. I believe the accomplishments I’ve achieved so far were done through hard work and perseverance. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with great people at Comerica, and enjoy the endless support from my family.

Education: B.A., Finance, graduated Magna Cum Laude
What I’m reading: Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute
My philosophy: You only live once, so live life to the fullest.
Interests: Music, travel, and food.

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