Beloved Comerica Bank executive Monica L Martinez, who passed away suddenly in May of 2021, was honored posthumously by the Detroit Urban League at its Salute to Distinguished Warriors Dinner at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center on Thursday, March 23.
Also honored as Distinguished Warriors were Honorable Brenda Lawrence, Retired U.S. Congresswoman, Shirley Stancato, WSU Vice Chair of the Board of Governors, David Hecker, President/CEO of the AFT, Rory Gamble, Retired UAW President.
Monica Martinez was Comerica’s Senior Vice President of External Affairs – Michigan Market and National Director of Hispanic Business Development. She was named one of the nation’s “50 Most Powerful Latinas” in 2019 by the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) in partnership with Fortune Magazine.
Jane C. Garcia, Monica’s closest friend and mentor, gave a very moving video tribute of Monica’s many contributions to the Detroit community and the numerous friends and colleagues who she had worked with in her much too short life. Her fiancé, Mike Klein and his mother were guests of Jane, and many of her co-workers from Comerica and friends from MANA de Metro Detroit were also there to pay tribute and honor Monica’s life and her legacy.
Garcia accepted the award and spoke tenderly about Monica. “In our culture, we believe that as long as you remember [our deceased], they are always with you. Monica was somebody that walked into a room and brought sunshine with her because she held it in her heart.” Garcia reminded the dinner audience, “when Monica passed, we started a scholarship with MANA and we raised over $100,000 so that her legacy will continue to mentor [Latina] women for years to come.”
Nationally, Martinez oversaw the bank’s Hispanic business development and diversity. In Michigan, she managed corporate contributions and external community reinvestment functions in the statewide market. In her role as national director of Hispanic business development, she nurtured relationships with key community stakeholders nationwide while serving as a spokesperson for the bank. Her charitable contributions and CRA responsibilities in Michigan included philanthropic giving, day-to-day program management, sponsorship programs, financial education and supporting non-traditional lending in Michigan. Martinez served as the president of the Comerica Foundation.
Martinez was bilingual and her fluency in Spanish and English helped in her commitment to growing business relationships and outreach opportunities. She held a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Eastern Michigan University. For her graduate work, she studied Interdisciplinary Technology with a concentration in Business Management at Eastern Michigan University. She earned certifications in Non-Profit Management from Duke University and Corporate Community Relations Management from Boston College. Martinez was a graduate of the prestigious SMU Management program and was certified in Diversity Management from Cornell University. Martinez served in a leadership capacity on several non-profit boards including, the Michigan Hispanic Chamber, SER Jobs for Progress National, New Detroit and the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition.
Martinez received the following recognitions and honors:
- Latino Leaders Magazine: 101 Most influential Hispanics in the nation.
- Governors Hispanic/Latino Commission committee: Top 50 Hispanic Women in Michigan.
- Walkers Legacy: Detroit Power 15 Women.
- Alternatives for Girls: Role Model Award.
- DBusiness magazine: “Powered by Women” list as one of the most influential women in Michigan.