By Frank Witsil
Detroit Free Press
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Heidi Kassab, the president and CEO of Cornerstone Community Financial Credit Union talks about what it takes to get ahead in the banking industry, a field dominated by male executives. Kassab says that in the credit union world, they have a “women in leadership network” which is helpful in recognizing females in the field and supporting women move forward in their careers.
Detroit Free Press
Heidi Kassab, the president and CEO of Cornerstone Community Financial Credit Union, got her start in banking at 15, when her former Brownie troop leader offered her a temporary summer job.
The job, she said, was to photograph documents on microfilm.
But the summer gig turned into a regular, part-time clerical position — and then, after she graduated from Oakland University, a career.
“I remember one time, I walked into the CEO office — which now, it’s probably not that big, but back then it looked like a big office — with this massive wood desk,” she said, recalling when she was in high school. “I remember going to the edge of the desk and touching it, and thinking: ‘Wow, one day this could be me.’ ”
Kassab — now 45 with teenagers of her own — said her former Brownie troop leader, Judith Hellock, was the credit union’s chief financial officer and became a mentor. She lived in the same subdivision, and had daughters who Kassab was friends with. After Hellock retired, Kassab hired her former boss to work for her part-time.
“I kept in touch with her my whole career, and owe a lot of my career to her,” Kassab said.
Cornerstone Community, based in Auburn Hills, has just under 70 employees, six branches — and 27,000 members.
Kassab talked about what it takes to get ahead in an industry dominated by male executives — and offers advice on getting to the top: