Born in southwest Detroit, Monica’s
passion for life was unrivaled. She was
brilliant and had a heart of gold. Her
corporate career took her to many
places where she had the opportunity to
champion our community while creating
relationships for her corporate employer
along the way. She joined Comerica
Bank in 2006 where she quickly rose to
the rank of senior vice president of
national community affairs.
Her duties included directing
Comerica's Hispanic business
community outreach in Michigan, Texas,
Arizona, California, and Florida. In this
position, she supported and served on
the board of many organizations,
including the Girl Scouts, the Michigan
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and
Ser Jobs for Progress.
Her life will continue to inspire
Carlos Orta, Vice President &
Chief DE&I Officer at Tyson
every Latina to dream and fulfill those dreams with determination and hard work.
“There is a saying that reminds me of Monica that reads, ‘Let my soul smile
through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles
in sad hearts,’” shares Raquel “Rocky” Egusquiza. “Monica’s heart smiled through her
eyes, and she scattered smiles on all of us. Monica lived with passion and purpose.
She was a connector, a mentor, a friend. Her commitment to the Hispanic
community and for Detroit was infectious. Monica will be remembered for her smile,
energy, philanthropy, hard work, and caring spirit. This world is a better place
because Monica was part of it.”
Jane Garcia, vice chair for Latin Americans for Social and Economic
Development, known as LA SED, describes Martinez as an incredible leader who
was always assisting others and making sure that the community as a whole had
access to resources at Comerica Bank. “She was always lifting her community, and
her commitment to young Latinas was so incredible,” she shares.
Monica was an active member of the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce, most recently serving as Corporate Vice-Chair on the board of directors.
Prior to her work with Comerica Bank, Martinez worked for Ford Motor
Company, where she held various positions on the corporate staff during her
“I first met Monica in 1998,” shares Carlos Orta, former Ford Colleague,
and mentor. “I was at Ford Motor Company, based in Atlanta, and she was my
administrative assistant, based in Detroit. The opportunity had come without any
benefits, but she loved working at Ford. I knew we had hired a superstar soon after.
I even joked that one day I would work for her! In 2000, Barry Coughlin, a highly
respected Ford executive (who since retired), hired Monica into Ford Governmental
Affairs as a PAC manager. The rest, as they say, is history. After I left Ford in 2004,
we became great friends, and I continued to mentor her as she climbed the
corporate ladder. It was through that mentorship that I fully understood all the
challenges and roadblocks Latinas face in Corporate America. After Ford, she really
enjoyed working at Comerica Bank and went on to have many well-deserved
promotions. While every loss hurt, this one is really tough. You never expect younger
colleagues, friends, or mentees to pass away before you do. I have no doubt she is
in a better place today.”
Monica was a 2008 alumnus of the prestigious Hispanic Association on
Corporate Responsibility HACR Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers (YHCA)
program, HACR’s accelerated leadership program for Hispanics identified by their
companies as future C-suite leaders. According to Cid Wilson, president and CEO,
Monica had been singled out by Comerica Inc. as a high-potential leader.
(L-R) Neddy Pérez, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion for
McCormick & Co.; Monica Martinez; Cid Wilson, President & CEO
of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR);
Cinthya Allen, Chief Diversity & Equity Officer for the City of
Norman, Oklahoma; and Wendy Lewis, retired former Chief
Diversity Officer for McDonald’s at the 2017 HACR Symposium
in Detroit, MI.
Monica Martinez with Ignacio Salazar, President and CEO of SER
She was a speaker at HACR Symposiums multiple times over the years,
including 2017 when we were in her home city of Detroit and in 2019 in Miami,
where she shared her inspiring professional journey of achievements.
In 2019, Monica was ranked as one of the “50 Most Powerful Latinas in
Corporate America” by Fortune Magazine/ALPFA. As successful as Monica was
professionally, she never forgot our Latino community. She was deeply active with
many organizations locally in Detroit as well as nationally.
Many are forever thankful to Monica for her mentorship, sponsorship, and
leadership. She was admired by many, including me.
Monica will be deeply missed but never forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are
with her family and loved ones.”
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