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President, Chief Executive Officer & Partner Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC
MANAGING BILLIONS DOLLARS DEALS
By Tamekia N. Ashford
There's something distinctive about Suzanne Shank. Her name is synonymous with Wall Street and the public finance industry.
Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise and the U.S. Banker have all acknowledged her success. She is not in the limelight in the traditional sense, but perhaps the world should take a closer look. Shank is the woman that so many girls still dream of becoming. She is brilliant, beautiful and the leader of a firm that manages deals totaling over $800 billion for state and local governments across the country. It is no surprise that she was invited to the White House to meet with President Barak Obama and key leaders of the business world.
Suzanne Shank is the president, chief executive officer and partner of Siebert Brandford Shank and Co., L.L.C., a national underwriter of municipal bonds with offices in 22 cities. The company has achieved significant rankings including being the topped ranked Minority Women Business-owned Enterprise (M/WBE) since 1998, becoming the first MWBE to rank in the top ten among all firms in 2010 and 2011 and ranking in the top three for Michigan transactions. She has led and been actively involved in a variety of large scale transactions including transportation and redevelopment projects, water and sewer projects, convention centers, sports facilities, jails and schools. "I never expected to be an entrepreneur," said Suzanne Shank. "I was actually an engineer during my first career. This was nothing I planned--it was serendipity. When we started the firm in 1996, the hardest thing to do was to convince people to hire a start-up firm. The financial crisis allowed us to recruit from large Wall Street firms and we were able to attract a talented team. I have faith in my partners and employees."
Shank grew up in a small town and had no choice but to work very hard. She is a graduate of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania with a Masters of Business Administration degree in finance and the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. "My mom and dad worked hard," smiles Shank. I guess I was destined to work hard too. I've always been motivated and had a strong drive." Shank credits much of her instinctive financial savvy to her mother; "She was a prudent spender and big time saver."
"I try not to worry about what's next," said Shank. "When I turned 40, I began to understand the real priorities in my life-- healthy kids, great parents, friends and happiness." And how does she balance it all? Kickboxing, a personal trainer and organic foods minus the red meats seem to be the answer to staying fit and reducing stress; She admits to working out more since watching the Olympics.
Shank's commitment to Detroit is evident in her numerous civic and charitable affiliations. She founded the Detroit Summer Finance Institute- - a summer internship program and serves on the boards of the Detroit Institute of Arts and Regional Chamber.
Whether Shank is catching a 7am flight to New York, D.C., Atlanta or Connecticut, or managing billion-dollar deals, her most important deal and piece of work to be done is to arrive back home to check on her kids before they go to bed. "I want to know how their day was, how was practice, what did they eat?" Shank said. They're the deal of a lifetime!"
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