Career ladder: Payne, 57, received an MBA from Duke University in 1982. Her first job was as a commercial banker with Chemical Bank in New York City. In 1987, she moved to Goldman Sachs as an investment banker focused on real estate. In 1997 she became CFO for Taubman Co. and moved to Michigan. She became vice chairman in 2003 while continuing as CFO. Payne serves on the board of directors of Masco Corp., Rockwell Automation and JCPenney.
Power metrics: Detroit-based Soave Enterprises, with operations in metal recycling, residential real estate and auto retailing, has 1,623 employees, about 500 in Southeast Michigan, and annual revenues of $1.5 billion to $2 billion. Real estate projects in Detroit; Naples, Fla.; and northern Virginia are expected to generate revenue of approximately $4 billion over seven to 10 years.
Special skill: "Respect for diverse opinions in decision making and a true openness to change my point of view if someone makes a better or stronger business case."
On leaving Taubman: She had a great job and a great boss and a strong track record of delivering 15 percent returns to shareholders. Yet Payne knew that to grow, she needed a new job or organization. And she believed a new CFO at the mall development company would bring "more energy and new ideas." So she departed last September in "a win for the company and a win for me."
Best mentors: Two of them. Mall developer A. Alfred Taubman, "who was a significant positive contributor and a person of influence every day of his life and demonstrated the beauty of generosity." And Steve Andrews, who founded Kensington Church, who "has shown me the impact one humble person can have on a community with faith, trust and boldness."
Recently learned: Generosity and giving are important. She wants to be part of more generosity and philanthropy aimed at Detroit.
Advice for women on success: "This career is a marathon, not a sprint," so be willing to run through the peaks and valleys and keep going. Find a flexible employer, and maintain key family commitments. Payne's included family dinners at least two nights a week, which required declining a lot of business invitations. To serve on corporate boards, start with a local mid-range company and build credibility.
Next big goal: Help founder Tony Soave transition his company to insure stability, continuity and success, and become more involved in transforming Detroit.
Quote: "If you get too anchored into 'I'm right,' it's a pretty big Achilles' heel. It's very difficult to always be right."
Jennette SmithHere's how we produced this special section.
Jennette SmithWe view all of our honorees over the years as part of a "legacy list," some of whom should be considered as prospects for corporate and nonprofit board service.
Vickie ElmerNot that they have a lot of free time, but when they do, here's how the 100 Most Influential Women fill it.
Sherri WelchThe new study by Grand Valley State University of Fortune 500 boards shows a correlation between board diversity and healthier profits, and Michigan companies have ample opportunity to improve board diversity, the study's co-author says.
Staff Blog | Jennette SmithI've been living and breathing this project for months and got by with a little help from my friends in the newsroom and at companies across the state.
Staff Blog | Mary KramerThat's why Crain's Detroit Business has joined with the Michigan Women's Commission and Deloitte, among others, to create a path to help more companies find talent for their boards.
Crain's Detroit BusinessIn an effort to boost women's representation on for-profit corporate boards, Crain's Detroit Business on Tuesday night launched the Michigan Women's Directory. The launch coincided with the 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan recognition event that was attended by about 700 people.