Career ladder: Paullin-Hebden has a bachelor's degree from Alma College and graduated cum laude with a law degree from Wayne State University. She joined Dykema Gossett in 1989 as an associate, then became a partner at Raymond & Prokop in 2000. She joined Warner Norcross & Judd in 2006, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, investment adviser compliance and general corporate matters. Paullin-Hebden, 55, has been a leader at the firm, including serving on the management committee. She became executive partner in Warner's Southfield office in April.
Power metrics: She leads Warner Norcross & Judd's second-largest office, with 31 attorneys and more than 50 employees. Michigan Lawyers Weekly named her one of the 2011 "Top Women in Law." She also was named to "Best Lawyers in America" in 2014-15 and has been a Michigan "Super Lawyer" since 2010. She also serves on the board of directors for the Detroit Historical Society and board of governors for Skyline Club.
Super power: Paullin-Hebden cites her creativity as a key to her success. "Problem solving, whether it's within the firm or for a client, requires understanding the issues and the desired outcomes, then thinking out of the box to come up with wins for all stakeholders," she said.
Board / community connections: Detroit Historical Society, board of directors; Skyline Club, board of governors; member of Michigan Women's Foundation and Inforum, 2003 class.
Biggest setback: "I was a partner in a firm that imploded. That was personally and professionally challenging and difficult. But it was also a great learning experience, and I've been able to use what I learned in advising clients, making management and strategic business decisions, and even making personal decisions."
Inspiration: "I wanted to be a lawyer from the time I was in sixth grade. ... Now, I see it as a way to either help people solve a problem or accomplish a goal. Both outcomes are incredibly rewarding."
Advice to help women succeed: Have goals. "Believe in yourself. Don't listen to anyone who starts sentences with 'you can't.' Accept failure and move on. Have no regrets and be fearless." Her dad owned a business and taught her that "a job worth doing is worth doing right," she said. "My dad also taught me that your name — meaning your integrity and your word — is far more important than any money that you can make."
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.
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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.
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.