Member Spotlight

WHF is pleased to feature the WHF Member Spotlight. Each month we will feature a different WHF member.

Michele Lieber, President, BluePoint DC

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Fun Facts
I was on the top 100 Women in the Auto Industry list; my brother is a Hollywood screenwriter; I make jewelry that I occasionally wear.

Walk us through your journey in the financial services industry and how your career has evolved to your current position.
Currently, I am the President at BluePoint DC. I founded BluePoint DC one year ago and am affiliated with the Eris Group. The Eris Group is a bi-partisan group of professionals who really know their business and the synergy between us is really terrific. We work well together and the engagement sparks continued learning and sharing of ideas. I have grown the business and value every new project I get to manage for my clients.

It has certainly not been a conventional career. I am so lucky to have never had a job that was clearly defined. Every opportunity I have had required me to proactively step up and design and implement a program or office. My career has taught me how to devise a plan during a challenging time and take a leadership role to navigate through the obstacles to a successful outcome.

My experience over 15 years at GM, GMAC, and ultimately Ally gave me the ability to hone my skills as a problem solver with measurable advocacy results through significant industry and corporate events including the auto industry restructuring and the financial crisis. I had a great opportunity to serve several CEOs and to help them navigate the events that altered the company and industry. Together, we accomplished amazing things for the company and the industry. We survived challenging events and thrived. We designed and built a Washington DC office, a corporate Political Action Committee (PAC) from scratch, and enabled the company to become an industry leader. 

This expertise led me to my role today. I help companies navigate Congressional and regulatory opportunities and challenges. I am so lucky to have been able to serve as a strategic advisor to my clients.

What do you love most about what you do?
I love guiding people through a challenge to a successful outcome. Since I have been doing this work, not one day is the same as the next or the day before. The breadth of opportunities that have come my way in the last year has been incredibly exciting for me. I must also say I am so grateful for my clients and friends. The people who have believed in me through this journey have made every day so rewarding.

I have also made a decision in the last year to guide and mentor others. This has become a cause for me. The mentors I have had throughout my career were so valuable and now I want to do that for others. I have enjoyed each conversation with my mentees and I have actually learned so much from them as well. 

Just the other day, I was representing a client on Capitol Hill and met with a bright woman who had just taken over the financial services portfolio from her colleague. We met and touched on some important issues for my client. We said goodbye and I left the office.  I was walking down the hallway and the woman found me. She asked if I would serve as her mentor and perhaps spend time with her outside of the office to help her learn concepts that have become second nature to me. Of course, I said yes and we have since met regularly. I must admit I am bursting with pride when I see her and realize how lucky I am to share this time.

In my spare time I love to travel, explore new things, and I have also developed a great interest in designing houses. I like to redesign the space and everything inside.

How long have you been a member of WHF?
I believe it has been 5+ years, but it certainly feels longer.

What have you gained from being a member?
I really enjoy attending the brown bag lunches, public policy luncheons, and other membership events. I have found every time I attend an event that I am part of talented, knowledgeable group of women who share ideas and opportunities. This is an incredible organization and I must say some of my dear friends now serve in leadership roles and they have really made the organization exciting over the last few years. I am excited to become more involved and to help find ways to participate in mentorship and volunteer programs.

How do you make the best use of your day?
I still keep a hand-written calendar and try to keep a running list of objectives and opportunities. Of course, some days things happen that are not planned and I push myself to stay on track.

I also have a new love for my Peloton spin bike and try to use that every morning when possible. I find it a great way to start the day, to clear my head, and I really enjoy the classes.

Who or what inspires you?
My mother went to law school when I was in high school and still practices nonprofit law full time and teaches law school classes.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Professionally: Always stay in with the outs, you never know when you will meet again.
Personally: This too shall pass; and talk with people who make you see the world differently.

Who do you look up to and why?
People who overcome adversity and still always see the positive are the people I admire the most. I have a dear friend who has been through incredible challenges and yet she is always able to find the silver lining and makes time to share a laugh and a glass of wine.

I have also always looked up to my sister who has been a great example of someone who exhibits determination in the face of hardship, makes hard work look easy, and always has time for a warm smile or to offer sage advice. 

October 2018 - Dionne Joemah, Deputy General Counsel, District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development

September 2018 - Lindsey Johnson, President, U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI)

August 2018 - Bernadette Kogler, Co-founder & CEO, RiskSpan; Co-founder, SmartLink Lab

July 2018 - Lawrence Kaplan, Chair, Bank Regulatory Practice, Paul Hastings LLP

April 2018 - Dina Ellis Rochkind, Of Counsel, Paul Hastings LLP

March 2018 - Marti Tirinnanzi, President and CEO, Financial Standards, Inc.

February 2018 - Janis Smith, Board of Governors, National Housing Conference

November 2017 - Mary Pat Denney, Managing Director, Risk Initiative Vertical, The Oakleaf Group

September 2017 - Joanna Girardin Shapiro, Managing Director, Global Client Management, Bank of New York Mellon

July 2017 - Mary Martha Fortney, President, The Fortney Group

June 2017 - Kris Kully, Partner, Mayer Brown

May 2017 - Lee Ann Hoover, Financial Services Advisory and Compliance, Navigant Inc.

April 2017 - Faith Arnold Schwartz, Chairman, HLP, Principal, HFSS, LLC, Advisor to Accenture Credit Services

March 2017 - Debbie Matz, Board Member, Mutual of Omaha Bank; Advisory Board OpenDoor Trading LLP