Influential Leaders

Irvin Ashford Jr.

Senior VP of External Affairs and National Director of Financial Education, Comerica Bank
Recognition Year(s): 2019
School: Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, University of Dallas
Location: United States

With the belief that “with knowledge comes power,” Irvin Ashford Jr. uses his role at Comerica Bank to implement programs that teach financial literacy to low- and moderate-income individuals.

Irvin Ashford Jr. serves as senior vice president of external affairs and as the national director of financial education for Comerica Bank. He oversees community development and external affairs for the bank’s Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas markets, and leads Comerica’s nationally-recognized financial education initiatives. He also manages the bank's micro-investing loan pools and builds and maintains relationships with ethnic chambers of commerce throughout the country.

Ashford’s goal has always been to help people succeed and obtain knowledge—about themselves, their communities, and their customers, and about businesses and how they are managed. As such, he has developed numerous programs that empower members of multicultural communities to sustain and flourish personally, professionally, and financially.

Over the past 18 years at Comerica, Ashford has worked to expand financial education and other development opportunities to low- and moderate-income individuals in traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities across the United States. Under Ashford’s direction, Comerica Bank received the Financial Capability Innovation Award, presented by Nasdaq and EverFi, in 2016 and 2017, for the institution’s significant efforts to improve the financial capability of adults and children through unique digital learning initiatives.

Two shining examples of programs that Ashford has implemented are the EMPOWER series and the Comerica Money $ense Program, which have reached well over 50,000 people.

Since 2011, the EMPOWER series has provided free financial coaching and counseling workshops to Dallas-Fort Worth area residents, through a partnership with the National Association of Black Accountants and the City of Dallas.

In 2014, Ashford helped create the Comerica Money $ense Program, an educational curriculum that provides innovative computer-based financial literacy, STEM programs, and other banking services to elementary school children and their families through school districts and nonprofit organizations. The program strives to make learning about money and the scarcity of goods and services entertaining.

Leading within other organizations has been a hallmark of Ashford’s career. He sits on the boards of the University of Dallas Gupta College of Business, The Webb School, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, Kym’s Kids, Focus on the Teens, and the Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation. He is also a long-time volunteer at the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, teaching small business classes, and he has the distinct honor of being the first African-American elected to their board of directors.

Ashford also has volunteered to share his professional knowledge and expertise with University of Dallas Gupta College of Business students—speaking to many classes and groups about financial literacy and giving back to communities. On January 25, 2019, he was inducted into the Gupta College of Business Hall of Fame.