Xavier Magazine

Profile: Barbara Henshaw

Master of Business Administration, 1982
Vice President and Officer in Charge, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cincinnati Branch

Humble Beginnings | Shortly after graduating with an undergraduate degree in finance and accounting, Henshaw took a management trainee job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland where she’s worked for the past 30 years.

Fast Money | “When I started in the Fed, I had an opportunity to get onto a system project where we were developing high-speed currency processing equipment for the whole Federal Reserve System, and I was a product manager for one of the four prototype systems. Because of that, I got the opportunity to travel to Japan and work with a manufacturing company there in connection with the project.”

Economic Education | Now Henshaw is responsible for the seven-member board of directors for Cincinnati. “We also have responsibility for the community outreach activities, which might include different kinds of public programs. For example, we’re getting ready to have a research seminar on financial education, and we’ll be inviting people who are involved in doing economic education, whether it be for children or for adults. Some of them will be teachers. Some of them might be non-profit agencies that provide economic education for low- and moderate-income adults.”

Dollars and Sense | “This is one of the areas I’m very, very interested in, because I also serve as chair of the board of trustees of the Economic Center for Education Research at the University of Cincinnati. Their mission for 30 years has been to incorporate economics and personal financial education into the classroom, and they train teachers in our region to do that. I feel very strongly that if our economy is to grow and prosper, we really must do a better job in educating our citizens on how to make appropriate financial decisions for themselves and their families.”

Banking 101 | The Cincinnati native also helped facilitate a joint conference on the Hispanic population. “When you have an influx of individuals from other countries who may not be familiar with the banking system or they don’t trust the banking system, there’s a real educational learning curve on how our banks here can provide products and services that will be useful and acceptable to, let’s say, the Hispanic immigrant populations that are coming more into the Midwest.”

Safety and Soundness | “As the central bank, you can see things sort of from a very macro level. From a policy level and because we’re not a for-profit organization, our motivation is not returning value to shareholders, per se. But we are always very concerned that what we do is in the best interest of the public in terms of safety and soundness of the financial system—and being transparent and being prudent with the funds that are entrusted to us. But I think that having the ability to have a major impact in the work that we do gives you that opportunity.”

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