CXO Conversation Podcast

CAE Mary-Margaret Henke, Aiming and Reaching the C Suite Part 2

This episode is Part 2 of the interview with Mary-Margaret Henke. Today we discuss her insight on aiming for and reaching the C-suite.



Mary-Margaret graduated from the University of Denver and is a Certified Public Accountant. She is a member of the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business executive advisory board. She started her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC as a consultant, then CoBank followed by Janus Henderson Investors as their Chief Audit Executive. She then joined Western Union and pursued several roles including CAE.


Mary-Margaret recently served as Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee on the Supervisory Board for the Western Union International Bank out of Vienna, Austria. Mary-Margaret volunteers with the learning source and was recognized as an emergent leader by the Colorado Certified Public Accountant organization in 2014.





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[2:16] Michael opens up Part 2 with a question on palace intrigue as well as how Mary-Margaret’s path to the C-suite unfolded. She shares a tip about being verbal with your ambition.


RAISE YOUR HAND, SAY YES [5:57] Mary-Margaret shares specific examples of how she nurtured the relationships that propelled her along the way.


MENTORS AND SPONSORS [8:55] Mentors and sponsors are very different; Mary-Margaret details how. She touches on how to develop those relationships and shares her own experience mentoring junior executives and even further, teenagers!


REACHING THE C-LEVEL [11:55] Reaching the C-level isn’t a simple endeavor, Mary-Margaret reiterates the 80/20 rule she shared earlier but adds a caveat: is the C-suite your end-all goal?


WORK/LIFE [13:38] Balancing family and the C-level is hard, and it’s done over time. Mary-Margaret shares her advice for managing stress and getting it all done: reach out to your support systems!


INFLUENCE [17:35] Mary-Margaret shares aspects of businesses where a CAE is not required but ultimately beneficial.


SURPRISE, WE’RE ALL HUMAN! [19:44] The most surprising aspect of being at the C-level for Mary-Margaret was the deconstruction of the ideal: they’re human too!


GLOBAL INFLUENCE [21:15] The global aspect of Western-Union was the most influential in shaping Mary-Margaret as an executive; she shares why.


LINEAR OR OPPORTUNISTIC? [22:44] Mary-Margaret takes a look back at her career journey. She opens up about the three qualities that have served her best.


PRESSURE [24:22] Pressure points in head of audit roles are common; Mary-Margaret shares a personal experience to highlight how she handles them.


BANKS [28:49] The differences between farm and consumer banking?


INITIATIVE [31:33] Mary-Margaret shares an initiative she spearheaded as well as how she set it up. She also invites people who see an opportunity for solving a problem to raise their hand to solve it!


MARY-MARGARET’S ADVICE FOR HER YOUNGER SELF [34:09] When you lose, don’t lose the learning.


BEST WORST JOB MARY-MARGARET EVER HAD [35:27] Working for an unpleasant, emotionally unstable, volcanic basketcase — twice — sometimes, it’s OK to walk away.


READ, LISTEN AND GET IN TOUCH [37:17] Mary-Margaret shares her reading and listening list, find all the links below.


[38:54] Michael thanks Mary-Margaret for coming on the podcast to share her insight and closes out the podcast with his favorite takeaways.


We hope you learned something today and enjoyed the conversation. Please give us 5 stars on iTunes and share your comments so we can improve and ask the questions you want to hear.



Book: QBQ! Be Outstanding, by John G. Miller



Jalan Crossland for the music

Angela Johnson at OC Executive Search

Joseph Batty at Podfly

Corey Coates at Podfly


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