When you run one of the Tristate’s largest money management firms, what’s the first thing you think of each day?

"We control our destinies," says Maribeth S. Rahe, president and chief executive officer of Fort Washington Investment Advisors, a member of Western & Southern Financial Group. "I wake up every morning and I remind myself of that."

For Rahe, realizing her destiny has been an exciting journey. She was president and board member of the U.S. Trust Company of New York and served as vice chair of the board of the Harris Bank in Chicago. She worked for J.P. Morgan in New York and London.

Rahe has been called the first woman to shatter the highest glass ceiling, and in 1997, she was one of five female top executives in the Fortune 500. She has received many accolades—including being featured in Vanity Fair magazine as one of America’s Most Influential Women — and she doesn’t think her sex has ever held her back.

"I know this sounds so Pollyanna, but I honestly have not faced any obstacles as a woman," she says.

Rahe credits her mentor, president of Harris Bank (retired) Donald S. Hunt, for teaching her to be "cognizant of the chair you’re sitting in."

"Maybe I’ve always selected institutions that have wonderful values and culture," she says. "Institutions where I know I’d be very comfortable working."

It began at Bowling Green, where Rahe was a language major. After her father recommended she add a few business courses to her studies, her focus changed. Following a brief stint as a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State University, she was hired as the first female branch manager trainee for a small savings and loan. That’s where she discovered her passion: financial services. She went on to earn her M.B.A. in international finance from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.

"It’s a little bit of luck, a lot of hard work and being in the right place at the right time," she says of her career.

Rahe was brought to Cincinnati in 2003 by John F. Barrett, the chairman of Western and Southern Financial Group, to take over leadership of Fort Washington Investment Advisors. Under Rahe’s guidance, the firm has added a considerable number of clients regionally and nationally.

She has also worked hard to create a positive work environment.

"We spend a good portion of our lives at work, so work should be a place you like to be everyday," she says.

Throughout her career, she has made it a priority to exhibit strong, compassionate leadership whether in the boardroom or community service.

"I’ve always felt it was very important to be a good role model and to make sure I mentor both men and women. It’s just something you should do as a good leader and a good manager," she says.

Rahe also gives back to the community. She’s a presence on a variety of boards, including The Committee of 200, an organization working to improve opportunities for women business leaders, the Cincinnati Arts Association, the United Way, Xavier University and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She is a life trustee or advisor for many well-known philanthropies.

"My mother taught me it’s important to feel a part of a community," she says. "It adds a great deal of dimension to our lives."