Pub. 12 2022-2023 Issue 6

CBA Centerpoint

Karrie Fletcher

Alpine Bank

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The thing that I enjoy the most about my job is the people. I love to be involved in a community — meeting new people and building relationships with others. I have an opportunity to be a mentor to others that I work with, collaborate with leaders through non-profit boards, and work with customers to help them in all aspects of their banking needs. Through my career with Alpine Bank, I have built long-term friendships with customers and co-workers who have had huge impacts on my life.

What makes your bank unique?

I truly believe that Alpine Bank has the best culture in the banking industry. We are proud to be a true Colorado bank that is one of the most philanthropic companies in the state. Alpine Bank is employee-owned which gives each of us, as shareholders of the bank, an entrepreneurial stake in the company to help guide us to make decisions that are best for the bank and for our customers.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is the ability to give back to the communities in which we serve. I am able to volunteer in the community and for non-profit boards such as Make‑A‑Wish Colorado and as an advisory board member of the CBA. As a banker, I have the ability to impact our communities through non-profit investments of both time and money. It is so rewarding to play a small part of these non-profit entities and see first-hand how they effect change to make our communities better.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a rockstar! I am not a good singer, but I’ve always thought that entertaining people through music would be so rewarding.

Sherry Waner

Chief Development Officer
First Southwest Bank

What makes your bank unique?

First Southwest Bank is a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution). There are only two in the state of Colorado and no other CDFI banks in the entire four corners region. CDFI banks operate a little differently than traditional banks in that they typically have a mission-oriented focus and predominately serve populations and geographic areas that are underserved.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is being able to help entrepreneurs get access to capital, especially when they come to First Southwest Bank after others are unable to help them. It is rewarding to be able to watch them succeed, and I enjoy the friendships that ensue from the development of that relationship.

What do you like to do to give back to the community?

I like to spend my time where I feel like I can create the greatest value. I love to educate and be a role model for other aspiring women professionals. I am the President and Chair of our local Economic Development Organization, the Vice Chair of the Minority Business Office, and I am on the new Office of Financial Empowerment Council. I have spent my time volunteering for various non-profits, but one that stands out to me is the Boys and Girls Club because it allows me to give back to an organization that once helped me.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.

I grew up in a big family — I have 11 brothers and sisters. I grew up in poverty and know firsthand the inequities that can occur at the poverty level. I think it has given me a unique perspective and insight into how to help those in need. Growing up on the receiving end of a lot of support services gave me an appreciation for the value of those types of services.

Andrew Trainor

Community Bank President

What do you like to do to give back to the community?

When I think about community giving, I think about crossing the finish line. I ask myself what will it take for the community to feel the impact of our donation. Sometimes, that’s getting behind a new idea or service to get it launched, other times it’s the final piece in completing an initiative. In any case, we want to be an active participant in building our communities and not a bystander. Charitable giving comes in many forms. Donations, volunteerism, and innovation are all tools we rely on to help others. That’s the power of community banking. We reinvest in those we serve both in banking expertise and by being a good neighbor.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

That’s easy. Watching people succeed. I have been fortunate to witness our business clients and our staff grow in ways they never imagined. They have often taught me the power of resilience, the overwhelming benefit of patience, and have given me moments of pure happiness when they reach the next milestone in their business or career. Since many of these moments are reached through a deep, personal investment of time, energy, and effort, it provides a feeling of meaningful satisfaction that you want to repeat, both for them and those who helped get them there.

Teamwork is key. I started as a bank teller and grew into a Community Bank President. I had a desire to grow, but others also invested in me. I want that for those I hire and for our business clientele. I never want those I serve to feel like there is a ceiling to their accomplishments.

Who is one of the most influential figures in your life?

It’s hard to name just one person. Dick Berg, Dale Leighty, and Jonathan Fox all come to mind because of their ethics and dedication to community banking. They teach trust, customer service and community commitment. They live what they believe with such enthusiasm that it inspires those around them.

Andy Ellison

President and CEO
Mountain View Bank of Commerce

How did you get started in the banking industry?

Well, my dad would have said that I’ve been a banker my whole life. When I was about eight years old, he would pay me to help with some of his rental properties. But my first “real” banking job was a summer stint with Rocky Mountain Bank Card approving credit transactions. It was there that I developed a fascination with numbers and recognized the importance of exemplary customer service. While pursuing a master’s degree in international finance, one of my professors asked what my career plans were. I wasn’t sure at that point, but after some discussion, he suggested I become a credit analyst for commercial loans. So I did. And it stuck.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

My favorite thing (in banking and in life) is seeing people get to the next level. Whether it’s a business loan that allows a small business to acquire a new building, a team member whose confidence grows in customer interactions, or watching my kids develop and master new interests, I truly enjoy witnessing those lightbulb moments that propel someone to new heights.

What do you like to do to give back to the community?

As a bank, we commit to several Make A Difference (MAD) Days each year. Employees participate in one of three cross-department teams, each of which appoints a team lead, researches and chooses a local non-profit to serve, and schedules a day of volunteer labor. They work hard and it’s really a great source of pride for the individuals on the team, as well as the organization.

What is your favorite book?

Do I have to choose just one? I read a lot — mostly business books. But I also think a spreadsheet can read like a novel because numbers can tell fascinating stories. Anyway, three books I would recommend to anyone, regardless of their industry, are:

  1. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni
  3. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin