GSBC on July 30 wrapped up its 70th anniversary session. This is an important milestone in the school’s history and the courage and vision of the Colorado Board of Regents and the Colorado Bankers Association. To plan and execute the curriculum and logistics for more than 500 students as the country emerges from a year long lockdown was a challenge to say the least.

As students and faculty prepare to head home and 141 new GSBC alumni embark on the next phase of their careers, here are a few things we learned over the last couple weeks:

  1. The human desire to engage with others is alive and well. You could see and feel the eagerness to gather and connect with other people. Faculty and students were just happy to be here. The GSBC network is a powerful force in community banking.
  2. Community bankers have a renewed sense of purpose and clarity of their important role in serving their communities. There are so many stories of how they rose to the occasion of helping their customers and even non-customers secure PPP loans. Banks across the country adjusted their operations to protect their employees but still meet the needs of their customers. This experience has provided a confidence to a generation of bankers, knowing they will meet the next challenge regardless of its origin.
  3. Technology with video, audio, chat, and sharing opens a world of possibilities for how we train and engage. It is not about in person vs. virtual, but how we blend the tools for the best student experience.

Finally, as the GSBC staff gathered in January to plan the session not really knowing what the status of the virus and economic lockdown would be in July, GSBC President Tim Koch was very clear: The student surveys showed that the overwhelming majority wanted to be on campus together. Tim pushed the staff to do everything in our power to meet the needs and expectations of our customers. First, we set out to plan how we could host all students who were able to attend in person while abiding by the University of Colorado’s safety protocols. Then we planned to adhere to the strictest protocols. As the year went on and restrictions eased, the planning got easier. Our staff—Amy, Josie, Taylor and Blair—did an amazing job of persevering when things seemed impossible.

Tim will retire from GSBC at the end of this week. Throughout his career, he led by holding to what was important: Serving your customers. Empowering your staff. Making a difference. We experienced the value of principles-based leadership. In the end, that is the most important thing we learned.

Thank you, Tim.

-Michael Stevens