Nov. 7, 2019: Honoring our military on Veterans Day
The IBank Annual Report is finished and the holidays are upon us. For me that means it is time to reflect on the year and prepare for a flurry of year-end activity at work and at home. While the buzz is already on about how many trees I will set up in my house (I’ve had six), which holiday movies are streaming or family events are being planned, I think it is important not to skip Veterans Day.
Veterans Day can often get lost in the holiday shuffle, but we all need to take time out to honor what this day means and for whom we celebrate.
My son Michael, my sister Tina, and numerous other IBank family members have served or are serving in the U.S. military. Whether in wartime or peace, it’s vital to remember that each of these humans and their families make sacrifices to wear the uniform and proudly represent the United States of America.
Mike is presently deployed overseas in this 16th year of his Air Force duty. Yes, that means he will retire before I do. Growing up he was passionate about sports, performed in the classroom to earn high marks and honors and I assumed he would become a professional baseball player or follow a traditional path to college. As a single parent during portions of his childhood, I strove to provide him the one thing I valued as much as ensuring he was in a loving environment: options. I wanted my children and step-children to choose what they could do after high school. I never wanted them to be forced down any one road. I wanted them to have the education and support to write their own stories.
He choose the Air Force and to say I was shocked and surprised is putting it mildly. I worried instantly about his safety but he has made me more proud than I thought possible. The man, the husband and father he has become made all those two-jobs-no-sleep years worth every minute.
Mike and every other active member of the military need and deserve our support not just on Veterans Day but every day, especially the families left behind when military personnel are deployed. They deserve more than just flags flying and people taking the day off work and school. They deserve our respect because of the sacrifices they make daily in countless ways.
It’s not always easy being part of a military family. I wonder where Michael is every day, hoping above all else that he and everyone around him is safe. Nevertheless, his service has made him the man he is today and he proudly represents our family and this country. Happy Veterans Day to all of the people who serve or who have served and the families who have supported them every step of the way.
Sept. 16, 2019: The power of working together.
Prior to my State service, I spent more than 30 years in the private sector banking industry. There are advantages of both private and public sector work, but the one thing that remains a critical need in both is the ability to bring organizations together to accomplish great things.
Every success IBank and our clients have is based on the ability to rally a team of people for a common cause.
Some of the projects we provide financing for aren’t the most exciting projects– wastewater treatment infrastructure, for example, isn’t going to be the highlight topic at your next dinner party – but they are vitally important in every community. It’s great to talk about helping a community build a library or a new fire station, but being a solution to a real need is the most exciting thing for us at IBank and it takes an entire team of dedicated staffers to get those projects financed.
At a critical juncture for helping the State of California meet its goal of healthy forest management and fire risk protection for communities throughout the state, it took a massive team effort recently to create financing for the North Fork Community Development District. While I was able to help coordinate an unprecedented amount of support from several government agencies in an attempt to keep the investors involved, the team is ultimately responsible for achieving great things.
Investor support along with grants and Cal-Fire financing ensured the project survived as a catalyst for other biomass gasification facilities in other rural communities. Again, this might not be dinner party conversation, but it is incredibly important for California to seek solutions to healthy forest management. It takes money, certainly, but a group of dedicated experts working as a team is going to be the way to success for this and many other future endeavors. It was truly a tremendous display of cooperative government.
My goals vary depending on short and long term, personal and work. But being able to motivate a team to do great things is always on the list.
I have been fortunate to live in many other places in the world, but California has always been and will always be my home. We are lucky in countless ways, but we must always be ready to rally as a team and seek solutions to challenges together.
Early Education at Fresno State
When I was a young girl, I used to sit in the back of the room and watch and listen as my dad taught Criminology at Fresno State University (which is what it was named then). My mom worked in the library on campus, so I spent a fair amount of time in Bulldog territory.
Being on the California State
University at Fresno campus last week participating and teaching in a
California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) certification
program was a surreal experience for me. While the campus has grown and
transformed into something greater since my youth, there are many aspects of
that part of the world that will never change for me.
Education has always been, and will always be, an important part of my life. What CALED does to educate current and future economic growth is vital to the State of California, and being part of that last week was an honor in itself.
But standing in front of a room full
of people wanting to learn was thrilling in a way that I can hardly describe. I
flashed back to all those hours with my dad. I recalled being in that library
and loving every minute of being surrounded by older, cooler kids who were on
their own, choosing their own classes and learning how to be adults. Campus was
exciting and independent. I couldn’t wait for that part of my life to
Life happened and my post-secondary
education was delayed by travel, location moves, full-time work and children. I
always knew I would go back to school and when I did return, it was likely more
meaningful because I was more prepared to appreciate my college and master’s
degree educational process.
Talking about how to better finance
economic development projects throughout the state brought my love of education
together with my love of what I do for a living. IBank doesn’t just have an
empty mission to help California. We deliver on the promise to create jobs and
make California a better place to live. Education helped me be in the position
to lead our team in that mission and every day I am grateful for the
opportunity to accomplish our goals.
And to think, it all really started
when I was a young girl, sitting in the back of the room, watching my professor
of a father at Fresno State.