“My ability to succeed here is based on the people (who) surround me. I’m so thankful to have such strong ladies here to support me.”
— Alisa Corey, new branch president at Bank of Colorado, 250 W. Victory Way, in Craig
When Alisa Corey was 21, many of her friends were in college studying and preparing for the professional, working world.
Corey, on the other hand, embraced her Gunnison ranch upbringing and decided to ride in the rodeo circuit as a barrel racer.
Although still passionate about horses, Corey knew she wanted more out of life than working minimum wage jobs to supplement her passion for riding.
So, at age 22, Corey followed the path of many of her friends and went to college.
“I worked a lot of different jobs and I wasn’t happy making minimum wage,” Corey said. “So, that was my motivation for going to college. It really helped me stay focused and grounded.”
Now 32, Corey is poised to experience one of her profession’s high water marks.
On Tuesday, she was named new branch president at Bank of Colorado, 250 W. Victory Way, in Craig.
“To be a female president of a bank at 32 I felt like was such an honor,” Corey said. “It’s an amazing accomplishment that I am very proud of.”
Corey’s journey to one of Craig’s top banking positions began at the University of Colorado at Denver in 2002.
In addition to meeting Grant, her husband of three-and-a-half years, Corey earned a degree in finance and graduated in 2007. She took a year off in between to work full-time so she could pay for school.
Corey and Grant decided to relocate from Denver to Craig in 2008. They married a short time later.
Grant’s close ties to the community prompted the move to Craig. A local native, Grant works in the family business at Corey Electric.
It was also about that time Corey began working at Bank of Colorado as an administrative assistant.
In less than four years she rose through the ranks to credit analyst and then assistant vice president before becoming president.
Audrey Anna Charchalis, a loan officer/mortgage specialist at Bank of Colorado, isn’t surprised by the promotion.
Corey and Charchalis began their banking careers at roughly the same time and navigated the industry’s steep learning curve together.
The experience cemented a bond that extends beyond the 9-to-5 work day.
“We’ve always been a team,” Charchalis said. “She’s just so smart, she gets things and she’s so brave.
“That’s why she is going to rock it at this job.”
The branch president position opened Feb. 24 when Dave Dempster submitted his resignation. Dempster accepted a position as senior vice president of United Prairie Bank of Mankato in Mankato, Minn. (See letters to the editor, page 6)
Dempster has family in the Mankato area. He said his new position provides his family with an opportunity to be closer to relatives.
But before leaving, Dempster endorsed Corey as his replacement.
“I had made a recommendation,” Dempster said. “She has been my right-hand person for a number of years. She is very capable of stepping in and taking over.”
Shawn Osthoff, Bank of Colorado executive vice president, interviewed Corey for the position Monday, just three days after Dempster’s resignation.
There were other candidates from outside the area, but it was Corey’s ties to Craig that sealed her promotion.
Osthoff announced her hiring Tuesday morning.
“Alisa is a natural leader and is always looking at the big picture with a vision for the future,” Osthoff said. “She is very involved in the Craig community and is interested in doing what she can to help the community grow and prosper.”
It’s her dedication to community coupled with her ranching background that gives Corey confidence in her new role.
On Wednesday afternoon, she was already talking about ways to foster relationships with area ranchers, who she believes are the backbone of the local economy, as well as small business owners and budding entrepreneurs.
“I feel my role as a banker is to build strong partnerships in the community, reinvest in the community, and be here to make sure our services are available to small businesses and ranchers,” Corey said. “That’s the core of our community.”
One of those services is providing lines of credit to small business owners to expand or to ranchers to ensure economic stability until haying season.
Corey also serves on the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Board. She said it’s exciting to learn about people who are thinking about starting a new business and then talking to those people a few days later about a loan.
“I may not be able to do something for them the day they come in, but I am happy to work with people so that when they are ready they’ll have a foundation to succeed,” Corey said. “To see their journey from point A to point B, where they were and how they got there, is really one of the best perks of my job.”
When she’s not in the office, Corey enjoys spending the warm weather months on the links with her husband.
Although she carries a respectable handicap, Corey said she was not a lifelong golfer.
She discovered a love for the game in college and was motivated to pick it up while interning at Merrill Lynch in Denver.
But it wasn’t until she was pregnant with her daughter, Gracen, now 16 months old, that she found her rhythm.
“We golfed every single day and there is something about having to slow down your swing because you’re enormous,” Corey said. “The year I was pregnant was definitely my best year.”
Osthoff said it’s not uncommon to find branch presidents throughout the company who are in their 30s.
Corey said she’s humbled by her new position and is comforted by being surrounded by an experienced team.
She spoke of Tammy Martinez, operations manager and Bank of Colorado veteran for 18 years, and Patty Kroese, assistant vice president who has been with the company for 20 years, as people she expects to lean on for support during the transition.
“My ability to succeed here is based on the people (who) surround me,” Corey said. “I’m so thankful to have such strong ladies here to support me.”
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