Guardian Mortgage, a division of Sunflower Bank
Location: Denver, Colorado
Industry: Banking/Financial Services
It can be easy to focus on the bottom line and the business above all else, especially in a crisis like the pandemic. And even more so when you’re in a role like that of Mischelle Weaver, executive vice president, president of Guardian Mortgage, a division of Sunflower Bank.
But what Weaver remembers most about the turmoil of that time has nothing to do with revenue or remote work and technology challenges.
“For many months I sat through countless Zoom calls with people on my team who spoke through flowing tears of concern, frustration or both,” Weaver said. “Some of our team members lost a child, parent or close family member. It’s humbling to be trusted with people’s raw emotions. When you’re in a leadership role for a long time, it’s easy to think that you would know how to handle just about every situation … until you don’t.”
Weaver leaned in on making herself a better leader during the pandemic. She listened to podcasts and read books and articles on leadership. She contacted her mentor for guidance.
“What I learned these last two years is that while I don’t have all the answers, the answers are sometimes simpler than we think. Being present for people, really listening to what they are saying and what they aren’t and ensuring that everyone on our leadership team focused on their employees and customers was the most important and meaningful thing I could do,” said Weaver.
Weaver’s hope is that Sunflower Bank’s culture is so strong that word catches on and the bank becomes one of the sought-after organizations in Denver for prospective employees. It starts with a positive culture that fosters positive, thriving employees who tell their friends and colleagues about their company, and it snowballs from there. “That’s how amazing companies grow,” Weaver said. “That positivity can be felt by the customers. When employees feel valued, appreciated and have a place to realize goals which support themselves and their families, they stay, and stay committed.”
Building a culture like that is more important than products, technology or even profits. Weaver said one of the most important things she can do in her role is elevate her team of direct-report leaders to ensure the company continues to care for its people like the assets they are.
Weaver said she’s been given opportunities in her career because someone believed in her and took a chance on her, and she wants to do the same for others. She will make mentorship a priority for the remaining years of her career. “I absolutely love creating possibilities and opportunities for people and seeing them lean into something new and exciting,” she said. “Ultimately, my legacy is a very long list of people whom I’ve been fortunate enough to help advance their careers in some way.”
Weaver is one of 12 leaders named a Titan Hall of Famer. “The advice I’d give for the next generation of Titans is twofold,” Weaver said. “First, take chances. If something scares you then you’re on the right track! … Being complacent and safe is not where you want to stay. Lean completely into discomfort. Don’t allow yourself to ever, ever become bored. If you are, tell someone who can help you do something about it.”
"Being present for people, really listening to what they are saying and what they aren't and ensuring that everyone on our leadership team focused on their employees and customers was the most important and meaningful thing I could do"