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How Utah’s top business leaders have responded to major challenges

45056762_MBeing the leader of a company brings with it many trials and tribulations. This past year has been more challenging than most, though. The annual list from Utah Business of CEOs of the Year is.a great example of how local businesspeople were able to thrive, despite some considerable obstacles.

Indeed, the leaders identified clearly share one trait: perseverance with time-honored guidelines for success, with some creativity and bravery thrown in for good measure. We’re happy to share some of their stories in the hope that it inspires your own pursuit of success.

The men and women who are honored are part of a great community of which First Utah Bank is proud to support, from our own senior leaders to those who work in every aspect of our business.

Addressing challenges

Among those who’s adapted well to the pandemic response was Dan Burton, the CEO of Health Catalyst, a company that uses data and analytics to drive decisions on population health. He said his company placed an emphasis on communication with all colleagues, including smaller groups and one-on-one meetings.

“We’ve tried to frequently remind team members to pace themselves, take time for healthy outlets, and for time off of work,” Burton said. “We also chose to temporarily cut back on some benefits to absorb some of the negative near-term financial elements of the pandemic, so as to preserve team members’ jobs.”

Marc Harrison, MD, the CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, was also inspired by his employees in the face of the coronavirus.

“The pandemic has been tragic and challenging in so many ways,” Dr. Harrison said. “But at the same time, it’s been an honor to work with the most dedicated and passionate people―to share the foxhole with them as we worked together to keep our communities healthy. I love them for their consistent focus on people and their willingness to prepare for the future. They never cease to amaze and inspire me.”

Chris Baird, the president and CEO of IoT wireless company OptConnect, had an interesting answer to one question: What does success look like to you?

“I’m afraid I probably have more experience with failure than I do with success but that’s ok, too,” Baird said. “Anyone who knows me well also knows how much I love to celebrate the ‘little victories’ along the way to achieving a larger goal. Success can so often be found by looking in the right places, with the right mindset, and with the correct magnification, can always be found.”

Learning from the past

Joseph Margolis, the CEO of Extra Space Storage, also cited a huge challenge during a previous time in his career. He led a real estate investment advisory group which had just finished its investment run when the Great Recession hit.

“The lessons of managing through this difficult time were painful, but are invaluable to me now,” Margolis stated. “He also said that he would tell his younger self to always keep studying what is going on in the business world in order to keep progress going.

“While singular focus and drive are helpful traits to gain expertise and advance in a field, I would advise myself to learn more about, and get more exposure to, other areas that might not directly relate to my current job or goals,” Margolis said. “For example, I wish I had learned more about IT and marketing early on.”

Ginette Bott, the president and CEO of Utah Food Bank and another top CEO honoree, saw first-hand about the need she brings families during this ongoing crisis. She said she found inspiration in parents who “are teaching their children the lessons of compassion, caring and inclusion.” She also cited those at her company who volunteer, as well as donors who “make the decision to share what they have to help others.”

First Utah Bank serves its community

Our support of developing businesses — longtime pillars of the Beehive State business world — and many non-profit organizations is an important part of our role as a community leader, and it has been a focal point since we began in Salt Lake City in 1978.

Among the ways in which we support non-profit groups, our branches participate in fundraisers, food drives and other community projects. We particularly enjoy helping residents find housing and connecting families with affordable and healthy food options.

We also encourage our employees to serve as volunteers in the community for causes close to their hearts. Some of our team members serve as guest speakers for local community groups, talking about the personal finance world and how to navigate it.

It’s all a part of our commitment to be a true “community bank,” helping not only our own customers but those who are struggling and could use a hand to better their lives. Visit the First Utah Bank website to learn more.