Northeast Metro Business VHEDC 2018 - Page 32

Women IN INDUSTRY DEBBY GUSTAFSON I ALWAYS KNEW THE BUSINESS WORLD WOULD BE IN MY FUTURE. D ebby Gustafson, Vice President and Senior Loan Officer for Twin Cities Metro (TCM) Certified Development Co., is President of Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. Gustafson, who graduated from college in 1985 with a double major in Economics and Sociology/Anthropology, says, “When I began classes at Gustavus Adolphus College, I knew the business world would be in my future, but I was uncertain about the specific area. “In my junior year, I interned with Business Development Services (BDS) and began a full-time position upon graduation. BDS worked with communities – including Vadnais Heights – in their economic development efforts. The company expanded into providing Small Business Administration (SBA) loan packaging services. I eventually purchased that part of the business and renamed it Bridgewater Financial Group. In 1997, Marquette Bank acquired Bridgewater and hired me to run their SBA division. Marquette Bank was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2002, and that’s when I joined my current employer, TCM. Add it all up, and I’ve been working with business owners, lenders and the SBA for over 30 years!” 32 Vadnais Heights Business Guide & Community Profile She acknowledges her strength as a leader is her commitment to her clients’ projects – from inception to completion. “The SBA has complex rules and regulations, and it’s imperative to follow all qualification rules and funding criteria. The lender has institutional requirements that must be met. The business / borrower, for which there are often multiple parties, has contractual / timeline / funding requirements. My success is defined by an ability to recognize and embrace the needs and requirements for all involved parties and figure out a way to bring them all together.” Gustafson is proud of the relationships she’s built in the lending and business community: “I have the opportunity to work with some exceptional business leaders. In fact, working with outstanding lenders and business owners – intelligent, high- energy, creative individuals – has inspired me to stay in this industry as long as I have.” What advice does Gustafson have for other women aiming for leadership roles in their organizations? “Several things come to mind. Number one: Exceed expectations. Know more than what’s required in terms of your job and your company. Be true to yourself at all times. Don’t hesitate to speak up and let your goals and aspirations be known, and join a professional women’s group or organization to expand your networking opportunities.” “Finally,” Gustafson says, “As your career continues to evolve, don’t lose sight of compassion and the art of listening as essential elements of communication.” TCM Certified Development Company, Vadnais Heights 504lending