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2017 Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Annual Conference

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Last month, we immersed ourselves in the 2017 Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Annual Conference at the Desert Willow Conference Center. The Alliance is a membership organization founded in 2004 and comprised of 1000 nonprofit organizations and entities that support them, all across Arizona.

The organization aims to strengthen Arizona’s nonprofit community, “while also providing services and programs that directly help individual organizations succeed. By working with government to advocate for nonprofits, providing resources to help nonprofits save money, and creating opportunities for nonprofits to connect and grow, the Alliance strives to promote healthy, vibrant communities.”

At the conference, our staff was on the exhibit floor to answer questions about the services we have tailored to the nonprofit sector. Arizona has the largest nonprofits per capita of any state and we have found many ways to assist them, such as offering a high yield money market account to help nonprofits make more money on their deposits. Our banking relationships with nonprofits, as well as our service on many nonprofit boards, provides us with a sophisticated understanding of the growth, cyclical activity and cash flow issues common to these organizations. That enables us to help them assess their financing needs and to customize solutions.

The Alliance’s annual conference is a fantastic example of a program that helps nonprofit organizations succeed. We were in good company on the exhibit floor, with many other groups providing valuable information. The day also featured enlightening speakers and top-notch educational seminars.

“We were energized by mingling with so many dedicated professionals who are providing valuable resources and services to our communities and to our citizens,” said Desirae Outcalt, vice president and relationship manager at The Biltmore Bank of Arizona. “Our commitment to nonprofit organizations goes way past business; it’s about humanity and doing what’s right.”

This year’s keynote speakers were Jeff Moore, chief strategy officer of Independent Sector, who specializes in building partnerships and alliances; and Eva Nico, senior director of nonprofit programs for GuideStar, who advocates for better use of data and transparency by nonprofits.

Breakout educational sessions focused on such topics as board recruitment and management, engaging the community, advocacy, financial management, branding and more.

To learn more about Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, visit arizonanonprofits.site-ym.com.

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Supporting our Community with Some Green…Golf Greens, That Is!

Golf-Des1Over the last couple of months, we were honored to participate in two golf tournaments that raised money to support good causes in our Phoenix community and throughout our state.

The Arizona Bar Foundation’s Drive Fore Justice Golf Tournament happened on May 20th at the Moon Valley Country Club. Our bank’s Rich Endicott and Doug Metzger as well as two of our clients, Court Rich and Bill Harter, golfed alongside nearly 100 judges and lawyers in the Bar Foundation’s third annual golf tournament to support the Foundation’s mission of “promoting access to justice for all Arizonans.” We also contributed by sponsoring one of the tournament holes.

The Bar Foundation’s many programs include:

  • Modest Means Project – in partnership with the State Bar of Arizona, providing a low-cost, one-hour meeting with an attorney for people who don’t qualify for free legal service but cannot afford full-price rates.
  • Military/Veteran’s Legal Assistance Project – in partnership with the State Bar of Arizona and with support from the Arizona Supreme Court, providing legal assistance to active military and veterans.
  • Online Pro Bono Project –legal services provided by answering questions over legal help websites org, lawforseniors.org and azlawhelp.org.
  • Wills For Heroes Arizona – in partnership with the State Bar of Arizona and in affiliation with the Wills For Heroes Foundation, providing free estate planning legal services to Arizona’s first responder personnel.
  • Law-Related Education Programs – various opportunities to teach children in grades K- 12 about the law.

This foundation does important work to bring legal rights to all Arizona citizens and offer plenty of volunteer opportunities.  Check out the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education website to learn more.

In late April, we also took part in the Arizona Petroleum Marketers Association Foundation’s (APMA) 2017 Scholarship Golf Tournament at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. Since 2007, the Foundation, for one of the largest trade associations of its kind, has awarded over 60 scholarships, valued at over $300,000. Scholarships are awarded to APMA member companies’ employees and their children. According to their website, “In 2016, nine students received scholarships with a total value of $44,000….”

The Foundation has a long track record of commitment to education and support for members’ families. According to the APMA website, its members “supply billions of gallons of fuel and tons of related products annually to Arizonans. These businesses provide fuel and lubricants to the vast majority of commercial end users, including farmers, construction firms, and local and state governments.”

The Biltmore Bank of Arizona works with many local energy companies, providing a full array of banking services, and is proud to support this important part of the Arizona economy.

We had a great time lending our support by golfing, as well! Our bank’s Rich Endicott, Todd Leveen and Doug Metzger, as well as our client Bill Harter, made up our fabulous foursome at the scholarship tournament, and Biltmore sponsored one of the tournament holes as well. Biltmore banker Desirae Outcalt was also on hand to lend her support.

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Our Day at Junior Achievement’s “JA You’re Hired!” Event

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Imagine that you’re about to graduate from high school, but you’ve learned very little about how to land a job, including how to network, compose a resume, dress for an interview and much more. Most of us probably once found ourselves facing this exact scenario.

Lucky for them, some students get the preparation they need by participating in Junior Achievement’s JA You’re Hired! program. And fortunately for us, some of our team members from The Biltmore Bank of Arizona got to help those students develop the work-readiness skills required to transition from school into the work world.

The You’re Hired! program includes a rigorous, 10-session classroom curriculum led over several weeks by Junior Achievement volunteers, and it culminates in a half-day JA You’re Hired Challenge. This year’s Challenge, where our staff members Jeremy King, Desirae Outcalt, Darlene Esquerra, Todd Leveen, Bryan Ellisor and Nathaniel Spatz helped out, included more than 500 students from Phoenix-area high schools, all of whom had completed at least five of the ten preparatory classes.

The day began with a few schools participating in an interview workshop sponsored by The Biltmore Bank of Arizona. We asked the students questions similar to what someone interviewing for a teller or personal banker position with our bank would be asked. Career coaches guided the students through interview skills, like showing up early, making eye contact, shaking hands, researching the company in advance and more. Students who participated in this workshop had a definite advantage during the interview challenge later in the day.

Once all 500-plus students had arrived and convened in the large ballroom, they were tasked with a networking challenge. “A lot of the kids were quiet and shy coming off the buses, but they were running all over the room to meet people by the end of this challenge,” said Jeremy.

The students had one hour to meet as many of the 200 businesspeople volunteers as possible. Each had a bingo card with squares to fill in once they had met someone who met the criteria on the square – anything from someone who owns their own business to someone who speaks another language. The students were required to conduct themselves in a business-like fashion, so they had to introduce themselves and initiate conversation to find out the answers for their bingo cards.

Jeremy, who was volunteering for his second year at JA You’re Hired!, this time as an organizer as well as volunteer, was impressed by the number of kids who were already planning the trajectory of their future careers. “We even told a few of the kids that they were welcome to call us to interview for a job in the future,” he said.

After the networking challenge, where Desirae, Todd, Bryan, Nathaniel, Darlene and Jeremy all volunteered, the students participated in a creative marketing challenge, where they had to construct a product from loose materials in a box and develop an ad campaign; a STEM challenge, where they were tasked with figuring out math problems and puzzles; an interview challenge to test and hone their skills; and a thinking-on-your-feet challenge with real-life dilemmas to solve. The final challenge, called dress for success, caught the students off guard when they learned that select spies had been assessing their business attire at the networking event with the goal of presenting awards to the best-dressed school as well as best dressed boy and girl.

It was a tremendous day for these students, who learned very practical career skills, and for the volunteers who had a chance to give so many Phoenix-area kids a leg up in the business world.

We’d like to extend a special thank you to Todd, who serves on the Junior Achievement of Arizona board of directors and to Jeremy for working more than half a year on the JA You’re Hired! planning committee.

While we may not always think of ourselves as role models, it’s clear that you instantly become one when you volunteer at a Junior Achievement event. The business skills we come to take for granted can make all the difference in the world when you teach them to a young person. To find out more about how you can volunteer with Junior Achievement, visit their website here.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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Promotions for Desirae Outcalt, Lisa Friedman and Nathaniel Spatz

We’d like to extend our congratulations and tell you a bit more about some of our top performers who just earned promotions.

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Des Outcalt

Desirae Outcalt now adds Relationship Manager to her Vice President title; we promoted Lisa Friedman to Client Relations Officer/Treasury Management Sales; and Nathaniel Spatz has worked his way up to Client Relationship Officer.

Desirae, or “Des,” as she’s known, is a familiar face to many around town. She’s been with our bank since 2006 and has taken on increasingly important roles. She’s responsible for developing and expanding client relationships, supporting our clients with a full suite of banking services and products and promoting our bank in the community.

Des is also a founding member of Suns Charities 88. In addition to offering members the opportunity to network and grow as professionals, Suns Charities 88 raises funds for Phoenix Suns Charities, which has granted more than $17 million to Arizona children’s programs since 1988. Des is also a past recipient of Arizona Business Magazine’s 40 Young Business Leaders Under 40, and she has become known in wedding circles for producing stunning bouquets made of brooches.

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Lisa Friedman

Lisa Friedman started with our bank in 2013 as a personal banker and then moved to financial service representative, before her recent promotion. In her new role as Client Relations Officer/Treasury Management Sales, she will assist relationship managers by making sure our clients have easy access to our online banking platform and treasury management services.

Before she joined the Biltmore team, Lisa worked for a few big banks. The experience gave her a great foundation, but community banking offers a unique opportunity she values greatly: customer service. “I am able to help build strong client relationships and really make sure they’re successful using our treasury products with our banking platform.”

Outside of work, Lisa stays busy with her two young sons and her family’s shared passion for sports. They enjoy watching football and baseball, and Lisa says that spring training is something she looks forward to all year.

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Nathaniel Spatz

Nathaniel Spatz joined our bank in 2015 as an underwriter. In his new role, he will assist management to research and develop new customer relationships, not just for The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, but for Grandpoint Bank and its other division banks as well.

Always a hard worker, Nathaniel earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees simultaneously, while also working as the assistant to the CFO of a community bank. Once he started his full-time banking career, he was given a senior title by age 28. Nathaniel is a member of the Risk Management Association, and he spends one night a week giving a Bible study lecture through Community Bible Study. His other interests include reading political thrillers, playing tennis and hitting the gym.

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Who’s Who? We’re Who!

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We’d like to express our heart-felt thanks to Republic Media for selecting The Biltmore Bank of Arizona to be included in its Who’s Who in Business honorees. On May 25, the magazine honored our top executive, Rich Endicott, and our highest ranking women, Desirae Outcalt and Leticia Scearce, at The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com offices in Phoenix with a special breakfast mixer event.

Who’s Who in Business recognizes the state’s highest-ranked 10 companies in 50 different fields. The magazine also lists the top-ranked companies’ leading Arizona executive and highest-ranking women. 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the annual Who’s Who in Business.

We would also like to extend our appreciation to our clients, without whom we would never be recognized with programs like Who’s Who in Business, Ranking Arizona or BauerFinancial’s Five-Star Superior Rating. From the very beginning, we had a basic operating philosophy: treat people with respect; communicate and respond quickly to their needs; and be a part of the community we serve. We are glad that our philosophy is appreciated by our clients and our community.

Our clients come to us with complex issues – because we have a proven track record of solving them. We provide value beyond banking, and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients to help them grow their businesses.

If we’ve been able to help you, thank you for trusting in us. If you’re grappling with an issue that’s holding your business back, please consider meeting with us. Our relationship managers have counseled clients through a wide range of challenges and complex issues. Also, these experienced bankers really enjoy helping! Learn more about our philosophy and services here, and please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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The Future is Bright – The Biltmore Bank of Arizona Team Mentors at Junior Achievement

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Approximately 400 Phoenix- and Tucson-area teens may have a leg up on their peers when it comes to job performance. That’s because a group of Biltmore bankers teamed up with Junior Achievement of Arizona↗ and other professionals from around town to put the students through their paces in real-world job skills and on-the-job problem solving.

Entitled You’re Hired!, the event, produced by Junior Achievement and held at the Phoenix Convention Center, gives students the chance to build professional networking, problem solving, team work and oratory skills that they can leverage in their future careers. With rounds of team and individual competition, the students take on a variety of challenges and receive feedback and advice from the business professional volunteers.

After receiving a briefing and some training from Junior Achievement staff, the adult volunteers take the students through their paces in three rounds of game playing.

  1. Networking Challenge – The students have the onus of approaching and engaging the volunteers in conversation to gather information about the volunteer. The volunteer then rates the student and provides feedback about what the student did well and where they can improve.
  2. Power Team Challenge – A volunteer oversees and times student teams while they assemble a project consisting of circuit boards and components.
  3. Thinking on Your Feet Challenge – Using a four-round bracket elimination system, the volunteers judge students as they solve workplace dilemmas posed to them on a card selected at random. The game challenges the students’ communication skills, critical thinking and ethics. The final three students move to the stage, where they each address one of the most difficult scenarios of the game, and one is declared the winner.

Junior Achievement of Arizona has been educating K-12 students about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy since 1957. With offices in Tempe and Tucson, Junior Achievement of Arizona will engage over 90,000 students through its programs this year.

Seven team members from our bank (Bryan Ellisor, Todd Leveen, Paul Brodt, Nathaniel Spatz, Jeremy King, Desirae Outcalt and Darlene Esquerra) participated in the You’re Hired! event. Todd, Nathaniel and Desirae were quick to volunteer for a subsequent Junior Achievement session, held several weeks later.

“We all really enjoyed participating,” said Darlene, who coordinated the bank’s outreach with Junior Achievement. “You see some of the students shaking when they have to network with people they don’t know, because they’re not used to it. It’s great to be able to give them positive feedback and help them develop real-life skills.”

The sophomores, juniors and seniors, mostly from schools with high concentrations of low- to moderate-income communities, who participated in the event left with new skills and new ways of thinking about what they would do in the real-life work scenarios posed to them at You’re Hired!

“I know they’re going to remember this experience, and they’re going to put what they learned to work,” said Darlene.

For more information about how you can volunteer with Junior Achievement of Arizona, visit their website.↗

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It’s a Slam Dunk!

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Our Vice President and Client Relations Officer, Desirae Outcalt, has been working hard as a member of the Phoenix Suns Charities 88↗ organization and as the event chair for the organization’s annual Slam Dunk Street Party fundraiser – a progressive dinner that raises money for kids and families in need.

The Biltmore Bank of Arizona got into the action too this year – making a financial donation to support this great cause.

The Phoenix Suns Charities 88 Slam Dunk featured drinks, dinner, dancing and a silent auction on November 7 in downtown Phoenix at the US Airways Center. Auction items included memorabilia signed by Phoenix Suns players and much more. This fun event is so popular that it sold out!

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Phoenix Suns Charities 88 was formed with the mission to enhance the lives of Arizona’s children and their families by actively creating and supporting programs in the areas of education, health, human services, the arts, rehabilitation and sports and recreation. Throughout the past 26 years, Phoenix Suns Charities has raised and gifted more than $16 million to charitable organizations in Arizona, with over $1 million granted annually.

Attendees dressed in “Suns Chic,” including comfortable footwear for dancing and working the court.

For more information, visit the event website here.↗

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Meet Desirae Outcalt, The Biltmore Bank of Arizona’s “Who’s Who” in Business

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Did Arizona Republic’s Who’s Who in Business profile “Bulldog in Heels,” catch your attention? We are proud to say that “bulldog” is our very own Desirae Outcalt!

In case you missed it, check out The Arizona Republic website for the full story↗ about our very accomplished vice president and client relations officer.

We’ve pulled out a few highlights to entice you:

  • Des worked her way up in the banking industry, starting as a part-time teller.
  • Des stands at 5’10” and loves to wear high heels. Having this leg (and heel) up helped her feel more confident that no one was talking down to her when she was starting her career.
  • She loves to plan and execute weddings, helping with everything from making dresses to catering. As if her duties at our bank didn’t keep her busy enough, she’s also launching a bridal bouquet business, making the bouquets with antique broaches.
  • Des and her husband met when she was 14 years old.
  • Growing up with a single, drug-addicted parent may doom some children to follow in those same footsteps, but not Des. She’s parlayed her determination to create a better life for herself into a happy marriage and successful career.
  • As quoted by The Arizona Republic, “As long as I carry myself with respect and dignity and am confident with what I have to say, obstacles are easy to overcome,” she says. “I’m a bulldog. I don’t let stuff bother me and I go after it.”

You can learn more about Des on The Arizona Republic’s website, or you may prefer to chat with her in person. She’s not hard to find. You might be able to track her down at her desk, but she’s more likely out meeting with Phoenix-area businesses or attending business association events in our community. Look for the tall, determined woman in heels!

We’re glad to have this dynamic business woman on our Biltmore Bank of Arizona leadership team.

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