Gateway Bank President James Christensen shares occasional thoughts about life, business, and what’s on his mind. Read on for the December edition of Mindful Mondays with James, as he shares his reflections on this year. 

As 2023 wraps up, here’s what I’ve been thinking about…

I love Snoop, but unlike his famous lyrics, my mind is not on my money, and my money is not on my mind.

Of course Gateway has a budget, and our team works very hard for our shareholders. At the same time, our goal is not to make the most money, but rather, to create the best culture and make a lasting impact on the community. Our increased revenues each year and continued profits are a very good thing, but that’s not what drives us each day.

Our company culture is strong and getting even better.

Company culture has always fascinated me. I love to ask questions and learn how businesses create strong cultures. Culture is not a destination, but a feeling. It’s the reason your team comes to work and gets excited each day.

At Gateway, our culture begins with family. We take care of our team, and they take care of you. We have tried several new things this year based on staff requests, including:

  • Two months of vinyasa flow and restorative yoga. This was a great way for the team to bond, learn a new skill, and get to know our amazing guide, Jane Cebrynski.
  • Learned new muscles we didn’t know we had with the help of Kathleen Gramzay. She continues to teach us new techniques for mindfulness and resilience, most recently better sleep and mediation.
  • A new series on nutrition starting in January. A happy, healthy team makes for a happy, healthy (and fun) culture. We will see how it goes with a “No Junk Food” January.

Giving back is a key part of our culture too. We have the most amazing marketing team ever (Shaina Rozen and Niki Blaker), who share our story, shape our culture, and explore even more opportunities to educate our community. Our staff invests so much time and energy teaching, speaking, and making new friends, especially with organizations that align with our values. Tisha Marie Pelletier with Social Connect Phoenix, Kindra Maples with Culture Crush, and Karen Nowicki from Business Radio X are just a few of the people we’re happy to call friends and partners.

We feel so strongly about the impact culture can have on businesses and the community that we’re starting to plan an event around the same topic in 2024. More details coming soon!

We don’t just say we care – we show it.

Gateway is not your typical bank. Our team may have more fun and dress more casually than most bankers, but we take our responsibilities to our customers and community seriously. Gateway is here in good times and bad  — not just for transactions, but also as a partner, friend, and one of your biggest cheerleaders. When we ask how you’re doing, you can say something other than “fine.” We’ll put down our pen and listen.

This time of year can be joyful for some and sad for others. No matter what this season of life brings your way, we’re here.

Grateful for the past, present, and future

I am feeling grateful for my family, an amazing team, our friends that support us, and all the amazing humans I met in 2023. Thank you for your continued support. You are appreciated!

With gratitude, authenticity, mindfulness, and presence,

NYTB James

P.S. Sending a special shoutout to my youngest daughter, who turned 24 this month. Love you, T!