August 12, 2011

Sargent leads the way for regional cooperation

2011 Women of Distinction - Leading lady of Northern Colorado

GREELEY – Northern Colorado owes Trudy Sargent a huge thank you.

For 15 years, the transplanted Wyoming native spearheaded activities to further the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado’s efforts in Greeley, Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Berthoud and Estes Park. Each of these communities now has its own thriving community foundation.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when everybody works toward the same goal,” Sargent said. “This could only happen through Diane Hogerty’s vision, along with Bill Gunn, Tom Frazier, Donn Hopkins and Brad Bischoff.”

Such sharing is typical of the remarkable Sargent, the Northern Colorado Business Report’s 2011 Leading Lady. This is the first year a Woman of Distinction has received this award, which recognizes a woman who has accomplished pioneering achievements in Northern Colorado.

Sargent started her career, after graduating from the University of Wyoming with a B.A. in political science and mathematics, in sales and marketing with Western Girl International in Phoenix and then San Francisco. But she soon came back to the Rocky Mountains, and after a stint with Johnson Publishing Co., moved to First National Bank in Fort Collins.

In her 23 years with First National, Sargent accomplished a lot of firsts. She was the first woman to be hired at an officer level; the first woman to manage a major division, Trusts; the first woman to achieve the position of senior vice president; and the first woman to report directly to President Tom Gleason.

Sargent took time to fulfill her accounting requirements at Colorado State University and added the initials CPA after her name. She also attended the Pacific Coast Graduate School of Banking and graduated with honors. With this added knowledge, Sargent went on to found, with the late JoEllen Thornton, the Northern Colorado chapter of the International Association of Financial Planners.

Sargent’s community contributions include serving on the board of directors for Court Appointed Special Advocates; as director and treasurer for the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce for three years and as a founding member of the Fort Collins Breakfast Rotary – in fact, she was the only woman on that founding committee. Sargent was also a member of the Leadership Fort Collins class of 1982.

In 2009, Trudy was selected to serve on the Greeley Stampede committee. She and Trish Sandau became the third and fourth women to serve on the committee in its 88-year history. Sargent and her husband, Wes, were the Grand Marshals of the Stampede in 2007, and she currently serves as treasurer and chair of the hospitality committee.

“Looking back at my 65-plus years, every experience has an impact on the woman I am today,” she said. “The negatives all forced me to accept greater challenges and find new levels of strength and direction. Would I change anything in my life today? Maybe I would have accepted that offer to go to Nashville and be a country singer; maybe I’d work at being a better golfer and have skied the blacks at an earlier age, and spent more time eating my own cooking, but those are just details and the big picture is perfect. I love my life and would not change a thing!”

Bonnie Dean, a friend and associate said, “Trudy gives both her time and her treasure – from the heart – for the benefit of all Northern Colorado, and she is a great bridge between all our major communities. She takes a forward view of our region’s problems and opportunities, and she is a major contributor to everything in which she becomes involved.”

Thanks, Trudy.

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