She earned a degree in business administration and finance at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley but decided to stay in Greeley because it was not too small but not too big for a small-town girl.
“I had always wanted to be a stock broker,” she said, “but in late ’87 the stock market crashed and I thought, well, maybe that’s not the thing to do. I’ll go into banking. Only thing you could do, though, was be a part-time teller. So I worked in retail and as a waitress, and fell into an IT position at a retail store.”
She finally landed as a mortgage loan processor at 1st Choice Bank, where she met Patty Gates, the person who would become her mentor.
“Four banks later, we’re still together,” Axton said. “We travel in a herd. Every time we got bought out by a big bank, we’d move to a smaller bank. Smaller banks have a lot more freedom and power to help people. They can make local decisions, which I think are really important. It’s more of a hometown feeling, somebody to call and have a face. I think that’s really important today.”
Axton said she takes pride in “all the people I’ve helped that think they could never buy a home. To work with those people, and when they come back to you again and again and again for your future purchases, that’s what I think is so rewarding — when they’re appreciative of what you’re doing and you’re not setting them up for failure.
“I’m very satisfied with what I do. I’m a numbers person, but I’m also a people person, and this allows me to do both.
“I also like being a farmer and working with the land. Helping people is the best thing, helping them fulfill their dreams or doing things in the community and helping kids with their 4-H projects.”
She met Alan, the man who would become her husband, while she was doing volunteer work, and giving back remains important to her. Axton serves on the board of directors of the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra — the oldest philharmonic west of the Mississippi, she points out — and as treasurer for the Weld County Fair Board. She also is on the Greeley Area Board of Realtors’ Community Reinvestment Committee and Affiliate Committee.
She and her husband have a small farm where they raise a few head of cattle, a little alfalfa and a large garden containing mostly hot peppers that they dry and grind into “sprinkles” that are given to a few fortunate friends and family each year at Christmas.
View 2018 Women of Distinction publication.