We had the good fortune of connecting with Abby Tardiff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abby, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I’m definitely not one to give up easily, or at all for that matter. But, there are situations where it’s necessary, and most of the time, the opportunity will either arise again in another way or it is just a sign that it wasn’t the path for me at this time. I love this question because it can lead to or relate to so many circumstances, big or small. Here’s what I mean: on a smaller scale, and looking at it from a business-sense, I could be going after a good prospect, trying to earn their business. We could have great initial conversations where I think to myself, “Awesome, this is a slam dunk. I’m going to win this relationship” and then no matter how much I follow up, I never hear back. I’m persistent (or pesky, if you want to look at it a bit more negatively, but I like persistent better). So, it takes a lot for me to finally back down and admit defeat, but sometimes it’s necessary. Maybe there’s something else going on that I’m unaware of, and the opportunity will arise again in the future. Maybe it won’t, and that’s okay too. Let’s say it does come back months, maybe even years later, I typically hear that they came back because they remember my communication and perseverance. Expanding out a bit more: I think back to my days playing volleyball. I was never the star athlete on the court. Some people have that natural talent which leads them to being the top performer, but I had to work hard every single practice and match. I was typically the third string (for those of you not familiar with sports, and volleyball specifically, the third string means first bench player for my position – only first and second string are starters for middle blockers). I knew I had my sights set on playing volleyball in college, but being on the bench, it’s hard to be recruited. Well, I decided to make the best of my situation and I helped encourage and coach my teammates as vocally and energetically as I possibly could from the sideline, during and after each point. This relentless encouragement and coachability (combined with my tall height) is still what I give credit to for my full-ride athletic scholarship to a Division 1 program (Let’s gooo Mountaineers!). Looking at this in a bigger, more meaningful context: we live in a broken world. We are going to run into road blocks, tough times, hard seasons in life that we don’t understand. I lost my mom to an 8-year battle with triple negative breast cancer, 10 years ago. I was 21 years old. I could have easily pulled back from the path I was on with school, college athletics, etc. and shut down and come home. But, I know my mom would never have wanted that for me, and frankly that’s not my personality anyway. I had to keep going each day and finding a reason to be joyful and hopeful for a while. I’m not saying I don’t have hard days related to this anymore, but for the most part, I got through that rough season because of my faith – and with that, I’ll never give up.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I absolutely love what I do. The banking industry is diverse, wide-stretching, and no day is quite like you plan. It keeps me on my toes. But, just because I love the industry doesn’t mean that I’d love working at any company in the industry. I’ve been extremely blessed to be involved with two incredible organizations in my career so far. And, I really hope that where I’m at now is where I retire from one day (even if that is 30 years down the road)! I’m most excited about the culture of where I work (ANB Bank), as there are so many opportunities to grow, advance, make a difference, suggest changes and actually help implement them, coach others, and wear a ton of different hats. We are extremely relationship-based, and our goal is to help serve customers’ banking needs from a global perspective – whether that’s business accounts, home loans, commercial real estate, or all of the above. I love that I can be a resource to my customers when they ask for financial advice, are looking to grow their business, or if they need a trusted referral source. I’m very proud of the conservative and creative approach we take to serving our customers’ needs. We get to know our customers, what makes them tick, what their goals are, and how we can best fit into that. Our organization is flat, transparent, focused on our customers and shareholders, and rooted in the local community. I am proud to be an ANB’er wherever I go because I’m proud of the company and what we stand for. I love that I learn new things on a daily basis. A few important things I’ve learned along the way include: Always be a resource – even if I can’t directly help them with a loan now, I can still answer questions, provide guidance on how we look at the scenario, and maybe down the road it will be something that will come back around. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals – people love to help, and a warm, trusted lead is way better than a cold call any day. Don’t just hunt the big whales – small business is what we are all about, and how cool to be a part of the story of growth as they develop into a bigger business over time. Loyalty goes a long way, as does a friendly demeanor, and not just in banking – that’s good advice for life. The best way to learn and train is to jump right in with both feet. Finally, I’ve learned to have more confidence in myself and my abilities…So what if I haven’t been in the industry as long, if I haven’t managed a large team (yet), or if I don’t know the answer to a question. I’m quick to learn, passionate about leading alongside and know I’ll manage one day soon, and I know how to do the research or ask the right people so I can find out the answers quickly!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many great places in the Denver area to explore. I would definitely take my best friend for a hike in Boulder – starting at Chautauqua Park and heading up the flatirons – or down to Sedalia – for the hike at Devil’s Tower. In fact, we would probably do a hike or walk each day they are in town. I also love showing visitors Red Rocks and the view of the city from the most amazing amphitheater. If they were up for a challenge, I’d take them down to the Manitou Incline as well! For food and drinks, we would likely go to a few favorite local breweries near my neighborhood, specifically Resolute Brewing Company and Spice Trade Brewing Company, or a tap house like Two Penguins. We would also walk around Cherry Creek North and have happy hour at North Italia or Cherry Creek Grill. We would also have to come down to Castle Rock to visit a couple of my favorite local restaurants too of course – Union Bistro and Castle Cafe. We may play a round of golf, go to a Rockies game, or just relax on the back deck and enjoy some wine and appetizers together in the beautiful (albeit unpredictable) Colorado weather.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My incredible parents 100% deserve the recognition for where I am today. I’m so thankful for all they blessed me with growing up. I truly believe perseverance was instilled in me at a young age, from hiking mountains with my dad (who went on to complete his goal of climbing all 14ers in Colorado, then tackling the 100 highest peaks, and is now most of the way through the 200 highest!), to observing my mom as she fought through eight years of cancer treatments (and never giving up, even down to her last night on earth, she was determined to just keep living her life to the very fullest). They also are the ones who gave me the opportunity to play competitive volleyball – believe me, it’s a LOT of driving to tournaments and practices, flights across the country, energy, and especially money invested!