The Western States Director Education Foundation is a non-profit entity dedicated to helping community banks continue to thrive through an annual Symposium that serves to educate and promote awareness of timely industry issues for community bank board directors and senior executives in the Rocky Mountain, Southwestern and Midwestern regions of the country. The board volunteers their time and are dedicated to providing a valuable and exceptional program every autumn. In addition, a percentage of the Symposium’s proceeds are reinvested in the industry through financial contributions to bank associations and other educational institutions to support their educational efforts. More specifically, the Foundation strives to:
- Serve as a principal source of director education
- Elevate director and executive knowledge of emerging issues
- Provide relaxed atmosphere to share ideas and network
- Serve as a conduit for directors to learn of regulatory expectations
- Advance director understanding of corporate governance
On behalf of the board, we thank those who have supported the foundation in the past, in the present and for their vision of the future.
Bruce Hellbaum, Chairman of the Board, 2022 and 2023
President & CEO
RNB / Front Range State Bank
“I have attended the annual Bank Director’s Symposium for over 21 years and without exception, the topics have been extremely timely, the quality of speakers has been excellent, and the knowledge gained has been invaluable, certainly to an Outside Director. It is definitely an event that our board looks forward to each year.” ~ Gwen Speer Clouthier, Citizens Bank, Farmington, NM
In the fall of 2016 the Western States Director’s Education Foundation celebrated the 40th year of the Symposium for Community Bank Directors. The Foundation was founded by several members of the New Mexico School of Banking in the fall of 1976 and was named the New Mexico School of Banking Foundation. Henry Jaramillo, Jr., President of Ranchers State Bank in Belen, NM, and Don Simonson, the Director for the New Mexico School of Banking, created and led this initial program.
The primary and most important factor in forming the foundation was to aid and assist the Banking School in study and research of banking issues. Henry Jaramillo granted the initial funds for the foundation in trust, thus, the foundation was formed. Mr. Jaramillo was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Board in the first official year of 1977. The other original directors were: Cyrene Mapel, Dean Robert H. Rehder, William H. Vernon, Sam D. Young, Jr., Kenneth C. Bonnell, H. Eugene Adams, Gaylord Freeman, and W. Robert Nicks.
The foundation would offer regularly scheduled intensive two or three day short courses at the New Mexico School of Banking facilities located on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Nationally known bankers and educators staffed the courses. The attendees had ample opportunity for discussion with the staff and fellow directors in class, at mealtimes, and during social activities.
During the years, the board members, the name of the foundation and the schedule has changed, but the intent of educating directors and senior officers still remains. Our primary goal is to organize an annual dynamic program that educates and informs community bank directors and senior officers about current topics presented by industry leaders. The directors are still given the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with other directors, find old friends and make new friends.