Northeast Metro Business VHEDC 2018 | Page 32




Debby Gustafson , Vice President and Senior Loan Officer for Twin Cities Metro ( TCM ) Certified Development Co ., is President of Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation ’ s Board of Directors . Gustafson , who graduated from college in 1985 with a double major in Economics and Sociology / Anthropology , says , “ When I began classes at Gustavus Adolphus College , I knew the business world would be in my future , but I was uncertain about the specific area .

“ In my junior year , I interned with Business Development Services ( BDS ) and began a full-time position upon graduation . BDS worked with communities – including Vadnais Heights – in their economic development efforts . The company expanded into providing Small Business Administration ( SBA ) loan packaging services . I eventually purchased that part of the business and renamed it Bridgewater Financial Group . In 1997 , Marquette Bank acquired Bridgewater and hired me to run their SBA division . Marquette Bank was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2002 , and that ’ s when I joined my current employer , TCM . Add it all up , and I ’ ve been working with business owners , lenders and the SBA for over 30 years !”
She acknowledges her strength as a leader is her commitment to her clients ’ projects – from inception to completion . “ The SBA has complex rules and regulations , and it ’ s imperative to follow all qualification rules and funding criteria . The lender has institutional requirements that must be met . The business / borrower , for which there are often multiple parties , has contractual / timeline / funding requirements . My success is defined by an ability to recognize and embrace the needs and requirements for all involved parties and figure out a way to bring them all together .”
Gustafson is proud of the relationships she ’ s built in the lending and business community : “ I have the opportunity to work with some exceptional business leaders . In fact , working with outstanding lenders and business owners – intelligent , highenergy , creative individuals – has inspired me to stay in this industry as long as I have .”
What advice does Gustafson have for other women aiming for leadership roles in their organizations ? “ Several things come to mind . Number one : Exceed expectations . Know more than what ’ s required in terms of your job and your company . Be true to yourself at all times . Don ’ t hesitate to speak up and let your goals and aspirations be known , and join a professional women ’ s group or organization to expand your networking opportunities .”
“ Finally ,” Gustafson says , “ As your career continues to evolve , don ’ t lose sight of compassion and the art of listening as essential elements of communication .”
TCM Certified Development Company , Vadnais Heights 504lending . com
32 Vadnais Heights Business Guide & Community Profile