by Chelsea Cliff
November 12, 2015
Sterling State Bank wouldn't be where it is today without the great team that has continued to build and suport relationships with customers and communities. Cheryl Morton, Business Development Specialist for Sterling State Bank, has been an active member of that team for the past 7 years. After talking to Cheryl about her journey in business development it's clear that Sterling State Bank cares. Whether it's attending an award function for a fellow team member or volunteering time to a local charity, you can be sure that Sterling State Bank will be present and represented through her tireless participation.
A small town in Iowa was where life's adventures began for Cheryl who knew from a young age that she wanted to be a Journalist. Deciding to attend Drake University after high school was her first step towards attaining that dream. After graduation she found that opportunities with news publications were scarce and decided to accept a public relations job at a distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. It turned out to be the perfect platform to launch what has been an amazing career journey.
"Growing and pushing youself everyday, making others feel comfortable," was the most challenging and rewarding part of that first job, Cheryl explains. In Public Relations, "you not only build relationships, you also get to learn how a variety of people think, what matters to them." That early experience in realtionship building has proved to be an important asset working in business development. As Cheryl continues to meet new people, she has found that the most common thread that connects a community is the desire to give back.
"There is so much need in the world. Sometimes we need the help, and other times we are the person that wants to give it." At Sterling she feels she has found a new home with a kind and supportive team that collaborates and shares insights on how to develop strong, meaningful relationships in the local community.
Cheryl works out of the Lakeville, MN branch of Sterling State Bank, and volunteers for many local programs across the South Metro. One program that has made an impact on her own life is Hope for Tomorrow. This program provides mentors to middle school age girls in the Lakeville, MN area. The program was created 6 years ago and Cheryl has been there since the beginning. More recently the program expanded to include an Alumni group, where the program continues to mentor the same girls during high school. A proud moment for her was the first meeting of the Alumni group.
"We were hoping that out of the 28 girls we had mentored in the last four years, that 6 would show up. We were shocked when 24 of the girls came. I didn't know if I had even gotten through to these girls as a mentor but that much voluntary participation was a revelation!"
Cheryl is also involved with the Twin Cities Ballet, the Lakeville Art Center, the Burnsville Community Foundation, the Lakeville Rotary, and the Lakeville Chamber of Commerce as a board member and volunteer. Recently she was recognized as the 2013 Ambassador of the Year for Lakeville Chamber of Commerce and as a Dakota County Exceptional Businesswomen 2015 honoree.
After working in public relations for a distillery and a holding company in Kentucky for 33 years, moving to Minnesota to be closer to her family was definitely a big change. But it's been a positive change and one that Cheryl has embraced. When she moved 8 years ago, she recalls, "I knew that if I ever thought, 'I should have done this sooner,' then I'd know that I'd made the right choice. I had that thought on just my second day here in Minnesota!" Cheryl remarks that this career path has shaped her life, "I know I am supposed to be doing this."
Spotlight Q & A with Cheryl Morton:
Q: What would you do for a career if you weren't doing this?
A: Become an Artist, with painting as my focus or a museum curator.
Q: What is the best book you've ever read?
A: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Q: What is the best place you have ever traveled to and why?
A: Paris because it was exactly the way I pictured it to be: romantic, beautiful, and deeply fascinating.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
A: Friends and I walk the downtown, North Loop, and Loring Park areas - and explore cool restaurants and shops - but mostly walk. We also like to check out the Walker and the Weitzman Art Museums.
Q: What is your favorite artwork, or artist?
A: The French Impressionists because of not only the painting style but they were activists with a mesage. And Edward Hopper. Oh, and I love Modern art too..
Q: What is your personal philosophy if you had to state one?
A: This Winston Churchill quote: Never, never, never give up.
Q: How do you define success?
A: I think that it's by each individual's own internal measures, which is most often not a physical measurement. It's how you feel about yourself after a day's work. Did you make a difference or are you disappointed with yourself for not being kinder, have you not made a difference in the way you hoped? Those are the questions I ask myself and how I define my own success.