STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It was 2002 when Debbie Born Wright finished her associate's degree at the local college and took a job at Steamboat's newest bank as a teller. The young college student figured she'd work there while she assessed her future.
Sixteen years later, Wright is now an assistant vice president and commercial lender for the locally owned Yampa Valley Bank.
"I guess you could say she has grown up with the bank," said John Kerst, a mentor and former president of Yampa Valley Bank.
And as friends and family warned, Wright played down her role as a community volunteer and business member, calling her ascent "lucky."
"I was well positioned physically in the bank,” Wright said. “My office was right outside the president's and one of the loan officer's. Being located by those two people, I was able to be mentored and exposed to different sort of positions."
But husband, Tom Wright, said luck has nothing to do with Wright's success. "She's the hardest-working, most dedicated person I know, frankly," said Tom.
Debbie Wright took that dedication to Routt County United Way where she served on the board for six years, one year as president.
RCUW Executive Director Kate Nowak turned to Wright to help implement ideas that have affected the community profoundly, including "$20K Day" where United Way raises money in one day from the community that will be matched up to $10,000 by Yampa Valley Bank.
"It's a very successful fundraising day for us, and Debbie had a big hand in that. Whatever she touches is fruitful," Nowak said.
Wright also helped Nowak kick off Women United, which focuses on early childhood issues. Women United currently has 90 members and sponsors projects like Imagination Library, a literacy program that mails a new book every month to any child in Routt County from birth to age 5.
Having been mentored professionally, Wright got involved early in her bank tenure with Partners of Routt County, a group that mentors high-risk youth.
With two toddlers, Wright hopes to some day get back in the program but in the meantime, Ski Town Rotary Club has gotten the benefit of Wright's "worker bee" status.
"She's just a class A person," said fellow Rotarian Curt Weiss, owner of Central Park Management. "She just gets stuff done in her own quiet way."