A Passion for Making Dreams Come True
After 4 decades of executive experience in banking and finance, Sue Larew retired from the banking world to begin a consulting business, Larew and Associates, with her husband Rick, to pursue their passion for mentoring startup entrepreneurs. At Larew and Associates, she and Rick facilitate startups by advising entrepreneurs on business planning, raising capital, customer acquisitions and retention.
I’ve had the most amazing career that I ever could have imagined; I got to be a dream maker.– Sue
Sue’s career began as a teller for Commercial Federal Bank (now Bank of the West) in Denver, Colorado in 1978. Within the first two years, her boss recognized her ability to lead a team to a common goal and Sue was promoted to Branch Manager. She was later recruited by California Federal Bank in Florida to become the Senior Vice President of Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties to establish a strong sales and service culture. California Federal would later become Bank of America.
It’s her career at Bank of America that Sue is most proud of. As Senior Vice President Sue was responsible for sales, operational and administrative management for 78 banks with 1,050 associates and $6 billion in deposits. She was also integral in 11 mergers and acquisitions, including mergers with Barnett Bank and then NationsBank.
At the Fort Lauderdale Bank of America where Sue worked when first recruited she met Alex Sink, the then President of Florida Operations. Alex immediately identified Sue as an up-and-coming talent.
Sue is an optimistic person with a can-do attitude about any challenge she comes across. She is a very good listener who uplifts and motivates people.– Alex Sink, former Chief Financial Officer for the state of Florida and treasurer on the board of trustees of the Florida State Board of Administration.
From Bank of America, Sue went on to take a position with Bessemer Trust in 2001 where she specialized in comprehensive wealth management, succession planning, estate and tax management. Sue led a team of 15 professionals that managed $50 million on average per family. She attracted $70 million in new business while managing $3.4 billion.
Her job at Bessemer took Sue all over the world, meeting with various factions of high net worth families to set up family trusts and foundations. She specialized in creating family offices; essentially, family offices determine how and by whom generational wealth will be managed. Sue was especially taken by those who catapulted themselves to generational wealth simply by their own ambitions.
Sue left Bessemer to move home to Montana to be with her family. She took a position as VP at First Interstate Bank where, in addition to leading a team of bankers and branches in customer satisfaction and operational excellence, she also managed the bank’s philanthropic endeavors. First Interstate was a family-owned bank with a strong sense of commitment to community.
Sue managed sponsorship opportunities, volunteering, financial education, sustainability and public relations. She orchestrated over $250,000 a year in gifts to the community. Sue became a founding member of the Bank’s Sustainable initiative which took her to New York City where she spoke at the Financial Services Going Green Conference.
The achievement that Sue is most proud of is the $5 million raise for the second Watson Children’s Shelter, where she spent 9 years on the board.
During this time Sue also began working with the University of Montana. She joined the Montana Institute for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Action-learning and Development (iLEAD) council and was on the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Sue taught classes at the University of Montana business school and gave seminars throughout the state on her experience assisting startups with banking and financial planning.
Sue was also on the Advisory Board of the Montana High Tech Alliance. The mission of the business-led alliance is to bring high-tech companies to Montana, to cultivate and sustain a community of forward-thinking innovators. Sue was especially committed to working with and lifting up women. Kali Lindner, now CEO of OULA Fitness, was one of these women. Sue helped Kali take an idea of a fitness program and turn it into a worldwide online platform and fitness culture.
After 13 years at First Interstate Bank, Sue retired and moved back to Florida where she began her new venture with Rick. It was in this capacity that Sue met Don Beavers, founder and CEO of Sollensys, and learned about the Blockchain Archive Server™, better known as the BAS. She knew from her vast experience working within financial institutions how nearly impossible it can be to stay ahead of cybercriminals when trying to protect customer data. Sue believes the BAS is a secure and affordable solution to this problem; when asked to join the advisory board, she was eager to join the team.
Don invited Sue to join the board because of her extensive background in finance, mergers and acquisitions. Sue is excited to be a part of bringing blockchain technology to businesses as a solution for securing their data and bringing her vital expertise to the mission that drives Sollensys.
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Sollensys Corp is a Distributive Data company, specializing in Blockchain solutions that help organizations recover quickly from Ransomware attacks.