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Ted Gunderson, Monona Bank

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Ted Gunderson, senior vice president, Monona Bank.

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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to help someone realize their dream, whether that is to expand their current business or start a new one. Good business owners typically know their business but perhaps don’t always have the tools to make their dreams a financial success. I’ve had the opportunity to partner with many businesses to help them grow and realize their financial dreams. That’s incredibly rewarding to me.

The challenges can come when you have a client who doesn’t have a sound business plan. In those cases I try to put myself in their shoes and think of their options. The key is being empathetic for their situation.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

Two come to mind. Mark Cuban is a businessman, investor, author, television personality, and philanthropist. He has such a broad background and oftentimes he just cuts to the chase on particular matters. His advice, good or bad, is honest and insightful.

Then, Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, the classic business school case study. He looked at the airline industry and asked how you can do it completely the opposite of the rest of the industry. I often challenge my clients, in their thought process, to rethink their business model in a contrarian way to the rest of their industry.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

I have volunteered with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC) for a number of years and currently serve as co-chair of their statewide loan committee. I was honored when they designated me Volunteer of the Year several years ago.

In your professional life, it is your peers and colleagues who most fully understand the challenges and rewards of your career. This recognition, because it was decided by peers who know what I do and what it takes to be successful, was very meaningful to me.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give to your 21-year old self?

Work-life balance is key. Who you are, for me, cannot be defined by what you do for a living. We are more dynamic than that with family, friends, hobbies, and travels. This balance has become more challenging in today’s world of 24/7 access and contact.

I’m an early riser and often am the one to turn the lights on in the morning. I give full attention to the tasks at hand while at work, but work equally as hard at turning that off after hours, on the weekends, and on vacation.

The irony is that my career and personal life have flourished the harder I work at this balance. So to my 21-year-old self, I would say work hard when you are at work, but shut if off when you are not.


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