The vice president of government banking for U.S. Bank, Sherrie Vogt is involved in a number activities that help the disadvantaged in Colorado Springs, including Leadership Pikes Peak and Partners in Housing. Because of her Leadership Pikes Peak involvement, she is part of the Women’s Community Leadership Initiative, a program she helped create.
The program targets women who were homeless, have been helped by any of a number of nonprofit organizations and are ready to start giving back to the community from which they have benefited. As a member of the committee, Vogt gets to teach different aspects of community, such as local government, education and the judicial system. One or two evenings a month, she and other women share experiences to help the women learn how to get involved.
“It’s a rewarding program to be involved in,” Vogt said. “These women have come full-circle from participating by getting benefits from nonprofits, to now being in a position to give back to that same community.”
Vogt was nominated for Women of Influence by U.S. Bank Branch President Lana Lay Yeakel, who has worked with Vogt for six years, and was a Woman of Influence last year. “I thought about people who have made a difference, and her involvement with Partners in Housing and other groups is really valuable for the city,” Yeakel said. “She does a lot. Her involvement in affordable housing and improving the lives of the disadvantaged & it’s something she’s continually been involved in.”
Vogt also sees a full-circle aspect through her work in affordable housing. Partners in Housing, of which Vogt is president of the board of directors and co-chair of the development committee, provides lodging and program assistance for homeless women with children. She has worked with Partners in Housing since 1995, when U.S. Bank assisted in developing the Home Ownership Workshop.
Vogt helped to teach and support Partners in Housing clients, preparing them for home ownership. “The two-year period allows women to become part of the job market, get higher education and helps them get back on their feet,” she said. “It meets those primary needs and allows them to focus on how to better their lives. They come out of the program having bettered themselves and their position.”
For Partners in Housing, Vogt works to provide program support and develop funding support. The organization, in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust and the Red Cross, has opened The Colorado House, on the corner of Wahsatch and Colorado. The Colorado House is a transitional housing facility home to the Child Enrichment Center, and provides affordable living for 30 single head-of-household families enrolled in the two-year self-sufficiency program.
After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in social sciences, Vogt took a job at a Fort Collins savings and loan. She realized that financial institutions were people-oriented and, in many ways, a good fit.
A number of mergers through Vogt’s career have placed her at U.S. Bank. Starting as a teller with Bank Western, she moved into mortgage lending, and then became mortgage lending manager for southern Colorado. Mergers with Colorado National Bank and others placed her in commercial lending.
With U.S. Bank, Vogt focuses on public sector clients, such as city, county and state governments, school districts and special districts, basically any public or government entity. “Public entities have unique and specialized needs. As a bank, we determined we should have personnel in place to meet those needs.”
Vogt is particularly proud to work for U.S. Bank because of its strict compliance to the Community Reinvestment Act, legislation passed by Congress in 1977 that requires depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate. The regulation requires U.S. Bank, for example, to invest a certain number of dollars for the betterment of Colorado Springs-whether the money is spent to enhance affordable housing or improve business development initiatives.
The bank’s adherence to the act is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. “We are measured on that as a bank. We’ve enjoyed an outstanding rating in Colorado,” Vogt said. “That’s not just due to dollars invested, but because we have a number of employees involved with local communities, in terms of being on boards and supportive initiatives.”
Vogt, a 2001 graduate of Leadership Pikes Peak, is serving her second term as chair of the El Paso County Housing Authority Board, and has been a member of that board since 1994. A $25 million mortgage revenue bond program will provide low interest rates and down payment assistance to about 200 first-time home buyers in low- and moderate-income families. The board has made that program available to more than 800 families during Vogt’s tenure.
Vogt is past president of the Association of Professional Mortgage Women, and has a certified treasury professional designation from the Association of Financial Professionals.
In her free time, Vogt plays competitive inline hockey, a sport she became interested in when her son, Nick, now 17, started playing at age 6. “We have just sort of grown as a hockey family. It’s been a great experience because hockey has allowed us to meet some really wonderful people and travel together as a family.” Vogt has managed both inline and ice hockey teams, and her husband, Scott, coaches hockey teams as well.
“Right now, my focus is my family, with my son being a senior and me facing becoming an ‘empty nester,'” she said. “I try to keep a healthy balance between family and work.”
Former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace is who Vogt admires, both for her strength and for her diplomacy. “We live in a very conservative community. I travel a lot for business and we have certainly earned a reputation for not being a tolerant community,” Vogt said. “It was a challenge she had to face and I think it was difficult. As women of influence, it’s incumbent on each of us to be more tolerant and to make sure we are being fair in our judgments, and helping this community grow in a way that is positive.”
Vogt said she is honored and humbled, to be among women she respects, and said she’d never considered herself at this “caliber.”
“I have felt for a long time that as a part of this community, it’s very important to give back to the community. You can’t sit back and complain and talk about the things you don’t like, unless you’re willing to step in and change those things.”