Banking and Park City icon Becky Kearns begins the next chapter
Becky Kearns sat in her office overlooking the Park City mountains and reminisced, a broad smile spreading over her face as the memories flooded her mind.
Kearns, one of the most influential figures in town, has plenty of them. She’s spent the last 40 years climbing her way up the banking ladder — she’s been recognized as being among the most respected women in the industry — and nearly two decades doing her part to make Park City a better place.
But now, she’ll be diving into a new chapter of her life: retirement. Kearns, senior vice president and director of business and community development for Zions Bank, spent her last day in the office Tuesday, capped by an open-house celebration on the second floor of the Park City branch.
She is excited for a future that is sure to be full of traveling and plenty of winter days on the mountain — her goal is to ski 60 days this season — but she will miss the day-to-day life of banking. For her, it was always a way to change people’s lives in some small — or sometimes large — way.
"It’s been a really fun ride," she said. "My degree was in marketing. But I decided to stay in banking because banking can be a scary thing, and we handle one of your most emotional assets, which is your money. So it takes a lot of compassion and understanding. And when you can see somebody buy their first house or start their first business or help them with something, it’s great to see the joy you can bring to them. It’s kept me here because you feel like you’re making a difference."
But her contributions to banking are only part of Kearns’ story. She has also played a large role in the community over the last 20 years. Her resume includes distinctions such as being the inaugural chairperson of the Park City Medical Center board, serving as chairperson of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, as well as sitting on boards for the Youth Sports Alliance and the Peace House, among others.
Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort and another figurehead of Park City, said Kearns’ contributions have been critical in shaping the town into what it is today.
"I think that Becky is one of a very select group of individuals in town that have had a dramatic influence on the quality of life in town without being on the forefront," he said." Becky has had a very unique approach and a personality that allows her to get a lot of stuff done and really make Park City better for everybody in town."
Wheaton added that Kearns has always been content to remain in the background, deferring much of the credit to those around her.
"She not a glory-seeker," he said. "Her rewards really come from seeing the results of the entire effort. For one thing, just look at the Park City Hospital, among many other things. It was her collective vision and ability to pull people together and garner the resources. There were a lot of people involved in that and that’s pretty typical of Becky. She has an ability to gather people and get them moving in the right direction."
For her part, Kearns said she’s always derived a keen pleasure from seeing Park City become a better place. And while she is stepping back from banking — though she will still serve on an advisory board at Zions Bank — her presence in the community will remain. She plans to stay fully active in the organizations she’s involved with.
"Those are things that I’m passionate about," she said. "I really enjoy that stuff, and I’ll stay plugged in for sure. My heart sits in this little town."
And after helping write the previous two decades of Park City’s history, she has her eye turned to the future and what’s to come as the town becomes even more well-known.
"I think it’s exciting," she said. "Some people have a lot of fear about the big new companies coming. But I tell people to embrace the change, because it’s happening whether you want it to or not. When I go out, I want to be a voice for this community like, ‘You want to live here. This is such a great place.’"
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