Sarah Garza is an assistant vice president for U.S. Bank, a mentor, a military brat, an optimist and a cheerleader — for the things that matter.

“I believe you never give up,” the 31-year-old said. “Be a cheerleader for the things that you really love. Be passionate. If there’s something that you see that’s not being done in the community, just get involved. There isn’t one obstacle that can hold you back from what you need to do.”

Garza has forged her own path and overcome her own obstacles.  

She was a single mother with a baby boy when she moved to Colorado, and she immediately threw herself into the Women’s Community Leadership Initiative program at Leadership Pikes Peak.

“It really touched my heart — being purposeful, making an impact on others, servant leadership,” Garza said, “and knowing that a woman is capable of a lot of things no matter her circumstances. … I really wanted to give back, to allow other people to have a circle of influence. It was challenging at times; my son was really young and I hadn’t met my husband. With late nights sometimes, and working at the same time, even though I was exhausted a lot of nights, it felt good to know that I was helping others who were maybe in similar situations, to let them know that it can be done.”

Garza graduated from that program and went on to help launch Leadership Pikes Peak’s Leading Edge program. She is also on the steering committee for the WCLI. 

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“Sarah is a true leader in every sense with expertise in coaching, mentoring, educating, training and executing; leading herself and those she manages to be high performers,” said Tom Naughton, regional president at U.S. Bank, who nominated her.

Garza advocates for families dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder as a board member of U.S. Bank’s Proud to Serve. 

“We support military families and spouses, helping them get jobs and financial education, and we work with a lot of groups like Mt. Carmel who help families with PTSD,” Garza said. “My husband served two tours in Iraq as well as some other deployments, and those are some struggles we deal with as a family too — with PTSD.

“It feels good to take care of our veterans and let their families know there are resources for them … because it’s difficult [to find] resources — whether it be for homelessness or military families or depression or mental illness — when you feel like you’re drowning. 

“I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of support with my company and the community, and my husband’s come a long way. We’re doing great — we have two kids now, so we keep pretty busy.”

Garza didn’t change the pace of her outreach when her kids — just 13 months apart — were small and her husband was deployed. 

“Oftentimes kids came with mommy,” she recalled. “I really wanted them to see how important it was to be an advocate for people, and I hope that rubs off on them when they’re old enough to do something too.”

— Helen Robinson

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was in first grade it was the first woman president. I still have time! I love the banking aspect, how involved we are in the community, so I think eventually I’d like some type of wealth management position.