Written by Laurie McLaughlin
For four months, Gary Green ’80 had a shadow. Student Tyler Stewart ’14 accompanied Green to business meetings and industry events to soak up as much information as possible in order to jump-start his career upon graduation. “Tyler really wanted to see things and meet people,” says Green. “It’s the kind of engagement I want to see students involved with, and it’s the kind of thing executives should also engage in: opening doors and making the start of students’ professional lives easier.”
Green is the executive vice president and manager of the Orange County commercial banking region for California Bank & Trust. He oversees two commercial loan centers and four retail branch offices. Despite the demands of a busy career, Green invests a great deal of time in Cal State Fullerton. He currently serves as the chairman of the university’s annual Concert Under the Stars, and for 20 years, he was a part of the university’s marquee Front & Center fundraising concert. He’s also been on the Economic Forecast Conference committee for nearly a decade, and is a member of Mihaylo’s Executive Council, participates in many student-centric activities, like Professor for a Day, presentations to the student Finance Association and the mentor program.
“For me, being involved with the university is two sided. Like a lot of people, I want to give back, because I got a great education when I was a finance student,” says Green. “And, honestly, there are many different companies and business leaders participating in these activities, and it gives me the opportunity to connect with them professionally.”
California Bank & Trust, with nearly $11 billion in assets and more than 100 branch offices in California, is a strong supporter of Mihaylo College. The bank has committed to a three-year title sponsorship of the Mihaylo Midyear Economic Forecast. “The next midyear forecast is on April 24, 2014, and it’s an opportunity to both help the school and our bank,” says Green. “Through our sponsorship, we hope to attract many more businesses and attendees, and we’ll bring our clients to the event, because the forecast provides important economic information these businesses need. The school wins, and we win.”
Sergio Alfonso ’88 leads California Bank & Trust’s commercial lending group in Costa Mesa as vice president and commercial banking manager, and he shares Green’s passion for Mihaylo College. Alfonso also serves on the Economic Forecast Conference committee, attends Executive Council events and has hit a few balls at the annual golf tournament fundraiser. Like Green, he regularly counsels students by providing guidance and sharing career advice with Finance Association members and at MBA roundtable events. “I do all these things because the students have a lot of questions,” says Alfonso. “It’s so valuable for them to use me as a professional resource – it’s a great way to help them get ahead of the competition.”