CHEYENNE – When members of the Jonah Bank of Wyoming team won this year’s Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics in the medium business category, they knew their company was on the right path.
The bank was founded in 2006 by Wyoming natives hoping to support small businesses; the company grew from one branch and seven employees to four branches and nearly 80 employees in just 13 years. Jonah now serves both Casper and Cheyenne residents.
Bank leaders accepted their award at the Better Business Bureau Foundation Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming’s 21st annual Torch Awards event April 18 in Loveland, Colorado.
Jonah Bank of Wyoming lives by the Cowboy Code, established by James P. Owen, author of “Cowboy Ethics.” This is part of the reason the company is so successful, according to Cidne Skavdahl, Jonah Bank’s marketing director.
“The code is our foundation,” she said. “We have it printed and framed on the walls and offices of each branch, and it drives the decisions we make in our work and personal lives. As long as we do the right thing, you never have to question that you’re living an honest life with integrity.”
The code includes living each day with courage, taking pride in your work and always finishing what you start.
Jonah Bank staff takes pride in supporting local businesses financially and actively participating in their communities. Even when customers fall on hard times, they do their best to provide additional support, Skavdahl said.
“We’ve had customers we’ve helped get back on their feet, rather than just letting them hang to dry,” she said.
Efforts to create an inclusive workplace are also ongoing. Company team building, yoga classes, after-work happy hours and regular surveys to gauge employee satisfaction are just a few ways Jonah Bank leadership supports workers.
“We know that when you feel better about yourself, you’re going to perform better at work,” Skavdahl said. “It’s about appreciating people and the jobs we do.”
Torch Award winners are all nominated by members of their community. They’re evaluated and judged by an independent panel of board members and past Torch Award winners who review entries based on commitment to ethical practices.
Businesses are nominated by peers, employees, colleagues and customers. They’re then vetted to confirm they’re in good standing with BBB and free of advertising issues and government actions. Nominees that pass vetting are then invited to apply for the award, which involves working with a team of students from the University of Wyoming, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado to prepare the application for judging.
“We sat down with our UW student team, answered a bunch of questions and sent them samples. Then, they wrote a paper about it to present to the BBB,” Skavdahl said.
That submission won the award for best university paper.
“It was exciting for us and them,” she said. “And what a great opportunity for them to be able to work with the company. They went above and beyond.
“This was a nice reassurance that we are moving in the right direction.”
This year’s overall Torch Award winners were:
Small business category: AGPROfessionals in Greeley, Colorado
Medium business category: Jonah Bank of Wyoming in Cheyenne and Casper
Large business category: Halladay Motors in Cheyenne
Nonprofit category: Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity in Fort Collins, Colorado
Nominations for the 2020 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics are now open. To nominate a business or nonprofit, visit www.bbb.org/wyoming-and-northern-colorado/bbb-torch-awards-for-ethics/entries/nomination. The deadline is June 30.