Tyler Gallagher
Jul 29 · 9 min read

I had the pleasure of interviewing First Interstate Bank’s Marcy Mutch.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?

As a kid, I enjoyed working at my grandfather’s store in the summer and helping with the bookkeeping. I’ve always liked order and structure, so pursuing a college major in accounting seemed like a natural extension of these themes. With the exception of one brief blip when I considered teaching, I stuck with that decision. I worked in public accounting for 19 years, with one of my first jobs at a bank on a directors exam. I transitioned out of public accounting when I went to work for a bank holding company client. When that bank was acquired, First Interstate reached out and I came here. I’ve now been here 13 years, and for good reason — the opportunities and pathways for growth have been incredible.

I believe finance is a wonderful field for men or women, because you can parlay these skills in a multitude of disciplines. Not only does it provide opportunities across all industries, it also allows work schedule flexibility and the ability to work remotely, should that best accommodate your personal situation.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

The most interesting story about my career was also my biggest opportunity. I received a phone call when our executives were on the road raising funds during our initial public offering nine years ago, asking me to be the First Interstate investor relations officer. I wasn’t initially clear on what that meant — there are very few publicly traded companies in Montana — but I said “yes” even though I wasn’t sure where it would lead me.

The beauty of accepting that role is that I was able to use and refine skills outside those of traditional accounting, such as writing, public speaking and evaluating messaging. It meant I was involved with every part of our organization, working directly with the executive team. I believe it was the first step in leading me to my job today.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are working on quite a few projects at First Interstate, many centered around digital transformation. Specific to finance, we just converted our accounting systems to a new platform to provide us additional scalability and greater efficiencies. This has been a huge undertaking on the accounting side, and not only will it help my team, it will also improve how we share information and data with the rest of the organization.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

As I’ve compared First Interstate to other organizations I see, we most notably stand out for our commitment to our employees, our clients and our communities. Throughout our organization (almost 2,500 employees strong) you can see visible signs of people concerned about other people.

For employees, one example is our Employee Assistance Fund. Employees voluntarily donate to a fund that is available for anyone in the company to access should they find themselves in a tough financial situation. So, whether it’s an injury or a sick child or something else, all employees can apply for a grant from the fund to help during difficult times.

For our clients, we spend a significant amount of time and resources evaluating how we can deliver the products and services they want in a manner that works for them. Our company values of seeking excellence and acting with integrity support how we best serve our clients.

For our communities, we are diligent in our commitment to give 2% of our net income before tax annually to the places we call home. In September, we’re shutting our doors for a half day so everyone across the company can volunteer in their communities. We also encourage our employees to serve on local boards and allow them time away from work to do this.

Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all-white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?

Less than a decade ago it wasn’t unusual to be the only woman in a crowd at most bank-related or investor relations events. Now I’m starting to see at least 10% to 20% more women, which is progress.

Realizing that I’m toward the end of my career, I’ve lived through this transition. Even back when I was in public accounting, women were not readily promoted to leadership roles. It wasn’t ever about lack of talent. I think the shift started to take hold when men in leadership roles became more willing to promote women because they saw the value in a diverse leadership team. It has been exciting to watch talented women confidently step into more significant roles as they have allowed themselves to realize their own potential.

At First Interstate, 65% of our supervisors are women. Across our entire workforce, 73% are women. It’s been proven that a diverse board of directors is more financially successful, and we have several women on our board. It’s rewarding to work for a company that embraces diversity.

Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support this movement going forward?

1) For individuals, it’s about admitting that we can’t do it all. Sometimes work takes priority; sometimes home does. For women, you have to be able to cope with the unbalance that sometimes creates.

2) Companies need to be more flexible with the work environment when possible, whether that is offering a remote work environment or flexible hours.

3) Society paints an unrealistic picture of the “successful working woman.” I think we need to reset what that vision looks like.

You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each.

Everyone is different, but this is what my husband and I did for our children.

1) Open a checking account at a very young age. I had my children open a checking account in junior high. Starting as young as possible, I think children should have their own account and be responsible for accounting for their own money.

2) Get a credit card in high school or college. I recognize this is not possible for everyone, but, if you can, have your child obtain a credit card. My children went into the bank and met with a personal banker to do this. And then the key — make them responsible for paying the bill!

3) Get a job! Not only did my kids get jobs, but we also made sure they were responsible for paying their own bills, whether that was gas for their car or spending money.

4) Understand debt. We talked with our kids about debt, but there are also great free resources out there. It’s important to understand the implications of debt and how to stay out of it.

5) Understand retirement. Teach kids early on about compounding interest and how, for example, saving $500 now could help your future.

We actually have a platform at First Interstate called the Mini Bank Program that provides a hands-on opportunity for students to learn about the world of finance and develop other important life skills. I would encourage anyone to seek out their local community bank to see if they have educational resources available.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

While I’ve worked for many amazing people who have provided me with opportunities, hands down I am most grateful to my boss, Kevin Riley, chief executive officer of First Interstate Bank. When he came to our company as CFO, I reported to him in my role as investor relations officer. After just a few weeks working with him, I saw that he had higher aspirations. Understanding that, I asked him very directly to help me gain the knowledge and skill set that would allow me to move into his position down the road. He took me under his wing, and now here I am. He’d say, “I gave her the opportunity, but she did the work” — but you can’t have one without the other.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I actually have several quotes I’ve saved over the years, but one of my favorites is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

So much about life is easier with the right attitude; and if you start out with a spirt of gratitude it helps keep things in perspective. I’m a planner, and not everything has always gone exactly as anticipated. But taking the time to be grateful for all the positive things — big or small — that have gone well helps you get through the rough patches. In my life, I’m most grateful for the people who have stood with me for many years: my husband, family, great friends, and past and present co-workers. It’s those relationships that I am most thankful for.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I’m a big believer in giving back and helping people who can’t help themselves. If I could inspire people to get involved with organizations that help get people back on their feet after a tragedy or unexpected financial impact, or give hardworking people a leg up, that would be the best thing. Life is hard, and sometimes people just need help. Honestly, that’s why I love working at First Interstate. We live and breathe a commitment to community by helping others.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

About The Author:

Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and Dubai focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. In addition to his role with Regal Assets, Tyler is a regular contributor to Forbes, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Authority Magazine. Tyler has also been featured in many news publications and has been a guest expert on “The News with Ed Shultz”. Tyler is a proud member of the Forbes Finance Council a private invite only-group of hand-selected industry leaders.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Tyler Gallagher

Written by

CEO and Founder of Regal Assets

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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