February, 2016
Brian Watson, Founder and CEO of the Opportunity Coalition

These remarks proceeded a presentation from guest speaker Mr. Walker Stapleton, Colorado State Treasurer

This evening, I’m pleased to welcome a very special guest to the Opportunity Coalition, Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. It’s an extreme honor to have someone of such high caliber and influence join our conversations and overall dialogue about the issues of today as well as the future of Colorado. And as our State Treasurer, Walker also deals with much of what we address here every month through his regular interactions with businesses, industries, individuals, and communities across the state.

I also know he recently completed a personal tour of all 64 counties in Colorado, and I hope we’ll get the chance to hear more about that tonight. I think it’s neat that we have a State Treasurer so invested in having an intricate and personal knowledge of our diverse state and assets.

No doubt Walker will shed some light on important functions and operations of the Treasurer’s office like balancing budgets, investing state funds, public finance, state economics, and collecting tax revenue. I’ll leave that to him, because after all it was a very smart man, Albert Einstein himself, who once said that, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” 

I would like to offer a few thoughts on an idea, a principle if you will, that seems to encapsulate all of the above topics I mentioned surrounding the role of the Treasurer – and that is the idea of stewardship.

I would propose that The Office of State Treasurer is responsible for, first and foremost, being a good steward of vast financial resources here in Colorado. A good Treasurer gives serious attention to these details and works, not only to manage well, but also always strives to give the best return on these investments as absolutely possible.

The idea of stewardship, or being good stewards, is something that is unfortunately often times not highlighted enough for those in the business world or those who talk about free market ideas. But could there be anything more appropriate that fits in with the messages of productivity, sustainability, and investment - than the concept of stewardship?

Stewardship, at its core, is simply the idea of properly caring for and managing that which was entrusted to us. A good question we can all ask ourselves is: “How can I provide the best return for those who have invested so much in me, my business, my family, or my community?”

What are we doing to be stewards of the gifts and resources given to us or developed/built by us? Are we wasting resources? Are we being sloppy? Or are we aware and disciplined enough to invest these right back into others?

-       Socially responsible (investing in PEOPLE)

-       Environmentally responsible (investing in the WORLD around us)

-       Volunteering/donating time and other resources (investing in CAUSES)

-       Individually responsible (investing in YOURSELF – health, mental, wellness)

These thoughts are in no way intended to be a guilt trip or an accusation by any means. Quite the contrary – I hope this is nothing but an encouragement to us all. We would all do well to remember to be leaders in our fields. Not only as advocates for business, entrepreneurship, capitalism, and free markets, but also as those known as leading lives of stewardship.

As we hear from our State Treasurer this evening, may we all learn from his insights and work to take these principles of good government, like that of stewardship, and successfully grow and develop them in our own lives and relationships.