CBS4 and the Denver Business Journal are teaming up to profile companies that are “Making Their Mark” in Colorado communities.
DENVER (CBS4) – An international investor took his talents to Colorado from New York City, and now he’s sharing his knowledge with students.
CBS4’s Gloria Neal talked with Ward Cerny about how he’s making his mark.
“People want to work with people they trust and people they like,” Cerny said.
That’s important to remember as an investment banker with a warm smile and boyish charm. Cerny understands how important trust is.
“Just focus on always being the real deal and making sure that you’re trustworthy and actually looking out for their best interests,” he said.
Cerny has the financial awards showcasing some of the highlights from his hard work.
“In the mergers and acquisition world, that’s called a tombstone, and so those are tombstones from various deals closed.”
But he’s just as proud about what he’s doing in the community.
“I don’t want to wake up and retire and they say, ‘Okay, it’s time for me to start doing things outside of work.’ I want to be able to make a difference while I’m working.”
He has chosen to make his mark in education.
“In 2000, a friend of mine from college called me. I was new in Singapore at the time, and he said, ‘What would you think of starting a charter school with me?’ … and so I said, ‘Well, actually this is great timing, sounds great.’ So the next year we were on the border of Texas and Mexico in the Rio Grande Valley and we started IDEA Public Schools.”
IDEA stands for “individuals dedicated to excellence and achievement.” It started with one charter school in the Rio Grande Valley and went all the way to the Ben Franklin Academy in Highlands Ranch.
“The idea is to create little Benjamin Franklins to create Renaissance people who are learned in math and science, but who are also, and this is important, very well read.”
As one of the founding board members, Cerny says he thinks about what his involvement says to his girls.
“I want them to see the power of volunteering and civic involvement,” he said. “When I’m not being a capitalist and taking care of my clients and their investments and their personal planning, that’s what I want to spend my time doing – is setting good example for them.”