Employee profile: Lynn Helmbrecht


Lynn Helmbrecht has grown up with—and at— Grand Rapids State Bank.  She accepted an on-the-job trainee assignment as a high school senior at age 17 and never left.  “I worked as a school-girl in the bookkeeping department.  Back then, everyone’s first job here at GRSB was in the bookkeeping department. 

“I had planned to attend UM-D to become a dental hygienist; Allie Rothstein was my mentor and this is what I wanted to be when I grew up.  However, Craig Wilcox offered me a chance to continue earning money.  I was dating my future husband at the time, and this was an offer that made sense to me.”

Lynn has witnessed a lot of change at Grand Rapids State Bank since 1984, her first year of full-time employment. She moved from the bookkeeping role to the teller department, and when the Pokegama office was opened in 1989, she was one of the tellers assigned to that location. 

“We are a family-owned bank, and the employees were a family, too,” added Lynn.  “When I was married, my coworkers gave me a cookbook full of their own family recipes.  It’s a keepsake now; Clair Wilcox and Russ Holm (long-time GRSB employee) added their own recipes, too.”

Back in those days, the bank had three computers to expedite data retrieval. However, the bank was poised to introduce new technology.  While on leave after the birth of her first daughter, Jade, Lynn came back to work periodically to assist with the conversion to a computerized core customer information platform. 

“My role changed over time,” Lynn continued.  “From tellering I moved to our new accounts desk, and then on to operations.  I now have the opportunity to see banking from the back-office perspective, not just from the customer’s vantage point.”

Lynn is the assistant vice president of operations, and in that role she supervises the Account Services team and works with COO/SVP Shelly Steere on bank operations functions.  She balances the bank’s security portfolio; manages the correspondent bank relationships; oversees the accounts payable function; and prepares reports as a member of the bank’s Asset/Liability Committee. 

Lynn comes from families with deep roots in the Grand Rapids area.  Both paternal and maternal grandfathers owned moving companies: her father’s father owned Roy Transfer in Grand Rapids while her mother’s father owned Yeshe Transfer in Hibbing.  Those family ties are important to this busy bank executive and mother.

“I used to say that my hobby was hauling my youngest daughter around to all of her sports activities.”  Lynn’s younger daughter, Sydney, is a high school hockey and softball stand-out. Sydney’s prowess means that in addition to competing on high school teams for the past four years, she’s also been honored to participate on all-star teams around the state.  Lynn has logged many miles traveling to hockey and softball games for the past six years.

That will come to an abrupt halt in a few months; Lynn’s daughters are both seniors.  Jade will graduate from the College of St. Benedict in May while Sydney graduates from Grand Rapids High School a few weeks later.  It will be an emotional month, Lynn admits, but she’ll now get to spend more time on curling and golf.  Just as her family life has mirrored the changes in her life in the GRSB “family,” Lynn is looking forward to the bright side of another life transition. 

Lynn's family 

Lynn's family: John, Lynn, Sydney and Jade

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