Family and friends agree that the late John Gisi’s easy rapport with both the business world and community was in his genes. It was only fitting then that National Bank of Arizona’s new conference center Gisi Hall, located at its Biltmore headquarters in Phoenix, was recently dedicated to the former president, CEO and chairman of the board.
“Developing business relationships and being connected to the community was in John’s DNA,” says Deborah Bateman, NB|AZ’s executive vice president and director of strategic business development. “His vision of the Biltmore Conference Center was as a gathering place to support our community and just one more way we could validate our commitment as a true community partner.”
Mark Young, NB|AZ’s current president and CEO, echoed those sentiments at the dedication ceremony held on February 5. He and fellow bankers described Gisi as a respected leader and role model who genuinely cared about people.
Young stated that the center was originally built to be a community gathering place. “We are continuing to support that vision today, not just for the bank and our associates, but for the community (small businesses and nonprofits) to have a place to hold their events, meetings and functions, as well,” he said.
The remodel expansion added more conference spaces, including that of the main Gisi Hall. Fully equipped with state-of-the-art visual components to facilitate any type of meeting or event, it is expected to host two to three functions per month.
“As a community bank, we are fortunate to have a place where we can offer nonprofits, at no cost or very minimal cost, a place to hold meetings and fundraisers,” Young said. “For nonprofits that may be interested in utilizing the space, they should reach out to their NB|AZ banker to learn how to reserve space for their next function.”
Gisi, who was originally from North Dakota, passed away in December 2017. A Vietnam War veteran, his distinguished banking career was launched in late 1971 after graduating from college. He served as the president of the Arizona Banker’s Association in 1997, in addition to numerous other positions he held in his lifetime. Gisi was a renowned businessman, avid outdoorsman, golfer and philanthropist.
As stated in his obituary, “At the core, [he was] a people person of great character. John was as comfortable in the boardroom as he was on the golf course or on a hunting trip. He lived every day to the fullest.”
By Julia De Simone
Photo: Mark Lipczynski