It's Okay, NOT to be Okay: Power of Positivity is a Choice

Thursday, December 14, 2023
Brent Beardall

Brent Beardall

President & CEO
WaFd Bank


Leading through a banking crisis, that includes the 2nd and 3rd largest failures in US history is challenging, but then compound that with personal medical crisis and surviving a plane crash and you have a quick overview of what has been 2023 for Brent Beardall, CEO of WaFd Bank.

Beardall was onboard a private jet that crashed after takeoff in Utah on January 2nd. It was piloted by a friend and client, seated next to Brent in the cockpit, who died in the crash that effectively destroyed the cockpit.

In an intensive care unit in Utah for eight days, three surgeons reattached Beardall's nose and put metal rods and bolts in his crushed body, now scarred all over from wounds that required 150 stitches, casts and an almost six-week hospitalization.

In March of 2023, just three months later Brent Beardall returned to work forever changed in that moment. Brent's recovery and outlook provide inspiration and a challenge for leaders today.

Brent will share the lessons he has learned and how these experiences have shaped his perspective as to what really matters in life.

- Gratitude of Love and Support

- Power of Positivity is a Choice

- Power in Pulling for each other

- It's OK not to be OK

As Mike Tyson famously said, "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face"

"We so often focus on the differences we have and our differences are real and they should be celebrated, but let's also focus on what we have in common, the humanity we share. It's a beautiful thing and there's power in pulling for one another."

Mr. Beardall joined WaFd Bank in 2001 as Vice President & Controller. In 2003 he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer, a position he served in for eleven years. Prior to this he served as Chief Banking Officer where he was responsible for all client-facing activities of the bank. He was awarded the title of President & CEO in 2017, becoming only the sixth CEO in the bank's 104-year history.

Mr. Beardall received a master's degree in Professional Accounting from Brigham Young University and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Washington State.  He completed Stanford University's Executive Program in August 2013. In 2012 he was recognized as "CFO of the year" by the Puget Sound Business Journal and currently serves on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Seattle, United Way King County, Pacific Coast Banking School, and the Washington Bankers Association. Mr. Beardall lives in Sammamish, Washington with his wife of 25 years, Jennifer and their three children.

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