BERMERTON, Wash.-Kitsap Credit Union CEO Elliott Gregg recently spent three-hours standing on a 25-foot billboard overlooking Highway 3 here after the credit union's employees took him up on a challenge. Gregg had earlier said he would spend one minute on a billboard for every pledge made by employees to United Way. Next thing Gregg knew, employees had made 180 pledges totaling $20,000 in donations for the cause-and he was on the hook for a three-hour stint hanging out on a billboard.
What lessons does one learn in three hours standing above passing traffic? Below, Gregg shares his insights on the experience with Credit Union Journal.
Credit Union Journal: How did you come to be involved in this project?
Gregg: I've always been a champion for United Way. We were looking for an idea to promote the campaign that would be as fun as the time I was 'duct-taped' to a wall 10 years ago.
CUJ: Whose idea was it to exchange one minute on the billboard for every pledge made?
Gregg: It was brought forward by our marketing department, and I readily agreed.
CUJ: Had you any previous experience in billboard-sitting, or anything similar?
Gregg: There is the famous, aforementioned 'duct-tape' incident. We sold duct-tape at $1 per foot to the employees. It was used to tape me to a plywood wall where I then gave my President's Report to the staff. We raised over $1,400 in one hour!
CUJ: Please describe those three hours on the billboard, and what does one learn or see during that time?
Gregg: I found out what it was like to sit on a billboard on the hottest day of the year in Kitsap County. It was 95 degrees! I saw two speeding tickets issued, thousands of cars, and received wonderful honks of support and recognition. I learned the history of the 'sign man,' who, like me, was clipped to a safety wire in case we fell. Peter was a great companion.
CUJ: What advice would you have for other credit union leaders who might agree to making a similar deal with his or her employees?
Gregg: Don't worry about feeling like a fool. The employees love it-one wrote a poem to me for doing it. Encourages a high participation rate among the employees and it builds esprit de corps while doing great things for the needs of the community.