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Shari Storm on October 15th, 2006 @ 12:16 AM 6 comments

The other day I had a very nice chat with a representative from KPLU. They are one of the stations that broadcasts NPR in the Seattle area.

His initial phone call came to me with interesting timing. I have been grappling with this idea of reaching folks with a proclivity for affiliation (or, in more understandable terms – those people who like the idea of belonging to something bigger than themselves).

So I had been grappling with this idea since mid-September and I was at a dinner party. One of the guests mentioned that he loves This American Life.

Now, I have to state, I love NPR. I love the Click and Clack Brothers, I love All Things Considered and I love This American Life. An interesting thing happened when he made that statement. When he said that he loves This American Life, I immediately put him in my mental category of “he is the same as me”. This fellow was of a different age, ethnicity and gender as me, but with those words I classified him as ‘same’ to me. But more interesting, I saw others in the group responding similarly.

You know that feeling that you get when you find a commonality with someone you don’t know well? When you stumble upon something that you both have in common, you are suddenly more at ease. I saw this happen in the room. With those simple words, the group started to gel, the conversation picked up and the night took a turn towards the engaging.

So, being a fan of NPR and seeing how it can bring together like minded people, I was excited for our meeting.

One of the things that the rep showed me was an opportunity to sponsor a high school band project. KPLU is working with local jazz greats to record various high school bands playing various jazz hits.

High school band…. I remember how the band was when I was in high school. Now there is a group that bonded. I remember I wanted to be in band, but my 6th grade music teacher told me my upper lip was too skinny to play the flute and that I should really lean towards the tuba. I decided the tuba wasn’t for me. My mom told me at the time that she probably already had too many girls trying out for the flute and was just trying to fill an open tuba spot and that my lips are just fine. That is what I chose to believe in those awkward years. But my upper lip IS really thin. That’s OK. I joined FBLA instead and all worked out. Ooops, sorry for the totally irrelevant transgression.

Back to sponsoring high school bands through KPLU. This seems like such a great idea to me. As Chief Marketing Officer for Verity Credit Union, my objectives are this:

1.become involved in the communities surrounding our branches 2.communicate with teens that credit unions (ours in particular) are the best financial alternative for them 3.encourage more people to use our credit union to sustain our financial health and well-being.

It also feels right. I mean, I can’t get over the fact that Seattle is one of the most educated cities in the country and one of the most affluent, yet we are closing grade schools left and right. I don’t know a lot about high school programs yet, but it seems to me, if the schools are struggling financially, the extracurricular activities really have to be hurting. This seems like a sponsorship that could do a lot of good locally and reach an audience that would be interested in joining our credit union.

Thoughts?

6 comments

Trey Reeme on October 16th, 2006 at 12:31 AM

You’ve got to be kidding about FBLA. It’s the whole reason that I work for good ol’ Trabian. Matt (our CEO) and I met at National FBLA Convention in high school.

He was Mr. Future Business Leader of America 1998. The trophy is occasionally used as a paperweight in our office. I kid you not.

On the topic of how this all could relate to credit unions and Verity in particular, I know that FBLA has worked with credit unions before. One such is Apple Federal Credit Union in Virginia –

From their website:

Apple’s Student-Run Branch Program provides area high school students real world financial literacy, fiscal education and the opportunity to explore future employment options. Apple FCU currently has student-run branches in 26 high schools, at which our employees teach participating students how to perform credit union duties, including accepting membership applications and processing deposits. The Credit Union’s model has been so successful since its launch in 1995, a version was recently adopted by the Future Business Leaders of America.

Shari Storm on October 16th, 2006 at 03:36 AM

Photo of Shari Storm

Not kidding at all about FBLA. It took be to Washington Business Week which eventually took me to Business Week in Belarus – one of the highlights of my life.

I should have guessed Trabian was an FBLA shop.

Thanks for the info on Apple FCU. I’ll have to check it out.

Geoff P on October 24th, 2006 at 09:09 AM

Sponsoring the area High School Bands is a great idea!

We are very fortunate here in Seattle to have two of the top High School Jazz bands in the country the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band http://www.rooseveltjazz.org and the Garfield High School Jazz Band http://www.garfieldjazz.org. Both bands have consistent local and national acclaim as the best of the best. They are both winners of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition http://www.jazzatlincolncenter.org/concerts/details.asp?EventID=1031
in New York and travel the world playing Jazz from Mazatlan to Moscow.

The Jazz bands are only one part of the music programs at these schools, both have active Marching Bands, Orchestras as well as other musical programs all in need of funding.

Any collaboration between companies and the local schools are undoubtedly beneficial to all parties involved. The programs that the students are in need money, supplies and industry experts as mentors. The companies could use the name recognition as well as more informed future employees and consumers.

The students will be in the workforce soon, getting paychecks, buying products and services most of which have little education of how the financial system works. As a Roosevelt High School graduate I know I felt like I knew nothing about banking until I started working at a bank. Simple education could have kept my friends and I from making costly mistakes.

Shari Storm on October 25th, 2006 at 04:17 AM

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Geoff – I didn’t know that about Roosevelt and Garfield HS. That is really impressive!

Thank you for the comment. I really appreciate the knowledge and the insight. (and the support!)

Anonymous on October 26th, 2006 at 02:53 AM

I love listening to KPLU and NPR, and watching KCTS and PBS on the weekends!
I am excited to hear that our marketing department is starting relations with these public broadcasters. I think the culture that Verity is creating ties in perfectly with these public broadcasters and it’s a perfect way to have more of our friends and neighbors belong to something that they can own and trust.

Shari Storm on October 26th, 2006 at 08:34 AM

Photo of Shari Storm

Thanks for the positive vote. I am, of course, bias, but I think you are right.

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