First Tennessee recognizes leadership and kicks off its United Way campaign with information and fun

(L to R) United Way staff Bryce Haugsdahl (UW President) and Milton Todd (Senior Director, Fundraising) with First Tennessee employees Lori Guy (Corporate Communications and UW Employee Campaign Manager), Bruce Hopkins (president of First Tennessee’s West Tennessee Region), Susan Springfield (United Way Chair & Commercial Line of Business Executive) and Shayne Jernigan (United Way co-chair & Mid-South Retail Banking Manager)

United Way celebrated with First Tennessee employees at their campaign kickoff last Friday morning at the downtown First Tennessee branch.

Last year First Tennessee contributed over $1.2 million to the United Way of the Mid-South fundraising drive, the second-highest total in the entire region.

First Tennessee employees were acknowledged as some of the most generous givers in our community – not only with monetary gifts, but also with gifts of time and participation. Susan Springfield, chairperson of the 2011-12 First Tennessee/UW campaign was joined by Shayne Jernigan, co-chair, to bring employees together and encourage giving. “We are excited about this year’s campaign and think that we have a fun kickoff for you today,” Springfield said.

“First Tennessee has been and continues to be a very generous participant in our community. This is evidenced by the volunteer hours that all of you have put in to ‘give back.’ The United Way campaign is really about bringing awareness, as well as an opportunity to participate, and we want to continue that generous spirit,” Springfield said.

Springfield told the crowded auditorium that United Way takes the time to make sure your dollars are used in the most fiscally sound way and in the right way.

“I think that gives a lot of us peace of mind,” Springfield said.

United Way President Bryce Haugsdahl recognized the First Tennessee fundraising team and First Tennessee President Charles Burkett, former Chairman of United Way’s Board of Directors and a past General Campaign Chairman who was tasked with raising funds across our entire region. Burkett is retiring from his position as president and is the Chairman of United Way’s Nominating Committee. Haugsdahl also thanked Springfield, Jernigan and Employee Campaign Manager Lori Guy. Penny Aviotti, manager of the First Tennessee Foundation, was also recognized for serving on the United Ways of Tennessee’s statewide board.

“I’ve been in this business for 39 years in 5 different cities and the financial sector has always played a leadership role,” Haugsdahl said. “First Tennessee is a leader in that sector, in a lot of ways. You not only lead in amount of funds raised, but you also lead in participation.”

Jernigan said First Tennessee employees do a phenomenal job of supporting United Way.

“First Tennessee has a great culture, and we love what we do,” Jernigan said. “We have a good time when we take care of the customer, and in the same vein, I want us all to have a good time when we participate with United Way.”

First Tennessee used two videos about United Way and the need to give. The first covered the flood disaster in our region last Spring, with highlights on United Way agencies such as the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army that were ready to help thanks in part to donations to United Way throughout the year. The second video took a much lighter turn – it was a spoof of infomercials advertising past music hits, with employees dressing as well-known singers/performers and singing songs encouraging people to give to United Way. The employees howled with laughter when they saw some of their colleagues dressed up and having fun on the video.

(The quality of the singing ranged from “very talented” to, shall we say, “truly remarkable.”)

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