If Lorrell Walter tells the CEO of Western Vista Credit Union, “I have an idea,” she means business.
As the senior vice president of marketing and member experience at the $190 million asset credit union in Cheyenne, Wyo., Walter is always dreaming up creative ways to market and put a smile on someone’s face at the same time.
Earlier this spring, Walter had one of her big ideas. She thought about the 900 high school seniors who were going to graduate in Cheyenne without a normal ceremony because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Inspired by a story she had seen about a small town’s approach to honoring its graduates, Walter wanted to hang a banner for each Cheyenne-area high school graduate on light poles throughout the city.
CEO Steven Leafgreen loved the idea, and the Signs for Seniors project was born 30 days before graduation.
Walter immediately reached out to partners in the local school district, the downtown development group, and the utility that owns the light poles. They all jumped on board immediately.
Just in time for graduation, the project was complete. Families rushed around town taking pictures of their students in front of their banners, some in caps and gowns, others in letterman jackets.
The project cost Western Vista about $25,000, but Walter says it made such an impact that she hopes to continue the effort in the future.
“It was a lot of people working together to make something happen,” Walter says. “It’s been really cool.”
For Walter, finding ways to combine community projects with marketing opportunities comes naturally. She spends hundreds of hours of her time volunteering in the community, serving on the board of the Air Force Association, as a Girl Scout leader, and on the steering committee of the Military Affairs Committee of the local chamber of commerce, among other pursuits.
Under her leadership, Western Vista started tracking all employees’ volunteer hours. Following in Walter’s footsteps, employees logged 4,731 hours of service last year.
“You can always talk about how much money you donated, but unless you’re putting the time behind it, it doesn’t feel as genuine,” Walter says.
Walter loves that working at a credit union enables her to swiftly execute on almost all her ideas.
“Our staff is small, but we’ve been able to implement ideas that are outside the box,” she says.