Throughout Washington and Oregon, there is no shortage of beautiful landscapes. People from all over the world relish the majesty of nature in our region, which Bank of the Pacific captures annually in their free monthly calendar, “Our Northwest.”
While many banks offer annual calendars filled with regional photos, Bank of the Pacific’s calendar is unique in that every photo was taken by an employee within the bank’s Washington and Oregon footprint. Now in its second year, the calendar was coordinated through the bank’s marketing department and an employee committee, says CEO Denise Portmann.
“It’s very rewarding for us to feature our employees and highlight them,” she says. “They have so many hidden talents that we don’t necessarily know about unless we ask. They represent the bank so well.”
Making the Calendar
Portmann, along with help from marketing coordinator Suzy Funk, helps select which photos are selected for the calendar, which is then designed with help from Anacortes-based photographer Bruce Heinemann.
Fifteen photos are selected from a pool of images that far exceed that number. The bank has more than 250 employees representing 17 branches.
“I really appreciate all the people who submit photos,” Funk says. “They’re all beautiful. It’s a hard decision.”
Portmann says multiple images of the same general subject — all compelling on their own — can be hard to narrow down.
“We might have five beautiful sunsets, but I can’t have five sunsets,” she says. “We want to put together a calendar that has a variety of images in our geographic footprint. It’s possible we could carry forward non-chosen photos from the prior year for consideration the next year.”
While Funk says the competition to get in isn’t necessarily feverish, she has been inundated with emails asking when the finished calendars were coming out. The release of the calendar and reveal of which employees get their pictures selected, Portmann adds, is a fun and exciting time. Demand is also high on the customer side — many look forward to getting the new calendar each year.
A Matter of Pride
This year’s front cover is a spectacular image of a glassy-surfaced Lake Quinault, taken by Electronic Banking Specialist Kiona Goodman.
“It feels great,” she says, of being chosen for the cover. “Lake Quinault has always been somewhere I’ve gone. It’s close to home; it’s where I grew up. We have so many easily accessible viewpoints like this in Washington; you don’t have to go far to see something like that.”
Goodman, who works in Aberdeen, some 50 miles south of the lake in Olympic National Park, says that getting out in nature and sharing what they see is a great way for employees to connect with their customers and community.
Tara Nott, the bank’s information support supervisor, had her photo — a sun-splashed break between storms along the Oregon Coast — featured prominently in last year’s calendar. Showcasing her photography skills to a wider local audience is something she cherishes, even when she forgets about it.
Earlier this year, Nott was at an event with community members and former co-workers in Aberdeen when they remarked on her amazing photo skills.
“I was like, ‘What? What are you talking about?’” she recalls with a laugh. “They talked about how much they loved the calendars, and how they knew the people [who had taken the photos]. And that was kind of another connection for them: these are our people, taking these pictures.”
One of Nott’s newer co-workers, whom she helped mentor, also had her photo selected for this year’s calendar. Being selected helped the new employee feel more connected to her colleagues and the bank as a whole, Nott says.
Funk also had two photos chosen for the 2024 calendar: an image of drake wood ducks floating at Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland, and another of a dewy Skagit Valley sunflower. Even though some might consider the calendar merely a free handout to help keep track of the days, Funk says it is something she and others are genuinely proud of.
“It means a lot to all of us — the customers and the employees — to have the bank stand behind us and put something out that’s so unique and cool and celebrates us all.”
Complimentary copies of the 2024 “Our Northwest” monthly calendar are available at all Bank of the Pacific branches in Washington and Oregon.