Up Kilimanjaro, for a Cause: Banker Tackles Fabled Peak for Cancer Research

By Stewart, Laurie | ABA Banking Journal, September 2010 | Go to article overview

Up Kilimanjaro, for a Cause: Banker Tackles Fabled Peak for Cancer Research


Stewart, Laurie, ABA Banking Journal


You never know where your reading will take you.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Laurie Stewart's decision to climb Mount Kilimanjaro began with the board's annual request for her to set five goals for the bank and herself. Stewart, president and CEO, at $337.8 million-assets Sound Community Bank, Seattle, was mulling the personal element while scanning the publication of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. When Stewart's husband, Ken, died nine years ago from a rare form of liver cancer, she had donated to the center.

Stewart flipped a page and read about "Climb for a Cause," a nonprofit group that organizes mountain expeditions that raise money for charities. Stewart noted that a Mount Kilimanjaro trip was coming up and recalled how climbing the volcanic peak had been a longtime goal for her husband.

When the time came to present her goals, Stewart revealed that she planned to climb Kilimanjaro. This caught the directors off-guard, to say the least.

The directors were surprised, but their reaction was mild. "My friends think I'm crazy," says Stewart, 61, "and my mother will barely discuss this with me."

Stewart actually took on twin goals. The physical challenge, of course, was daunting enough. But the second concerned the point of the climb. Each climber, in addition to handling their own gear, transportation, and other expenses, must commit to raise at least $10,000. (As she awaited her plane on Aug. 9, Stewart's donation "thermometer" reached $8,210, toward her own goal of $12,000. …

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