Synovus Gives Back at Glen Iris Elementary

Employees of Synovus pose together on the playground at Glen Iris Elementary School in Birmingham before helping to repaint the school’s cafeteria that same day.

Kristy Waldon Stewart is motivated by giving back.

In her day-to-day, Stewart, a Senior Wholesale Relationship Associate at Synovus, works as a liaison between clients and relationship managers, providing “white glove service” to clients with any questions.

But on a recent drizzly Saturday, Stewart was one of about 30 employees from Synovus who came out to historic Glen Iris Elementary School on Birmingham’s Southside to help repaint the interior of the cafeteria. The project, which was organized by United Way Hands On, served as the company’s annual day of service, through which Synovus employees have completed a variety of volunteer projects.

Stewart said one of her biggest motivators when participating in community service is simply the gift of life.

“God blessed me to see another day, to live on his land; and giving back is what motivates me. I could have been doing something else,” Stewart said. “When I was raised, my mom and my grandmother told me, ‘People do what they want to do,’ and this is something that I wanted to do —  and this is something that needs to be done.”

With Stewart and all the other Synovus employees onsite, Royd Williams, Alabama Community Development Manager at Synovus, said he was overjoyed at the “love for the community” that he witnessed.

“To see the employees out here, just makes my heart feel good, to know that they feel the same way that I do about giving back, and not just talking about it. They’re being about it,” Williams said. “They’re coming out and putting their skills to use.”

Nelson Bean, Market Executive for Birmingham and Division CEO for Alabama at Synovus, was also at Glen Iris on Saturday. United Way Hands On, he said, is great for organizational volunteering because it provides everything volunteers need onsite.

“There are various agencies around town that are doing great work,” Bean said, “but it’s nice to be able to go to one central place and have them say, ‘Hey, here’s a need and equipment.’ All you’ve got to do is show up, and the rest is taken care of.”

Bean specifically pointed to a previous Synovus project with Hands On, when they joined a cleanup effort at Minor High School in Adamsville. The project required work with a large variety of tools, and all volunteers needed to do was be present.

“The Hands On trailer showed up. It was like a Home Depot store,” Bean said. “It was literally everything you needed to do the job, which makes it a whole lot easier on our folks, to say, ‘All you’ve got to do is show up.’ Hands On is going to have the program and the equipment, and they’re going to take care of everything for us.”

To learn more about Hands On, or to find volunteer opportunities, go to