John Pisan is not only one of Central Florida’s leading bankers, he is also an indispensable Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) volunteer and partner. John sits on HFUW’s Board of Directors and the 2013-2014 Campaign Cabinet and serves as the 2014 Chef’s Gala co-chair.
As the regional managing director for the North/ Central Florida Region of Wells Fargo’s Wealth Management Group, John is responsible for the strategic oversight of the Wealth Management Team. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he worked at Citigroup for 13 years, where he held a number of leadership positions throughout the United States.
John also serves on the board of City Year Orlando, a national service organization that places diverse AmeriCorps members, ages 17-24, in under-served schools to provide intense academic support and help students stay on track to graduate. As a “Team Sponsor,” Heart of Florida United Way specifically supports the 10 City Year corps members serving at Evans High School. John lives in Windermere and has been married to his wife, Meena, for 23 years.
We spoke to John about his long-term commitment to United Way.
When and why did you first get involved with United Way?
I have been a United Way supporter for 25 years. About 10 years ago I started to get very involved with the workplace campaign. Nearly 5 years ago, Bob Brown reached out and asked me to join the board, and I was recently added to the Executive Board.
Please share one specific United Way related story that had a big effect on you.
Hearing Chris Matos’ story about five years ago was the first story that comes to mind. Matos was a local high school student who joined a gang after his best friend was murdered. He received assistance through a United Way-sponsored program and was able to graduate school and find full-time employment. Matos spoke at the United Way kickoff in 2010 and it really had an impact on me.
There was another memorable story that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel in August 2010 about a woman who was just 36 hours away from getting evicted. She had an autistic son and didn’t have a place to turn for help. 2-1-1, United Way’s free, 24-hour information and referral helpline, was able to get them in touch with the right folks so she could stay in her home.
I also remember when we held a “Build a Bike” event several years ago around Thanksgiving. Wells Fargo employees helped build 20 bikes so that low-income children could get an early Christmas present. Seeing the looks on those kids’ faces when they got the bikes was priceless. We took a group picture at the event and afterwards one of the kids turned to me and asked, “When do we have to give the bikes back?” Talk about experiencing a reality check.
Why is United Way so important to our community?
I’d say the main reason is 2-1-1. The counselors who provide the service are simply amazing. The resources that 2-1-1 offers to our community are just wonderful.
Everything that we do here internally as a team is about working as partners. It’s all lines of business working together. It’s how we do business here. We’re all about helping each other and helping make sure the campaign is a success.
Has your community involvement helped make you a better business leader?
My United Way service has absolutely made me a better business leader and it has also given me a greater, stronger appreciation for our community. I’m very proud to be involved with the United Way.
United Way is creating opportunities for a better life with help from volunteers such as John Pisan. For more information on how to volunteer, please visit United Way’s Volunteer Center at www.hfuw.org/Volunteer.php or contact Matthew Blood, Manager of Community Participation, at Matthew.Blood@hfuw.org or (407) 849-2372.