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Sustainability takes flight with passport program at Pacific Continental Bank

Kristen Connor speaking at podiumPacific Continental Bank (formerly Capital Pacific Bank) created a cultural passport to engage employees in workplace sustainability and wellness.

We sat down with Kristen Connor, Senior Vice President & Client Service Officer at Pacific Continental Bank, to hear first-hand about the program. 

Goal: Increase staff participation in planning, executing and attending committee activities.

Capital Pacific Bank Official Cultural Passport coverThe big idea: Office-wide cultural passports

Six months ago, a few employees at Pacific Continental Bank started thinking of ideas to get their coworkers to participate more on the Green Team and other internal committees.

From the start, the passports have been successful in getting new people into leadership positions and helping people find a place where they can contribute.

Soon after the program started, people started saying, “that was kind of fun, I should do more.” Six months later, they are.

How it works:

  • Staff get a stamp in their passport for approved activities
  • 10 stamps = 1 paid vacation day (per year)


  • Activities are across all committees – Green Team, Employee Engagement, Volunteering, Getting it Fun, Wellness.
  • Staff must participate in a variety of ways (they can’t do the same thing 10 times).
  • Staff are given a physical “passport” with a photo of a Hollywood star that resembles them.
  • Committee chairs stamp passports and write a description of the action that earned the stamp.

Sample passport with stampsWhat staff have to say:

“When you do one thing, it starts to be infectious. It makes you want to do more.”

“When we started to broaden the lens of sustainability, engagement skyrocketed. People found their passion.”

“It’s fun, people get competitive.”

Sample passport with stamps.

Actions earn stamps:

Pacific Continental Bank gives stamps for a variety of activities and roles to include as many people as possible. Their qualifying actions include:

  • Participate in a Pacific Continental Bank group volunteer activity
  • Help plan and execute a Getting it Fun event
  • Take on an assignment for the Green Team to promote sustainability
  • Participate in a professional development activity
  • Attend a brown bag lunch or other educational event hosted by the bank
  • Represent the bank at a client event
  • Participate in and/or plan and execute an event on behalf of the Wellness Committee
  • Present an agenda item at a staff meeting
  • Participate in the new employee orientation committee
  • Pass the sustainability overview quiz
  • Coordinate employee birthdays for a month
  • Nominate someone for the Sustaining Excellence award
  • Serve on a nonprofit board or committee
  • Use your employee matching gift
  • Serve on the Jeans Day Committee (Jeans Day is when staff contributes money to an employee nominated nonprofit, to be matched by the bank, in order to wear jeans on Fridays)

Close up sample passport photoMaking the passports:

Kathy Swift, a creative bank employee, made each staff member a passport featuring a celebrity look-a-like – or as one staff member described it, “a wannabe doppelganger.”

The celebrity photos engaged a lot of people and got the whole office talking about their passports.

Rolling it out:

The cultural passports were presented at a staff meeting the day before they were put on everyone’s desk. At the staff meeting, the guidelines for earning a paid day off were outlined. The Green Team explained that they wanted to engage people on things they cared about, and reward staff for making time to do these things, even while they were busy with their day-to-day priorities.  They also announced a brown bag lunch planned for the following week so people could get an easy first stamp (which worked; they had a higher attendance than ever before!).

Where they are now:

It’s six months in and engagement is high.  A few staff members have already filled their passports and others are busy planning events and other activities.  Capital Pacific Bank is looking to give more prizes for people who fill up the entire passport and for people who get more than ten stamps each quarter.

Try this at your workplace!

A passport program is a great way to engage coworkers, empower others to take on leadership roles and build a workplace community.

Staff holding their passports