A champion of offering sound financial advice to individuals is lending his skills to the 2019 United Way of Hamblen County fundraising campaign.
Greg Steisslinger is so fond of planning well, that he started his career path at a fairly young age. There was no doubt in his mind as to what classes he wanted to take in college — any and all subjects related to money.
“Honestly, I always wanted to do it. I always wanted to work in finance, I loved investing, economics,” he said during a recent, and rare, few moments of free time at his office located in the FTB Advisors building in Morristown, where he serves as senior advisor, regional director and vice president.
He earned his titles by working long, but flexible hours; he’s been in the business of finance since 1995, and his entire career has been spent with First Tennessee Bank. He joined the company right after graduating from the University of Tennessee.
He’s not counselor, per say, but the job lends itself to listening carefully to clients.
“It’s definitely a process of understanding their situation to be able to give them the right advice for their personal needs, business needs or family needs,” Steisslinger said. “Everyone’s situation is different, from business owners to individuals to people who are retired.”
The 2019 campaign represents Steisslinger’s first time at bat wearing the chairman’s hat, but he’s no stranger to the playing field when it comes to raising funds for the agencies that offer a combined wealth of services to the citizens of Hamblen County and beyond.
His commitment of time and energy to this year’s United Way campaign is based on family heritage and personal experience.
His grandfather, Kenneth, and mother, Liz, were both featured on past campaign posters, representing their participation in and involvement with United Way agencies.
“It’s a great way to support the community. I knew what the United Way was about, even back then. I knew right away it was something I would be happy and proud to be involved with,” he said.
He began his tenure with United Way by volunteering as a loaned executive back in the late ‘90s, not too long after he relocated from his first position with First Tennessee in Memphis, back to his hometown.
He has chaired the Pacesetter committee, one of the Large Firms committees and served as the Leadership Giving committee chair for several years.
The campaign chairmanships represents a big time commitment, so how did United Way executive director, Gary Matthews, recruit him?
“Gary’s asked me about it a lot, actually,” he said. “I think he said to me this is the eighth year he’s asked me. It worked this year; it felt like the right time, so I was happy to do it.”
Each year the campaign chair decides on a theme to promote the fundraising; Steisslinger chose ‘Community United.’
“It’s short, but powerful,” he said. “I think Morristown is definitely a community united, and that extends out to the Lakeway Area. While it’s a Hamblen County campaign, our agencies support our outlying communities. Those two words, community united, say a lot — we are a community, we’re united and we come together for a common cause.”
The goal is $1,450,000 for the campaign, one that Steisslinger feels Hamblen countians will rally to meet.
As for his personal life, there’s no point in asking about a recent movie or Netflix series he’s watched or a favorite book — he’s not one to sit on the sidelines.
He enjoys playing golf and would be active on an adult baseball team, if one were available locally. And he enjoys face-to-face time with people — “Over the years, I’ve been more involved with kids and family and friends,” he said. “In fairness, I love going to a good movie; but I just don’t have the time.”
He and wife, Amy have been married for 23 years. They are raising two sons: Eli, 16, a rising junior at West, and Ty, 13, a rising freshman.
Eli a member of Hamblen County Youth Leadership, now in its second year; he plays on the golf and basketball teams and is active in the school’s choir. Ty is involved in baseball and basketball. Amy has been active in parent-teacher organizations at her sons’ schools, from All Saints’ to Westview; she serves on the board of HC*EXCELL and volunteers with the St. Patrick Church youth group.
Steisslinger spent years coaching Little League baseball.
“Now with Ty being past that, I’ve really missed it this year,” he said. “That’s been a lot of fun.”
They say you can never take the game out of the coach, as Steisslinger proved during the July 21 weekend.
He and the family attended a baseball tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, then made a slight detour on the return trip.
“We saw that the Morristown Little League was playing in Bristol at 1 p.m., so we planned our route more north to watch the game,” he said.
Steisslinger’s interests are not limited to golf and baseball — “I love all sports, really,” he said.
To keep those United Way report luncheons action-packed, he may resort to tactics he learned during his years spent spurring players around bases and over home plate.
He’s not at all worried about the United Way team’s performance, however.
“The reason I like the “Community United” slogan is it really said what we need to do and live, which is helping one another. And if everybody did one or two things they were passionate about or that helped the community, what an amazing difference it would make,” Steisslinger said.
“Our slogan is really encouraging people to be involved, to be part of the community. Everybody’s contribution makes a difference, whether it’s volunteering, helping or contributing financially.
“I’m a big believer in that if everybody did something, what an amazing difference it would make,” he said.