“Climate First partners with Bliss CARES for Pride banking” an Interview from Watermark

Outlet: Watermark

Reporter: Bellanee Plaza

Date/Time: Thursday, January 11 at 11:00 a.m. ET

Location: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3990209896

Interview Details: Bellanee Plaza will be interviewing Rachel Kent of Climate First Bank and Johnida Pena of Bliss CARES to learn more about the newest Pride Banking partnership.

About Bellanee Plaza: Bellanee Plaza is a senior journalism student at the University of Central Florida. She is a Student Reporter for NSM Today as well as the Campaign Director and Writer for the UCF chapter of Her Campus. She is currently freelancing while remaining a full-time student. 

About Watermark: Watermark is a multi-faceted media company using opportunities and innovations to communicate and advance LGBTQ+ interests, with a corporate emphasis on professionalism while building strong relationships with readers, customers, and community.

Talking Points:

  • Climate First Bank’s origin story, mission to achieve carbon drawdown and devotion to equality
    • Started in Florida intentionally because of how much the local environment is impacted by climate change.
    • Anyone in the US can bank with CFB.
  • The link between environmental and social issues and how the climate crisis disproportionately impacts minority groups
  • Pride Banking perks
    • $100 donated to Bliss CARES for every new qualifying account opened between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2024
    • Bank with your preferred name and pronouns
    • Free Pride checks
    • Interest bearing checking account, no minimum account balance and no monthly account fee.
  • How the partnership between Climate First Bank and Bliss CARES will help support the local LGBTQ+ community
  • Bliss CARES origin story and its mission. 
  • Explain the services that you provide.
    • Focus on prevention medicine, treatment for HIV, Hepatitis and/or those at risk of STD’s.
    • Transportation Assistance
    • Bliss TRANSformation Program
    • Bliss CARES Mobile Unit
    • Bliss CARES Temporary Housing Assistance
    • Bliss CARES Community Testing Centers

Potential Questions:

**These sample questions serve as an internal guide based on Uproar’s discussions with the reporter and background research. There is no guarantee the reporter will ask any.**

  • Why do you think it’s important that a $100 donation is made to Bliss CARES every time a qualifying Pride checking account is opened at Climate First Bank?
  • Why is the donation window open for 6 months? And how is that impacting the community?
  • For Climate First Bank, how is this initiative going to improve the health and financial wellness of the Central Florida LGBTQ+ community?
  • For Climate First Bank, how is partnering up with Bliss CARES going to empower LGBTQ+ people in Florida and their financial goals?
  • For Climate First Bank, you guys are the world’s first FDIC-insured community bank, and you are located in Central Florida. Do you hope to grow in Florida and even possibly expand across the state especially as Florida is changing its viewpoints?
  • For Bliss CARES, how is collaborating with BLISS Health going to push this initiative into better medical care for Floridians?
  • For Bliss CARES, having an account means account holders can use their preferred names and pronouns on the account, receive free Pride Banking checks, and don’t have to worry about a monthly account fee. Other companies may not be as lenient when it comes to account holders. What is some way you hope these standards help account holders feel at ease?
  • This is the second year the Pride Banking Program is at Climate First Bank, what other ways would you like to continue working together to support the LGBTQ+ community through financial options?
  • How does partnering up with Climate First Bank and Bliss CARES set people up for success when they are looking for an inclusive banking experience?
  • Climate First Bank is “proud to join the movement of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits using our collective power to change the world.” How is this partner-up going to reflect on your goals and ambitions?

Media Tips:

  • It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the questions you are being asked by a reporter and answering them instead of achieving your goals. It’s important that during an interview, you stick to the core talking points to ensure communication is clear, accurate and resolving.
  • Nothing is “off the record.” Everything you say during a press interview may be used by the reporter. If you do not want it included in the story, do not say it.
  • When asked tough questions, spokespersons can rely on the blocking (acknowledging) and bridging techniques:
    • Acknowledging and bridging is achieved by connecting phrases that enable you to smoothly acknowledge the question, exit the question and give the response you want to give. 
    • Example – “I understand your interest in asking about ______, unfortunately, I cannot speak to this, but what I can tell you is (and go on to make your point.)”
  • Speak in complete sentences. Sometimes media will use snippets of a response, so it’s best to include the company name whenever possible. 
  • It is OK to let reporters know that you don’t know the answer to a question. A simple “I can check with the team and get back to you on that” ensures the most accurate information.
  • Be concise. Try to avoid rambling. Keep talking points top of mind and use them.
  • Take slow deep breaths when you feel the pressure mounting. If necessary, slow your speech and lower your voice.
  • Have fun! The more you smile and breathe, the easier the interview will be.

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