circle bank photo shoot

Reviewing a test shot with photographer Stuart Lirette (photo by Sven Eberlein)

UPDATE: October 24, 2013 – More than 1 1/2 years have passed since this post was written. Circle Bank has since been purchased by a larger “community” bank, and the changes in tone, values, and services have left me very unsatisfied. As a result of their transition, I made a change, too: I liberated another space and took my business to a local credit union. Happy happy!

There I was in one of the most uncomfortable places you will ever find me: on the lens side of the camera. Always one to shy away from the spotlight, the photographer whom I had just met was adjusting a light that was shining in my direction.

I took a leap and stretched beyond my comfort zone by asking one simple question at my bank: how can me and my business be featured in one of your ads? Before I knew it, it was happening.

But first, a little back story.

The early days of the Move Your Money movement had me primed to leave the big corporate entity that was my bank until just over a year ago. I had requirements that included proximity to my home office and an offering of business checking and savings accounts. Most of the credit unions did not provide the latter, so I waited. And I waited. And I waited.

Finally there came the new banking kid on the same block as my “too big to fail” financial establishment. After conducting preliminary reconnaissance online and learning it was a local community bank that provided the services I needed, and that they, like me, were a Bay Area Green Business, the time came for a visit. It was love at first conversation. I felt as if I had landed in the warm green embrace of the bank’s logo, a contemporary stylized zen ensō. The time for change had come.

Liberating was the day I closed my accounts at the bank from which I was Chased Away, a phrase coined by my partner, Sven, in his blog post about how and why we moved our money to Circle Bank.

Fast forward nearly a year, and I find my query about being a featured customer for the bank’s print ad campaign setting a proverbial ball in motion. An interview was scheduled, a photographer would be in touch, and then the ad would appear.

Not being in control of the shutter was huge. Imagine how hard that would be for a visual control freak! It took a little getting used to, but when I simply allowed myself have fun in front of the camera, I let go. I had to trust. (Actually, make that two cameras, as Sven was documenting “behind the scenes.”)

Trust is liberating. When we’re vulnerable and can trust ourselves, we are open to having experiences that illuminate (sometimes literally) a new degree of focus and awareness. When we trust, anything is possible, like becoming a half-page ad in several Bay Area publications.

Little did I know that in the process of engaging in this fabulous collaboration, I would experience a truly liberating experience. Ah yes, sometimes advertising rings true!

Circle Bank ad featuring Debra Baida, Liberated Spaces