David Willard, vice president and director of community relations at Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, is no stranger to dramatic turnarounds – literally and figuratively.
Among his proudest achievements was his proposal to turn a collection of Cape Cod playhouses from competitors into collaborators.
Eighteen years ago, Cape Cod Five supported Willard’s efforts to bring more than a dozen theaters together to form the Cape Cod Theater Coalition.
“I noticed that they [the theaters] were always competing with one another. We asked if they could collaborate,” Willard told Banker & Tradesman. “They were truly not competing against themselves, but other types of media.”
Today, the theater coalition conducts business as a team – which helps all of them to shine come show time.
“We have supported this for 18 years with 17 theaters in the coalition,” Willard said. “They share everything in advance. When one theater would have a male-dominated play, they would share this fact with the other theaters and they would help out each other. They collectively employ now.”
Finding ways to foster community instead of competition is part of Willard’s unique skill set, according to Gordon Wright, marketing communications officer at Cape Cod Five.
“He’s all about collaborations,” Willard said. “I remember back before those 18 years that the theaters barely got along. David got them going together. They thoroughly enjoy this collaboration and would not want it to end.”
Cape Cod Theater Coalition Co-Chair David Kaplan agreed.
“Beyond just founding it through his persuasive powers and abilities, he’s very adept at putting organizations together to benefit the non-profit community,” Kaplan said. “He knows how to put those people together. He keeps the collaboration of the coalition going.”
For his efforts with the theater coalition, and other similar initiatives, Willard was recently presented with the Community Leadership in the Arts award by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. He has served on the Arts Foundation board for fifteen years, and was previously recognized by the group as Cape Cod’s Community Leader of the Year. He has also previously been named honorary chair of the annual Boston Pops by the Sea concert.
“Working for this great community bank for almost 45 years has given me a great opportunity to see these areas where the bank can really get involved,” Willard concluded. “I’m just fortunate to have been a part of it. Being in a local community bank is such a wonderful experience. Everything is decided locally. It gives us a great opportunity to give back.”