When he hits the roof, even a blizzard can’t stop him,
It’s common wisdom that a good leader should have faith in his employees. But Outliers raised a collective eyebrow when we heard the story of a Waconia, Minn., hospital president who braved a blizzard and temperatures of 15 degrees below zero while sleeping overnight on a rooftop as a fundraising challenge.
Robert Stevens, lead executive at Ridgeview Medical Center, took to the roof of the Dunn Bros. Coffee shop in Excelsior, Minn., the weekend of Dec. 10 in a scheme to raise $100,000 for his 14-year-old daughter’s financially strapped private school, the Spring Hill Waldorf School, also in Excelsior. Stevens knew it would be cold when he offered to take on the dare, but braving a blizzard wasn’t part of his plan. Nevertheless, he took to the rooftop determined to stay up there all weekend or until he reached his fundraising goal—whichever came first. The hospital executive said he was emboldened by the fact that he had a good staff of medical providers at the ready to come to his rescue should he need it. “Ridgeview has an ambulance service, so I knew I’d be in good hands if I needed to call 911,” Stevens told Outliers.
The hospital exec hunkered down on the rooftop around 7:30 p.m. Friday and withstood the tundra-like conditions until the following evening, when the wind and ice forced him down. But he climbed back up for several more hours Sunday. All told, the stunt helped raise $70,000, and Stevens miraculously walked away without a single frostbitten digit.
Even a blizzard didn’t deter Robert’s rooftop fundraiser.