Lights are flashing, and Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” blares through the speakers. Dressed in a snappy new outfit, Greg Walthorn hits the runway. He’s got 60 seconds to impress.
Greg’s normal day-to-day as a Plante Moran partner involves advising high-net-worth clients, not strutting his stuff down the catwalk. But he was willing to go out of his comfort zone for a worthy charity.
Last spring, Greg participated in the 10th Annual Dapper Dads Challenge & Fashion Show to advance and support women’s health through Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich. This fundraiser consists of a campaign for online votes from the community and the Dapper Dads Fashion Show, which is the culmination of the challenge. The 2019 fundraiser brought in $542,000, and Greg came in fifth place to fellow competitors from companies like Delta Dental of Michigan, Jackson National Life, Accident Fund Insurance, and Eyde Company.
For Greg, it was the pull of the community and the mission that motivated him to join. After both an attorney who Greg works with closely and a client called him up to participate, Greg knew he was in.
As for the mission? “I think of my friends who have had health problems, and I put myself in their shoes. If they ever needed these services, I want to help to make it possible for them,” said Greg.
Greg’s campaign to be a Dapper Dad was almost sidelined by an injury. He hurt his knee and thought he might have to withdraw from competition, as his surgery was scheduled a week before the fashion show. Just as he was about to withdraw, a couple clients caught wind of the competition and contributed. Greg found himself all the way up to third in the challenge, and he knew the show must go on.
Since Greg dazzled his way to the top 12 of the competition, he gets one of the coveted spots on the Dapper Dads calendar. The month? “Well I had to pick March, my wife’s birthday is March 9, so now I get to say that I’m the calendar model for the month of her birthday,” Greg said.
As for the mission? “I think of my friends who have had health problems, and I put myself in their shoes. If they ever needed these services, I want to help to make it possible for them.”
Greg’s no stranger to charitable activities. He’s previously been on the board for the Wharton Performing Arts Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and has been a part of many charity golf outings, dinners, and bowling events. Walking down the catwalk was certainly outside his norm.
“It was pretty weird to walk down the runway with people waving dollars bills at me from the crowd, but it was fun to be a part of such a popular event in the community,” said Greg. “Plus, they had a bar in the dressing room, so I had some confidence before I hit the runway.”