Ride for Heart took on a whole different level this year. Being the Team Captain of a Corporate Team is a wild ride on its own. Ride for Heart is an annual charity cycling event in Toronto on June 3, 2012, where the Don Valley Parkway & Gardiner Expressway (2 main highways!) are closed down for cyclists!! All fundraising efforts go towards Heart & Stroke Foundation. Riders can ride either the 25km, 50km, or 75km route. I did 75km last year as an individual & had the best time!
I’ve never cycled in a team before, let alone forming a team within my company! It has been a long journey & deserves a 2-part post: PART 1 revisits the 6 months leading up to the event; PART 2 talks about the actual ride.
CHRISTMAS 2011. The idea of leading a team popped in my head. I was thinking about cycling as usual to endure the winter blues. 1 of my coworkers participates in Ride for Heart every year but joins another team. So I thought: “Why doesn’t my company have a Team??” Not only would this give me an excuse to have “bike talks” at work & boost company morale, it’d develop my leadership & management skills.
I immediately connected myself to the ride coordinator, Michelle G. I also requested approvals from my boss & CEO since funding was required to cover all the riders’ registration cost. Through Michelle’s encouragement, I set my recruitment & fundraising goals higher than originally planned: 20 riders & raise $4,000.
The crew at Ride for Heart Corporate Challenge, Michelle & Ayana (Intern), are amazing. I initially had questions for them almost every week. They always provided prompt responses & tools to support captains.
JAN 25, 2012. Michelle made a personal visit to my office to drop off ride information & various knickknacks – posters, donation hearts, bracelets, progress thermometer. She was quite amused when she saw my progress diagrams on the white board!
JAN 27, 2012. I was invited to an exclusive networking breakfast for captains & VIPs at the prestigious Private Executive Suite (TD Tower) in Toronto. I connected with Ayana, Megan (takes care of all the social media for the event), & several captains including Amy who is known to be full of FUNdraising ideas for her Team. We enjoyed breakfast while listening to presentations by Matthew Fleming (heart disease survivor) & doctors who are using the funds for research. I left the meeting feeling inspired & ready to get my team moving!
I was more comfortable recruiting than fundraising. I chatted about cycling to those willing to listen, put posters around the plants & office, wrote a segment in the company newsletter, decorated the kitchen bulletin board, & sent out mass emails. I invited family, friends,
coworkers, & even contractors to the team. Next thing I knew, people started signing up along with their family & friends. Fundraising, however, was my concern at the get-go. I am awful at asking for money. Touchy subject. I didn’t want anyone to feel pressured to give me money. All my charity rides last year were paid mostly, if not all, by myself. I didn’t mind since they were for good causes & cycling overrides the associated expenses. But $4000 is a team effort! Time to get out of my comfort zone. It was a slow start, but it eventually picked up when I found out my CFO is a board member of Heart & Stroke Foundation. Not to mention the support from all my generous coworkers & friends.
MARCH 6, 2012. My Team officially reached 100% of our recruitment goal & surpassed 50% of our fundraising goal. All the pieces were falling together.
MAY 4, 2012. Seanna R. (Associate Manager of RFH) & Sheryl Gill (heart disease survivor) came to my office for a Team Kick-off Event. They motivated both riders & non-riders with Heart & Stroke’s missions & ride day information. Sheryl inspired everyone with her real life experience & how our dollars make life-saving changes.
They even donated 2 gifts to us – perfect for a raffle draw to raise money for our Team!! The raffles helped raise $129. The 2 winners were a bit controversial to all since both their cubicles are near mine. I swear no cheating was involved!!! Congrats to Bill & Hasan! 😀
I must mention Ride for Heart & their sponsor’s generosity. I received complimentary tickets to the Bike Show back in March 2012, a private spin class at CYKL (my go-to spin studio! What are the odds?), & $25 Sporting Life gift card for everyone who registered before March 1st!
Ride day is tomorrow! To date, we have surpassed both our riders & fundraising goals – 23 riders & $4,654. This amount excludes some offline donations; the final $ will be much higher!! 😀 I’m happy with the results – very thankful to everyone who supported my Team.
Rain (& wind) is in tomorrow’s forecast. Wet or dry, I’m ready to ride. It’s always fun to see coworkers outside of work environment. Go Team Enwave! 😀