In June 2014, Salesforce UK took on two epic rowing challenges totalling 70 miles in order to raise money for The Ahoy Centre. Our current fundraising total (online/offline) stands at around £41,000. Back in December, the Media UK team had an offsite and wanted to come up with a challenge that would be physically and mentally challenging all whilst raising money for a great cause. The ideas came in thick and fast (helped by some red wine!) evolving to the idea of rowing from our Staines office through to our London office. How hard could it be?! 47 miles to be precise!
One of the major benefits of working at Salesforce is our Foundation, a 1/1/1 integrated philanthropy model. Employees donate 1% of their time to community engagement, we donate 1% of our product to non-profit organisations and give 1% of our equity through grants to non-profits. There are many ways we can get involved in a variety of community projects ranging from helping non-profits get setup on Salesforce to volunteering abroad.
Once the challenge had been laid down we then looked for a non-profit that we could partner with to raise money for as well as for them to help us achieve our challenge and we found the Ahoy Centre. They provide life-changing water activities and a community for adults and young people, whether able-bodied or with disabilities. Kids who have lost their way can find a place and a real belief in themselves. There is a major focus on teamwork and personal development and the AHOY Centre courses and activities provide the opportunity to build self-esteem, confidence and offer training vital to finding employment.
We put a vigorous training plan in place for the 23 Salesforce employees consisting of gym sessions, group-rowing training on the Thames and canoe training. However, we needed a warm-up before the massive endurance challenge of Staines to the Thames. The Ahoy Centre regularly has organisations fund-raising by rowing the English Channel, 23 miles, so we decided to select this as our warm-up!
The English Channel row came around on Monday 2nd June, with many of us travelling up the night before. The weather was at the top edge of feasible to allow the row to take place, with a wind forecast of Force 3-4, the sea very choppy and poor visibility. We rowed non-stop with each of us getting a one minute water break every 20 minutes or so and the first boat completing the challenge in 7.5 hours. The rough sea and a strong tide outside Dover harbour meant that our final mile took us 50 minutes! A truly epic endurance of the body and mind, with many of us feeling very much worse for wear for several days afterwards.
Without too much time to rest, we held a fund-raiser event at Salesforce Tower on Thursday 5th June with many of our UK employees, hosted by British Olympic Rower Greg Searle. Our senior management went head-to-head in 300m rowing sprints with the highlight being Miguel Milano (EVP Enterprise Sales EMEA, salesforce.com) vs Paul Smith (SVP & GM Exact Target Marketing Cloud EMEA, salesforce.com), Miguel just beating Paul. The final was between James Spencer (Account Executive, salesforce.com) and Ryan Liubinskas (Sales Director, Cloud Sherpas) with Ryan taking the win. A great fundraising event which raised over £4,000!
Our Staines to London City challenge came around on Wednesday 25th June, which would be about twice the distance of the English Channel row. We set off in 2-person canoes from behind our Staines office and went through several locks before reaching Teddington after about five hours. We then moved into the cutters for our main row from Teddington through to Tower Bridge. Team 2 were way ahead for the majority of the row although as we approached Westminster, Team 1 had caught up and there was a big race to the finish line. Rowers in all boats pushed themselves as hard as they could to a near-photo-finish, Team 1 just getting over the line first in a time of 3 hours 15 minutes.
Now we’re planning for our next challenge. Make sure you challenge yourself to do something new this year!
Team 1 – Power Strokers - Sponsored by NewVoiceMedia
Daniel Pell, Patrick Knight, Tim Clarke, Matt Thomas (Staines to City row), Steve Bradford (Channel row), Xabier Ormazabal (Channel row) George Dawson, Lee-Anne Knight (Staines to City row), Tom Brittle (Staines to City row)
Team 2 – Dirty Oars – Sponsored by Cloud Sherpas
Mike Green, Sarah Cook, Jonathan Hill, Jemma Byrne, James Spencer, Ross McCabe (Staines to City row), James Lee-Smith, Xabier Ormazabal (Channel row)
Team 3 – Seamen from Staines – Sponsored by Tquila
Gill Payne, Andy Lawson, Gavin Mee, Kevin Lynch, Alexandra Gough, Simon Wilcockson, Michaela Harradine
With special thanks to our main sponsors, NewVoiceMedia, Tquila and Cloud Sherpas.
Tim is a Senior Account Executive within the Media vertical at Salesforce managing key customer relationships. He sits on the UK Foundation committee and helps organise many volunteering events. You can follow Tim on Twitter at http://twitter.com/timxclarke
About Tim Clarke
Tim is Senior Account Executive (Media) at Salesforce. In 2014, he took part in two big charity rowing challenges. The first, rowing the English Channel (23 miles), and another from Staines to London (47 miles).
- See more at: https://www.newvoicemedia.com/blog/author/tim-clarke/#sthash.PiDrJcD4.dpuf