Converse Corporate Teambuilding Workshop

Converse is one of our most loyal corporate teambuilding customers. They called us recently to work with 20 of their Millennial executives. So we joined them in their corporate office in Boston on Lovejoy Wharf for a very unique Bike-a-thon Charitable Teambuilding Workshop.

Charity and the Converse corporate culture

The conference room to which we were assigned overlooked Boston Harbor, site of the 1773 Boston Tea Party. This is also the site of a history-making business: Converse is a part of the Nike family, which has left its footprint in every sport on the planet as evidenced by it’s $29.6 billion brand value.

Apart from sneakers, Converse is also famous for their philanthropic track record.  

Corporate social responsibility through community outreach is high on the list of priorities within their corporate culture. It is important to the company that their workforce embraces the spirit of altruism as an important part of their role at Converse. Fortunately, our 20  Millennial participants represent a generation of community outreach champions.

Corporate teambuilding for a special client

What made this workshop special was an additional component our client wanted us to incorporate into our teambuilding strategies. The 20 young Converse execs had just completed Strengthsfinder training and their supervisors wanted to incorporate our Bike-a-thon Charitable Teambuilding Workshop into that personal assessment process.

The Strengthsfinder program helps people identify specific character traits and personality attributes. This is the foundation on which strong skills are built. Converse wanted us to conduct teambuilding exercises that would interface with their assessments and help them hone their communications skills.

They divided into competitive teams. The bike assembly gave them a chance to practice what they’d learned and utilize their newly sharpened collaborative, leadership, and communications skills.

During the debrief, our feedback was full of comments about how much they enjoyed the “friendly” competition. They felt it would be easy to incorporate the skills we taught them into their daily work routines. They also valued the debrief because it brought all the pieces of the day-long workshop into clear focus–each participant had a big picture “aha” moment.

Corporate teambuilding and 4 happy kids

The Converse crew assembled 4 bikes to give to members of the Boys and Girls Club of Boston—a community outreach program that Converse has worked with closely in the past. Sowing into the lives of needy youngsters always makes our workshops worth the sweat equity. The unexpected interaction with the children was a delightful surprise. It made the whole event extra special for all the participants.

One young exec said the most heartwarming part of the workshop was when the kids walked in the door. The surprise in their eyes when they realized that they were going home with their very own bicycles was wonderful. The Converse team got a kick out of customizing the bikes. They carefully adjusted the seat height of each bike to the new owner. Their kindness heightened the excitement and gratitude of the children.

And Converse’s charitable enthusiasm didn’t stop at the Boys and Girls Club. They offered our Magnovo facilitator a discount so that he could go to their retail store below the corporate offices, to buy his 2-year-old granddaughter a pair of Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers! Results: one trendy toddler, 20 newly inspired Millennials, and one very satisfied client.

 

Team Synergy on the Vegas Strip

The following is what happens when you put a compassionate real estate developer with a Magnovo team synergy expert.

Coromandel Properties invited us to conduct a Bike-a-thon Charitable Teambuilding Workshop in Las Vegas.  Despite the 106-degree temperature, we kept our cool and embraced the challenge with gusto.

Of course, it’s easy to get excited about a company like Coromandel Properties. Their mission statement inspires trust and commitment: For us, family, community and the environment are at the core of every successful home.

Coromandel Properties is a real estate development firm based in Vancouver Canada. Townhouses, highrises, midrises–apart from the brick and mortar construction, what they are most committed to is building communities. And each Coromandel homeowner becomes a part of the corporate family.

The Coromandel team arrived fully engaged and fully present right from the start. And while they were clearly a competitive bunch, they were more focused on fun and teamwork.

Building bikes and team synergy

Ironically, Las Vegas means “The Meadows” in Spanish. It was more like a cauldron of flame while we were there. Fortunately, our digs made up for the inferno outdoors. A Forbes triple five-star hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Vegas is the definition of posh with a capital “P.” We basked in luxury enjoying the magnificent view of The Strip from the cool comfort of our meeting room.

Coromandel’s goal for this workshop was corporate focused teambuilding with an emphasis on team synergy. They invited Magnovo to turn their 25 enormously talented but very autonomous staffers into a harmonious unit. Building bikes for needy children became the single focus around which this symbiosis was achieved. And fortunately for our facilitators, these overachievers came prepared to embrace the spirit of the day.

Divided into 5 teams, they built 5 bikes. We geared each phase of the assembly to train team members to collaborate with each other without sacrificing individual creativity. One participant said that building the bicycles was the best activity for collaboration. She said, “It caused us to rely on each other to do our part in putting the bike together.” That’s what team synergy is really all about.

Rainbow dreams fulfilled

The recipient of the bicycles is one of the most impressive leaders with whom Magnovo has ever worked. Diane Pollard is the Founder and CEO of the Rainbow Dreams Educational Foundation. She started this remarkable Title 1 school 10 years ago and has transformed the lives of hundreds of children.

Their fully government-subsidized program teaches kids from Kindergarten through the eighth grade and prepares them for high school. Many of the students have both emotional and scholastic challenges. Pollard and her faculty strengthen their academic skills and bolster their self-esteem. They encourage and value each child just as they are at whatever academic level.

Students learn to believe that they can succeed in anything they want to do and they do it! This year, the inaugural class graduated. They started in Kindergarten and are now heading to college!

Pollard’s program really impressed the Coromandel Properties management. So they were happy to help benefit the Las Vegas community although it’s not their hometown.

The Magnovo facilitator relished the spark in the participants’ eyes as they made a human connection with the charity. The significance of the gifts that they built and gave touched their hearts.

At first, the group came to have fun and strengthen their team. Witnessing the moment when they realized that they’d just done something amazing was awesome! Even in 106-degree heat, our team synergy workshop with Coromandel Properties was a breeze.

Charitable Teambuilding with NuSkin Enterprises

Our charitable teambuilding workshop in Hawaii turned out to be an adventure in paradise on an epic scale!

Remember how in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” a tornado swept up the house and dropped Dorothy and Toto in the middle of a fairy tale? Well, our trip to The Big Island led us directly into a vortex of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the threat of acid rain. Oh my!

Our client was the Southeast Asia sales group of NuSkin Enterprises, a multilevel marketing company. Their global reach in the sale of personal care and dietary supplements is astronomical and the quality of their products is unsurpassed. Our team joined theirs for an exciting week of charitable teambuilding activities and fun in the sun at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Kohala Coast.

Charitable teambuilding with courage and conviction

We arrived the day after the earthquake in Hilo. Just before we landed I saw a red cloud above the volcano–a sight I’ll never forget for as long as I live! Initially, everyone was a bit jittery about spending a week on the island under such dangerous circumstances. Weather conditions were so unpredictable that the airlines offered to allow us to change our return flight schedules without penalties.

Fortunately, most of the volcanic activity and aftershocks were on the other side of the island from our resort. Ultimately the commitment of both NuSkin Enterprises and the Magnovo team was so strong, we all opted to stick it out. And the payoff for everyone’s courage was huge!

This was due in large part to the luxurious setting at Hilton Waikoloa Village. It is an all-inclusive resort complete with a tropical lagoon full of dolphins and marine mammal specialists who were eager to guide us on a tour that was both extraordinary and educational. With numerous retail shops, sports amenities, beaches, pools, and spas, the resort truly is a self-contained village. And the sumptuous meals and dazzling Polynesian fire dances were feasts for both our bellies and our eyes!  

Big plans on the Big Island

The customization of this Bike-a-Thon Charitable Teambuilding Workshop was one of our most rigorous challenges and it turned out to be one of our biggest success stories.

There were 80 NuSkin Enterprises sales reps from Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and other countries all over Southeast Asia. So their normal interactions consist of phone calls, emails, and online chats instead of daily face-to-face meetings.

And like the walls of lava nearby, we faced a number of multicultural walls that could have proven insurmountable. In addition to the staff members hailing from different countries, they were also of different faiths; there were Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists. This created additional social and cultural obstacles. There were language barriers as well for which our facilitators had to secure the services of interpreters.

So the Magnovo team had a number of mandates here and we met each one:

  • bridge the cultural divides and make them a more cohesive team;
  • break the ice among colleagues who don’t normally see each other, and
  • help them relate to each other and master better communications techniques.

Charity as a bridge builder

Our Bike-a-Thon Charitable Teambuilding Workshop is the ideal “vehicle” for bringing people together because they’re working for something that’s bigger than they are. The NuSkin Enterprises crew divided into small groups to compete for the parts needed to build bikes for local children. Each activity was designed to strengthen their collaborative problem-solving and strategizing skills and to help them develop stronger personal and professional relationships.

Authentic team bonding only works on a personal level, which is exactly what Nu Skin Enterprises achieved. They found points of commonality that overshadowed their cultural, social, and religious differences. The participants claimed that they couldn’t have had better facilitators and interpreters, so many of the things that divided them at first completely disappeared.

Before the end of the week, everyone was laughing, joking, having a great time, and relating to one another on far more than a professional level. Besides, fun is a universal language that doesn’t require much interpretation.

Forgive the pun, but the bike donations were right in NuSkin’s wheelhouse. From constructing libraries for children in Korea to providing free eye exams and glasses to children in Columbia–philanthropic service is a big part of their business model.

Gushing with gratitude

The recipients of each bike were members of the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island. None of the NuSkin Enterprises staff was from Hawaii. But they were ecstatic to give back to a charity that they regarded as a part of their international community. When the children and their parents arrived for the big presentation smiles and handshakes were intermingled with tears and hugs.

After the workshop, everyone shared with me the significance of what we had done. That made our Magnovo team feel like rock stars. Even though we arrived at what could only be described as a perilous moment, our adventures in paradise were glorious. In fact, the depth of our commitment was intensified by the threatening conditions. The stakes were high, our duty was clear, and the excitement level was amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corporate Team Bonding Kaiser Permanente Style

Our client, Kaiser Permanente, is the poster child for corporate team bonding.

Notice the cluster of people in the logo? That’s not just for branding. It represents their dedication to their 12 million clients and to be a good corporate neighbor.

Corporate team bonding is the glue that makes authentic team building possible. Why? Because when individuals connect on a personal level it’s easier for them to function as a team. The business model of Kaiser Permanente is based on this ideal. This made the  Bike-a-thon Charitable Teambuilding Workshop we facilitated for them a pleasure and an honor.

Established 60 years ago, they’re also one of the largest not-for-profit health plans in the country. Their mission statement says, “….health isn’t an industry. It’s a cause.” It’s one thing to see a slogan on a website. It’s another to see it in action.

And you see it everywhere they serve. Their Community Health Needs Assessment Program helps them better understand and serve the needs of their patients. The Total Community Health initiative broadens the reach of their membership. Providing technological support. Operating full-service community clinics. Developing green spaces. Their commitment to being a good corporate neighbor is expansive.

Corporate team bonding through bike building

Our most recent assignment was the fourth one we’ve hosted for them and as always it was phenomenal. We arrived at the Oakland California headquarters to work with a group of new hires. The newbies were 15 Millennials many of whom held PhDs in engineering or other advanced technological fields.

The Kaiser Permanente managers wanted Magnovo to undergird their training program. We focused on 3 areas:

  1. How they could take charge of their careers;
  2. How they could build influence; and
  3. How they could excel at the company.

The training sessions were pretty intense. Fortunately, their batteries were recharged by the grand finale: our bike charity teambuilding workshop. Everyone had a great time building the bikes, but the company had an additional agenda. The managers wanted them to start their careers understanding how important community service is.

Corporate team bonding at this firm is all about volunteering and giving back. Communication and collaboration were the highlights of the workshop. It was no surprise that these young geniuses excelled at problem-solving and strategizing.

The impact of kindness

The recipient of the 4 bikes was an agency we’ve had the pleasure of working with before. The Seneca Family of Agencies provides an invaluable service in the community by helping families through the most difficult times of their lives.

Sometimes they’re a family’s last hope for unconditional care. The Seneca Family of Agencies makes and keep a remarkable promise: to offer support at every step along their journey. No matter what they’re going through and no matter how long it takes.

They work with schools, social service organizations, government agencies and other service providers to guarantee that none of their families falls through the cracks at any point.

As always, it was great working with Ms. Harben Porter, their Assistant Director of Development for the Bay Area. She earnestly appreciated all the time and care the Millennial staffers invested in each bicycle. And her gratitude was genuine because the need among her clients is tremendous.

This was particularly important to Kaiser Permanente. They wanted to make sure that their donations reached people who were truly in need. Corporate team bonding and social responsibility are permanent fixtures at Kaiser Permanente.

Leadership Teambuilding with Fortive

Leadership teambuilding at Fortive translates as Kaizen, a Japanese ideology which means “continuous improvement.” Doing and being better is the focus of everything they do. And the Kaizen concept shapes their corporate culture. Fortive recognized that our Bike-a-thon Charitable Teambuilding Workshop could improve their leadership teambuilding. And they were right.

Fortive is a global industrial and scientific conglomerate that provides “essential technology for the people who accelerate progress,” to quote their website.

Based in Everett Washington, they employ 25,000 industrial technology specialists around the world. They’re huge proponents of corporate social responsibility and give every staffer plenty of time for community service.

Leadership teambuilding with Millennials

We visited their Everett headquarters and worked with 27 Fortive team members. Most of them were actually interns. So we tailored our workshop to the specific leadership teambuilding goals of these rising stars.

We shared insights on how to adapt to different leadership styles, personality quirks, and character traits among superiors and colleagues. While they were assembling the bikes they practiced a lot of the leadership skills we taught.

For some interns working one-on-one with executives was a bit intimidating. Fortunately, Fortive managers embraced the spirit of the workshop so eventually everyone relaxed and had a great time.

The takeaway from one intern was particularly enthusiastic. They noted that “…the energy in the room was amazing….” They wondered why that couldn’t happen at work. Of course, our facilitator assured them that it could. A takeaway from our charitable workshops is just that–a lesson participants can take away and apply on the job.

She explained, “Now you have a better understanding of how people work, communicate, and lead. It’s up to you to seize opportunities to boost the energy level and help everyone stay on track. And even instill some FUN!”

Kindness on wheels

The bikes were donated to the South Everett/Mukilteo Boys & Girls ClubThe mission of this national organization is to help children “…reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” Their track record of success is a tremendous source of pride.

Their members’ academic performance is especially impressive. According to their website, some 73 percent of low-income members earn mostly As and Bs. This is compared with 69 percent of low-income youth nationally who are not Boys & Girls Club members.

The South Everett/Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club was delighted with the bike donations. Their representative couldn’t wait to share them with club members who couldn’t otherwise afford such a treat. The Fortive interns and managers forged new relationships and boosted their leadership teambuilding skills. And everyone learned the true meaning of the Japanese concept of Kaizen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaching for the Pinnacle of Company Team Bonding

Our recent Bike-a-thon with Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc. was a delight. And our predictions of success at company team bonding were spot on.

We based our predictions about these data-dynamos on insights into their corporate culture:….to truly understand what the information means, you need a partner who goes beyond the numbers to something much greater: A commitment to you, your business and to helping you make the best decisions for your success.

This statement from their website set the tone for our time with them and it was a wonderful experience for our facilitators.

What actuaries actually do

Actuaries predict the probability of a future event like an accident, flood, fire, unemployment, or natural disaster. They use mathematics and statistics to project the financial consequences of predicted risks. And they also devise strategies for risk management.

Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc. provides services to agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and other industries. Beyond the statistical analysis, the company strives to fulfill an admirable set of core values. Among them are expertise and innovation;  teamwork and collaboration; and community involvement.

The fun of company team bonding

Employee development is another important core value. And this works hand-in-glove with company team bonding. Magnovo was invited to help them achieve this goal.

Pinnacle summoned 24 of their brightest and best actuaries to work with our team on the development of teambuilding and leadership skills.

They flew in from around the country to meet at the Dearborn Inn Marriott in Dearborn Michigan.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the hotel courtyard was perfect for our workshop. The actuaries knew each other well, but business travel prevents regular get-togethers. So they were glad to see each other and enjoyed collaborating on the donations.

They were especially adept at applying the leadership training to the assembly of the bicycles. Effective communicating and collaborating always makes any project run more smoothly.  The bike assembly was mentally stimulating and socially engaging–perfect!

And true to their analytical natures, the actuaries examined the bike components during construction very carefully. Several asked our team about the safety of each bike for their prospective young owners. Of course, safety checks are a part of our workshop process. Suffice it to say the Pinnacle managers were relieved and impressed.

The heart of company team bonding

The Boys & Girls Club of SE Michigan is one of  Magnovo’s favorite charities. We were glad that their kids would receive these bike donations. During the presentation, the Boys & Girls Club rep explained that the new bikes would be part of a raffle. Eligible kids earned the right to attend an end-of-summer celebration. And the raffle would take place during that party.

The Pinnacle team was touched by how the Boys & Girls Club motivated their kids to excel academically and socially. The bikes would be a reward for these achievements. But they’d also be going to kids who were so needy that many depended on the club for daily meals! This hit home for all of us.

The investment of our time, resources, and energy toward company team bonding was a tremendous entrepreneurial achievement. Making such a huge impact on the lives of needy kids—that was the best reward of all. Together we reached the pinnacle of success.

The Art of Company Team Bonding with Sunbrella/Glen Raven

Nothing says company team bonding like a family business. Sunbrella/Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, LLC started out as a family-run cotton mill in the 1880s. Dying, spinning, weaving, and designing–they did it all.

Fun fact: This North Carolina-based company is also an innovator. Circa 1950, the company president’s wife had a clever idea that eventually morphed into what we now call “pantyhose.”

More than a century later Sunbrella/Glen Raven is an international enterprise. They operate plants in Italy, France, Sweden, China, Vietnam, Uruguay, and Columbia. Sunbrella/Glen Raven fabricates products for convertible automobile tops and boat covers. They also make indoor and outdoor furniture, flags, fabrics for the media, and military, structural, filtration, automotive, and industrial use.

A wagon hitched to family tradition

Despite Sunbrella/Glen Raven Custom Fabrics’ international footprint, they’re still family. Suffice it to say very little ice-breaking was needed. What they really needed was help with improving their company team bonding. Magnovo obliged by conducting our nationally renowned Wagon Builders Charitable Teambuilding Workshop.

This workshop is popular because coworkers learn how to communicate and collaborate while assembling gifts for needy kids.  We met 100 members of the Sunbrella/Glen Raven team at their plant in Burlington North Carolina.

And in true ride-or-die family fashion, they pitched in to help us out of a bind. We had a shipping snafu that threatened the whole event. But they worked as hard as our facilitators to get everything back on track.

We worked at a furious pace, but everyone enjoyed assembling and decorating the wagons. And because this was a family affair some staff brought their children. These kids were delighted to cram the wagons full of toys for needy kids in their own community. It was a lively multi-generational event!

The recipient of the wagons was Crossroads, a local charity. Crossroads takes a solution-oriented approach to support victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Sadly, their services are sorely needed.

Every 98 seconds someone in America is sexually assaulted. Every day at least 3 women die at the hands of a former or current domestic partner. Crossroads fights to reduce these statistics in the Burlington region. They operate a 24-hour crisis intervention hotline and advocacy and community education programs. They also provide individual counseling and support groups.

The Crossroads representatives were thrilled with the blinged-out wagons and all the toys inside each! And the Sunbrella/Glen Raven team ended the day stronger than ever.

Company team bonding and charitable giving–our workshops always make everyone winners.

 

 

Abiomed Understands the Importance of Teambuilding

The importance of teambuilding took on a whole new meaning when Magnovo worked with Abiomed in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We planned on a leisurely July 4th holiday. But it became a different kind of celebration. A celebration of resilience and courage!

Abiomed is a medical technology pioneer in the field of cardiology. It was established in 1981 to create the first artificial heart. Today the company is a leading manufacturer of medical implant devices for circulatory support.

Their mission statement says it all: “Recovering hearts and saving lives is the founding principle and guiding compass of our organization.”

The importance of teambuilding in healing

Based in Cambridge, they’ve had their own personal trials recovering from the heartbreak of the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013. It only took a few seconds on April 15 for life in Boston to change forever. Three people died. And nearly 300 others suffered injuries. Many lost limbs. Life before those bombs detonated vanished.

For most of the 15 participants in our workshop, the memories are still fresh. Each recounted stories of loved ones who competed that day. And the trauma of that experience still pulsates throughout the region.

The recovery process has been a slow but steady one. The resilience of the Boston- Cambridge community was obvious everywhere we went. This is undoubtedly why the importance of teambuilding is at the core of  Abiomed’s corporate culture.

The importance of teambuilding in giving

We met at the Boston Marriott Cambridge Hotel in a room named “Endeavor.” What a suitably named venue for this group of courageous scientists, doctors, and technicians.

Their choice of our Rescue Buddies Charitable Teambuilding Workshop was equally profound.  These stuffed animals provide comfort and security to traumatized children who need help with the healing process.

Many of these kids have survived a life-altering trauma like a fire, flood, or other calamity. All of the Abiomed teammates were able to relate to the children’s need for emotional support.

A birth certificate and a colorful backpack accompany each huggable Rescue Buddy. Police officers, paramedics, and other first responders make sure they arrive at their forever homes.

Abiomed’s Rescue Buddies were given to the Cambridge Health Alliance for distribution to children in the Cambridge community.

The workshop reinforced the importance of teambuilding to the Abiomed staff. It also showcased the strength and community spirit to the recipients as well.

Professionally and personally, Abiomed literally is “all heart.”

Corporate Team Development for The Carroll Management Group

 

So there we were. The Carroll Management Group-a front-runner among privately-held real estate companies. The Magnovo Training Group–redefining teambuilding, corporate team development, and leadership training across the globe.

It’s amazing what can happen when two world-class forerunners get together. Success is simply inevitable.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with The Carroll Management Group several times before. In fact, ours is the only company they turn to for corporate team development and leadership training. This time around, they invited us to conduct one of our favorite workshops, aptly called The Big Picture Workshop because it brings into sharper focus how each staff member fits into the big picture at work.

Corporate team development goals

The Carroll Management Group had recently acquired some new properties and hired some new managers. They wanted to facilitate their acclimation to the company through some customized teambuilding activities. They also wanted their new employees to see the fun side of the company.

The Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta was an idyllic setting for this workshop because it’s tucked away on a 26-acre nature preserve with every amenity you could want at your fingertips. And there’s lots of peace and quiet so that it’s easy to focus on the task at hand.

In this case, the task at hand was the creation of 5 artistic masterpieces co-created by members of 5 small groups. There were 150 staff members, but no one got lost in the shuffle because each person was assigned to one of the teams. A set of 4-foot-by-4-foot canvases was distributed to each group.

Our facilitators guided them through the process of deciding what they wanted to paint. One of the biggest challenges was that each team member had to contribute an individual idea, and then work cooperatively with the other members of their group to bring a shared vision into being.

The interesting thing about the whole workshop was that none of the staffers knew what to expect at the end. Each person had a clear idea of their own responsibility, but no one was sure of how it would fit into the big picture–something we can all relate to at some point in our careers.

The art of corporate team development

As employees, we all know that everyone has the responsibility to do an excellent job and to help share the load. We may perform our various duties diligently, but we don’t always understand just how vital our work is—and how much value we add to the success of the whole organization.

Our workshops demonstrate that everybody has worth and purpose. The hallmark of a Big Picture Workshop is inclusion with everybody on every team contributing to each piece of art.

For the 5 Carroll Management Group teams, even though they worked to develop a shared vision with a unified concept or theme, the final outcome was a happy surprise. They could each see how their one-of-a-kind masterpieces came together.

Some were abstract; some were pictures of nature–all were beautiful in the eyes of each beholder. The other happy surprise was that each team came away with some finely honed communications, leadership, and collaborative skills.

Hours of cooperation, problem-solving, and corporate team development were reflected in each art piece. Staff members had learned how to listen to each other.  And they learned how to translate what they heard into a work of art. There were 225 canvases divided among the 5 teams.

Together they created a big picture of who they are as a staff. They understood how each of them adds depth, strength, and value to their company. Each canvas was like each employee–an important part of a magnificent whole.

 

 

Company Teambuilding with Cherry Bekaert

Cherry Bekaert, LLP, one of our most valued clients asked us to help beef up their company teambuilding strategies. This time we were invited to conduct a  special Rescue Buddies Stuffed Animal Teambuilding Workshop as part of a fun kind of reconnaissance mission in Orlando Florida.

Cherry Bekaert, LLP has a 70-year track record as one of the largest accounting firms in the country. Their CPAs provide tax, management, and accounting services to healthcare and transportation firms. They also work with real estate developers, restaurants, and multinational corporations; and government agencies, and organizations in many other industries.

It has been Maganovo’s honor to work with them several times over the past few years. In fact, they were so inspired by the impact of their last Rescue Buddies workshop that they requested an encore.

Company teambuilding in Orlando

This year we were inside the Disney Theme Park at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek in Orlando. The hotel’s customer service was outstanding, and the Epcot Center and Disney’s Animal Kingdom were at our doorstep. So we could have been easily distracted by our luxurious surroundings, but our client was on a serious mission and so were we.

You see, each year Cherry Bekaert hosts a summer conference called CONNECT, in which it introduces students to the industry and to their corporate culture. This year they decided to add another component: our workshop would be used to evaluate potential interns.

So 134 Millennial participants who worked in small groups were tasked with creating a Rescue Buddy while seeking to impress the Cherry Bekaert execs–one of whom was embedded in each group, a bit like the “Undercover Boss” TV show. Cherry Bekaert LLP is a very prestigious firm so a lot was at stake; while it might have been daunting for some students, for others it was their chance to shine.

Accountability in accounting

At Cherry Bekaert, it is very important to them to have a workforce that values the importance of philanthropic service. Giving back to the community is one of their core values which always resonates with Millennials. Indeed, these young employees expect the companies they work for to have a sense of social responsibility and are particularly excited about businesses that believe as they do.

Naturally, these prospective interns were being vetted by our client. Doubtless, these students also vetted Cherry Bekaert and were excited about the prospect of coming on board.

Although this generation is always game for community outreach, there are other professional demands they must master, too, and that’s where we come in.

Magnovo has a reputation for working successfully with Millennials in developing their leadership, communications, and collaborative skills and helping them to bridge the great multi-generational divide. We accepted the Cherry Bekaert challenge eagerly.

Company teambuilding with stuffed toys

Rescue Buddies do precisely that–they come to the emotional rescue of traumatized children after a family tragedy. Each cuddly animal comes in a brightly colored backpack with its own birth certificate attached.

These Rescue Buddies were delivered to their new owners by two charitable organizations. The first, New Image Youth Center provides year-round academic support to troubled youth. And  Bridges of Light Foundation targets abused, abandoned, neglected, and other at-risk children.

During the presentation, each aspiring intern held their donation in their arms. They were surprised to learn that they would go to children in crisis in the Orlando community. The expressions of joy and delight on their faces brought tears to the eyes of the charity representatives. They said that seeing the impact this experience had on the participants really affected them.

Everyone was emotionally overwhelmed and gratified by the whole experience. The Cherry Bekaert executives were impressed with this year’s crop of Millennials. And, of course, Magnovo is honored to remain their go-to company teambuilding expert.