Over 11 days in April, employees of about 60 Hampton Roads businesses hope to set records.
Instead of deals closed or clients served, the businesses will have a chance to claim bragging rights in kickball, volleyball, bowling, golf and other sports as part of the second annual Corporate Challenge, an event organized by the Hampton Roads Sports Commission, an affiliate of the HamptonRoads Chamber.
Lauren Bland, executive director of the commission, said the first year “went better than expected and the demand is clearly there to bring it back.”
As of mid-March, Bland said they were on pace to have more than 60 companies participating.
Interest in the event has prompted organizers to expand participation opportunities. The maximum number of teams allowed in each event has been increased. As an example, she said this year they anticipate fielding 24 kickball teams versus 18 last year.
And the sports events have been spread over two weeks, which means people may not have to take an entire day off work to participate in multiple games.
This year’s event has three charitable components. The top three companies overall win money for the charity of their choice, secondly the challenge also hopes to collect 5,000 nonperishable items for the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia, and finally, the event also will serve as a fundraiser for the nonprofit sports commission.
In addition to supporting the food bank, Bland said they hope to raise $15,000 for good causes.
“It’s a really slow time for our food bank here. Everybody gives a lot of donations around the holiday and people tend to forget about them in April. So we wanted to make sure the business community helped stock their shelves,” Bland said.
And beyond the charitable aspect, the event serves as an opportunity for some professional networking outside of the office.
Last year, “we didn’t know what to expect, with it being the inaugural event, and it really exceeded our expectations,” said Martin Joseph, president and CEO of 360IT Partners. “When I approached my team this year about whether they wanted to participate again, there was an overwhelming ‘Yes.’ ”
“My passion is playing golf,” Martin said. “And I’ve always been competitive and athletic, so for me being able to have our staff do something that’s healthy and compete is fun.”
Optima Health is also returning to this year’s event. John DeGruttola, Optima’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, said leaders in the organization are serving as coaches and fielding teams. Some teams even held tryouts.
Regarding Optima’s involvement, DeGruttola said, “We’re trying to hopefully be a trendsetter and a leader in helping other corporations become more involved in the community and it’s a great way to team build and network,” DeGruttola said.
Complete information about the 2017 Corporate Challenge, including registration information, is available at hamptonroadssports.org/page/2017-corporate-challenge.