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Posts from the ‘Win4Youth’ Category

The Big Day

My cell phone says it’s 1:45 a.m. and I’m lying down in bed fully awake, ready for the race. Even though I tried to go back to sleep, the mix of excitement and anxiety keeps me awake for the rest of the night. As the next four hours pass, I visualize every step of the triathlon 100 times and engage in some relaxation meditation.

Finally, it’s time to get out of bed. My bag is ready from the previous night with all my equipment, gels, fruit bars and water bottles. No need to double check since I went through it at least 10 times. It’s time to put on my tri suit, grab my bag and meet the other Ambassadors for breakfast.

Although the room at breakfast was pretty quiet and consumed with focus, the excitement and energy still resonated throughout.  As excited as I was, I was concerned about my injury from three days ago to my lower back. I could barely walk. While getting in my last bit of training before the race, an older back injury resurfaced. Even though the doctor told me I could probably still do the triathlon, I was concerned with the running portion — especially since it comes after spending almost two hours of being bent forward on my bike. I had to mentally prepare myself that I may only be able to walk the 10km, instead of run. In any case, the big day had finally arrived.

Once we arrived onsite, there was no time to think about my back. Everything went really fast: setting up the transition zone, eating one last snack, hitting the bathroom before putting on the wet suit on and getting my good luck kiss from my number one fan — my wife Melanie. Before I knew it, I was on the beach waiting for our Global CEO, Alain Dehaze to say “go!”.

Christian finished swimming

As I began swimming, I wondered how I would do in the vast ocean. 37 minutes later, I had my answer — the swim was amazing! I even got to admire some fish along the way. Things were going well, I was having a good time and most importantly, I was smiling. However, I knew the biggest part of the race was still ahead: removing the wet suit, 43.5km of cycling and 10km of running.

Then came the bike course through Puerto Del Carmen.  The scenery alone was breathtaking; the country side, wineries and the volcanoes, volcanic rocks and lava path along Timanfaya Park were absolutely amazing. This portion of the triathlon was the highlight for me. It even almost made me forget the 20km climb and the cramps that started in my right calf and left thigh. It was the moment when I felt the magic of completing a race with a team. The thumbs ups and encouragements amongst Ambassadors made such a difference. After 2:26 in the race — the ride taking appx 1:50 — and it was time to get off the bike and run!

Christian running

My back was so stiff when I got off the bike that I couldn’t run. As I removed my cycling gear, I took an ibuprofen and focused on the last (and most grueling for me) portion of the race: the 10km run. If it wasn’t for my injury, this is when I would’ve performed the best, however it ended up being the most difficult. The start of the running course was close to the VIP area where all the Win4Youth supporters — my wife included — were watching the race.  Needless to say, my pride took over and I managed to run a few hundred meters before stopping to stretch my back. As painful as it was, my biggest concern remained to finish the race in a decent time. I stopped at least two or three times to stretch in the first 5km and my pace was very slow. In my vision, I was going to fly over the running course with a big smile while passing the other runners. It was extremely frustrating to not see that to fruition. I still had some energy left but my back wouldn’t let me run. And, I don’t think I was smiling much at that point.

Although I was far from my usual speed, I was able to increase the pace in the second half of the run and eventually catch up to some of the runners who passed me. It took me an 1:08 to complete the 10km — 20 minutes more than my last Olympic Triathlon in Quebec.

Even though my finish was not as strong as I hoped, I truly felt the magic. I forgot about my back and focused on enjoying the moment. The last six months of sacrifice and training became worthwhile as the finish line approached. As that finish line hit my line of vision I felt proud, happy.  Best of all, I was smiling. I made it.  Despite the bumps in the road along the way, I enjoyed the journey and am truly grateful to have been given the opportunity. I will remember these moments for the rest of my life.

Alain giving Christian medals

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Find and apply to your dream job, or get more career advice from our experts.

 

From the Other Side of the Triathlon: A Message from our Win4Youth Ambassador Anne

The Win4Youth program brings Adecco Group employees, associates and clients together to share their passion for sport and to have a positive impact on the lives of young people around the world. Anne Nguyen was one of two members of our Canadian Adecco Group family selected to represent the Win4Youth program in October’s Ocean Lava triathlon in Lanzarote, Spain. Here is Anne’s last blog as 2018’s Win4Youth ambassador.

After the triathlon, I was able to reflect on the reason I wanted to become a Win4Youth ambassador. Growing up, I was heavily focused on academics and never truly got to experience what it was like to participate in extracurricular sports or group activities. Because of this, I have always felt like I missed out on being part of a community that wasn’t made up of my immediate family or friends. Even though I was hesitant, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for the Win4Youth ambassadorship because I knew it would help me get active and expand my connections within the Adecco Group globally.

This program has far exceeded my expectations. Not only was I able to complete an Olympic-distance triathlon, I made lifelong friends from all around the world. Together, we conquered the hardest bike course in the history of Win4Youth which created an unbreakable bond between us (#weareWin4Youth and #alumniproud for life!). Even though my journey as a 2018 Win4Youth ambassador is nearly over, I am still going to help motivate and be a voice for the underdogs. After all, if this couch potato can turn into an athlete, you truly are capable of anything you put your mind to!

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66 days until D-Day

Recently, I was reminded by a colleague and 2018 Win4Youth Ambassador, that there are only 66 days until our big challenge — the Win4Youth Triathlon in Lanzarote, Spain. Ouch! So far and so close at the same time. I’ve put in a lot of hard work and hours —  clocking in over 2,700 km. I know it’s paying off. I see the improvement. But … will I be ready D-Day?

The question brings on a certain level of anxiety. Even if I’m doing everything right, I can’t know how I’ll perform until D-Day! So, I try to focus on the training and put the end result to the back of my mind. As of yet, the training camp in Belgium has been my highlight. Every time I think of the experience 3 words come to mind: strenuous, camaraderie and support.

Strenuous

Long days, lack of sleep and the time difference made it hard to get to the training camp in Ghent. Although during training camp I was proud to accomplish a new personal record on the 10 km — and enjoyed every aspect — I came back from Belgium exhausted. It was a wonderful and demanding experience. The multiple workshops, trainings and testing sessions paired with the commute and team dinners made for long days and short nights. But, it was all worth it because I came back with all the knowledge I needed to prepare for Lanzarote. Would I have liked a lighter schedule? Of course. Would I do it again? Without a doubt!

Christian and fellow Canadian Win4Youth Ambassador Anne Nguyen

Camaraderie

Because we don’t have the same background, the same level of fitness, or, the same goals, the challenges from one Ambassador to another varied. For some Ambassadors swimming in open water for the first time was (and still is) a big deal. For others, it was riding a bike or running their first 10 km. What I realized is that we all had a weakness, however, no matter how hard it gets, we’re in it together.

During the training camp — and since then — the Ambassadors, coaches and support team really bonded, helping to create a strong team spirit. We met people from around the world, exchanged tips and tricks, helped one other, shared meals and lodging, created friendships and cheered each another on.

North American Win4Youth team on the last night of training camp

Support

I could not dream of a better context to train for a first triathlon. The support we’ve gotten from The Adecco Foundation and the coaches from Energy Lab is simply put — amazing! From the equipment we received to the training tips and apps, and, regular follow-ups, we’ve received the guidance we need to ensure we’re prepared and supported at each step. These guys are pros and really know what they’re are doing, which comforts me to know I’m in good hands.

The next 66 days

Even with all the training I’ve put in, a great team and amazing support system, I’ve never felt like 66 days was a short timeframe! So, I know that I better put them to good use if I want to be fully ready for Lanzarote. On my radar I have a few sessions of open water swimming in the St-Lawrence river, 20 bike rides, 280 km of running and participating in the Quebec City Triathlon Olympic distance on September 23rd.

So now back to my original question; will I be ready for D-Day? If you ask my coach, he’ll say that I’ll be ready if I follow his guidance. For me, at this stage my only answer is that I know I’ll finish and probably relish in a sense of pride. Whether I’ll finish the way I intend can only be answered in 66 days — October 27th.  What I know for certain is that we Ambassadors share common goals: being prepared for the triathlon and making our colleagues and country proud. For all of us, the 2018 Win4Youth edition will be undeniably memorable. The people and team are what make this edition — and each one before — unique.

You can follow my journey on social media:

To know more about the Win4Youth program and start logging your kilometers and hours, click here. To discover the other Win4Youth Ambassadors and alumni, or to share your own adventure, use the #Win4Youth hashtag on social media.

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Find and apply to your dream job, or get more career advice from our experts.

 

#Win4Youth: An update from triathlon training camp

The Win4Youth program brings Adecco Group employees, associates and clients together to share their passion for sport and to have a positive impact on the lives of young people around the world. Anne Nguyen is one of two members of our Canadian Adecco Group family selected to represent the Win4Youth program at the Ocean Lava triathlon in Lanzarote, Spain. Here, she talks about her experience at the Adecco Group training camp in Ghent, Belgium, which helped prepare her for the triathlon in October.  

Training camp in Belgium was nothing like I expected but everything I could have wanted. In the days leading up to the training camp, I was extremely nervous that I wasn’t at the level I wanted to be with swimming, running or biking. I regretted not starting my training sooner as I felt that I wasn’t on par with the other ambassadors. But that feeling quickly went away when I started training with my fellow ambassadors. Everyone was so supportive and the trainers catered to each participant’s level. Truly, everyone was on their own journey. What made it even better was that everyone cheered each other on. Just imagine: 74 ambassadors from 34 different countries all coming together and rooting for each other!

And that’s what really helped me during my time in Belgium. Over the four days I spent in Ghent, I achieved so much more than I thought I could thanks to the valuable instruction and advice from talented trainers, incredible support from my fellow ambassadors, and a whole lot of hard work!

The Eddy Merckx cycling track

This was the event I had been most dreading. I had watched videos of the circular cycling track and pretty much scared myself into not wanting to do it. It didn’t help that the bikes don’t have brakes! As we waited to go on the track, we could hear people fall while riding their bikes, which also didn’t help my fears. I didn’t go very fast or high on the track, but I conquered my fears and did it!

Seminars & Workshops

We attended a series of seminars during the training camp. My favourite was the Mental Training seminar, which taught us strategies to overcome our mental blocks — tools that I used in the mini triathlon later in the day!

Mock Triathlon and the Impossible Wetsuit

We started off the workshop by trying on our wet suits. I think this was the hardest obstacle I had had to overcome to date 😊. I needed the help of two trainers to help me get into the suit! Then, when the mini-triathlon started, I don’t think there was a single person who didn’t scream when getting into the water — it was freezing! At this point, I didn’t realize how different swimming in a lake is from swimming in a pool. I struggled and had to do the back stroke for most of the distance.

After the swim, we pulled off our wetsuits and hopped on bikes. While the scenery was beautiful, we biked around town dripping wet so all I could think about was how cold I was. Then, we ran around the lake. Normally after 1.5 to 2 kilometres, I would give up and walk. But I used the mental training to power through and I didn’t stop once (except when I tripped over a branch — haha). Nothing felt better than crossing that finish line. I literally went from zero athletic ability to junior triathlete that day.

10K City Run

In the afternoon, we participated in a city-wide 10km run. While I dreaded going on it, it was a great experience to see the city and finish with my fellow ambassadors cheering me on.

If you’re a colleague or associate at the Adecco Group in Canada, and you’re considering becoming an ambassador in 2019, please reach out to me and Christian. It’s an awesome experience; the energy of the training camp was amazing. I went from not knowing anyone to making lifelong friends from around the world. I still feel the energy and excitement of the training camp. I continually feel supported by my fellow ambassadors and I cannot wait to reunite with them in Lanzarote in October. Plus, it’s all for a great cause.

I know these next few months will prove to be challenging. But I also know that as each day passes, I will get stronger and better. I am so excited to see where I am in October and how this new chapter in my life will continue to unfold.


To view more of our blogs and articles, visit our resources page on our website.

And now for a message from our Canadian Win4Youth Ambassadors!

The Win4Youth program brings The Adecco Group employees, associates and clients together to share their passion for sport and to have a positive impact on the lives of young people around the world.  At the end of October, we’re excited to have 2 members of our Adecco Group family join 70 colleagues from around the world at the first ever Win4Youth Triathlon, powered by Oceanlava, in Lanzarote, Spain.

Anne Nguyen and Christian Robert are Canada’s representatives on the North American team. They were selected for their passion for Win4Youth, social media and fundraising efforts, and their dedication to The Adecco Group core values. Below, Anne and Christian tell us about their individual journeys to become Win4Youth ambassadors.

Anne Nguyen

What initially enticed me to consider applying to become a Win4Youth Ambassador was the opportunity to travel to Europe and make connections within The Adecco Group globally. However, I didn’t think I would be able to do the activities it took to get selected, like organizing a fundraiser and increasing my social media presence. I also worried about completing the triathlon if I was selected.

As I mulled over my application, I spoke with a colleague who had triathlon experience. She helped me realize that I can do anything I put my mind to. It also didn’t hurt that I made it a goal at the beginning of 2018 to push myself out of my comfort zone.

A few days later, I realized I wanted it. I wanted to be Canada’s Win4Youth Ambassador. I wanted to be the ambassador that could motivate all the underdogs! So, I took the leap. I figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

With the help and support of my manager, we started a competition between our Calgary and Edmonton branches to see which office could log the most kilometres in 5 days. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like the Battle of Alberta to light a fire under everyone. Not only did I succeed at getting mostly everyone to participate, I was able to fundraise and create awareness for my charity of choice, Believe in the Gold,[1] which raises funds for childhood cancer research and family support in Alberta.

Now as I begin to share my journey, I want people to realize that anything is possible. I want to be able to share all the highs and lows, and prove that self-doubt is nothing when you have an amazing support network behind you. My journey has only begun and I already feel so grateful for all the support I have received. I am so proud to be part of The Adecco Group Family and can’t wait to make you all proud! Please continue to follow my journey over these next few months and see me cross the finish line in Lanzarote, Spain in October.

Christian Robert

I have been running off and on for the last 20 years, and more regularly in the last year and a half. I even participated in a marathon in 2006 and have run a few 10K races and half marathons in recent years. But I’m far from an elite athlete; I’m especially not an experienced cyclist or swimmer. I even once told my avid triathlete brother-in-law that I would never do a triathlon. Too hard, too much training and engagement. Not for me.

Yet here I am, committed to my first Olympic triathlon in October. What happened? The easy answer is I lost my mind — but it’s a little more complicated than that.

In the last 18 months, I’ve been more committed to my training than ever before. I haven’t been training harder, necessarily, but I’ve been more consistent, focusing on my next run and striving to never miss a training session. It’s all thanks to the Win4Youth program, which got me started and keeps me motivated while I compete against my colleagues to log more kilometres than everyone else.

But, as I’ve learned about myself, I also need new challenges to keep me motivated. Otherwise, I get bored without a “mission” to accomplish and I slow down my training; running less often to the point where I have to start training all over again. Trying to maintain my ranking as one of the top 5 Canadian colleagues who has logged the most kilometres would only keep me motivated for so long. So, I registered for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon last fall and then for the Around the Bay Road Race in March. It worked. I kept training regularly.

But then what? If I didn’t have a project to concentrate on, I worried that my bad habit of losing motivation would resurface. And this time, I decided it would be different. I would continue training no matter what. There are just too many benefits! (Stay tuned for my thoughts on this topic!)

 “What keeps me going is goals.”

  • Muhammad Ali

My main objective was simple: continue exercising regularly. To do so, I had to find a new mission. Even though I was scared to admit it, the Win4Youth triathlon was the perfect project. It would take me out of my comfort zone, but still be exciting and motivating! I mean, travelling to Belgium and Lanzarote (have you see what it looks like?) and having all your colleagues cheering you on — that’s exciting! For me, the scary part is having to swim 1.5 km in the ocean, cycle 40 km and run 10 km, but if I train consistently, I know I can do it. Besides, now that I’ve found my “mission”, I’m fine.

So far, it’s working. I’m concentrating on preparing for training camp in Ghent, Belgium by focusing on swimming to improve my technique and endurance, and adding cycling to my routine.

I’ll strive to do as well as the previous Canadian ambassadors and make everyone proud. This is the beginning of a long journey. My goal: enjoy every minute of it. Stay tuned for more to come on my adventure.

This is the first in a series from our Win4Youth Ambassadors as they get ready for the Win4Youth Triathlon in Lanzarote, Spain. Read more about the program here.[2] And follow along on Facebook[3] and Twitter[4] with #Win4Youth.

To view more of our blogs and articles, visit our Employer resources page on our website.


[1] https://www.believeinthegold.com/

[2] http://www.win4youth.com/

[3] https://www.facebook.com/win4youth/

[4] https://twitter.com/Win4Youth

Millennials Want More… Corporate Social Responsibility!

By CEO for One Month, Alana Couvrette

Millennials sometimes seem to get a bad rep as a narcissistic, entitled and self-centered generation. But is this fair to say? I don’ t think so…

For example, millennials expect more from their employers than a paycheck. They have a genuine desire to give back to communities, near and far. For them, purposeful work and the ability to create a positive impact take precedence on profit and salary. In fact, in a recent survey, it was revealed that 45% of student about to enter the workforce would even take a pay cut “for a job that makes a social or environmental impact.” They seek to work for organizations who enshrine good values and ethics into their business model.

Organizations, like Adecco, have taken note of this trend. They know that having an organization-wide aspiration to making a positive difference is part of their value-proposition for attracting and retaining the millennial talent pool.
However, trumpeting your values and ethics isn’t enough. You can’t just talk the talk… The young talent pool is eager to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and participate in the efforts to improve communities near and dear to them. Organizations need to be able to offer opportunities for employees to truly engage in the change that they wish to make. Millennials seek diverse volunteerism opportunities.

At Adecco, our core values-passion, entrepreneurship, team spirit, responsibility and customer focus- permeate the whole business. As Adecco Canada’s CEO for One Month, I noticed this right away and can testify to their relevancy in our work. These values are also conveyed through our global employee engagement program, Win4Youth. This program encourages participants to clock up kilometers (through cycling, swimming or running) which are turned into donations to help disadvantaged youngsters find employment.

On June 22nd, 2017, Adecco Canada hosted their annual Solidarity Day, a day dedicated to Win4Youth. We spent the afternoon as a team running around Toronto completing a scavenger hunt filled with wacky photo ops and funny tasks. Maybe it’s just me but I didn’t even notice that we each accumulated around 9 kilometers. Multiply that by the total number of employees in the office and you’ve got a healthy donation! Curious to know how the day went? Watch this short video I made!

Still think millennials are self-centered? Deloitte’s Millennial Survey found that 7,800 young leaders from 29 different countries believe that the business world is getting it wrong. Close to 75% say that they feel businesses are “focused on their own agendas rather than improving society.”

Who’s looking self-centered now?

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/06/07/the-future-of-work-corporate-social-responsiblity-attracts-top-talent/#39aca2c33f95

[1] https://www.fastcompany.com/3046989/what-millennial-employees-really-want