Charles Cao, GE Capital’s Asia Regional Treasurer, has been an enthusiastic advocate of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge since it expanded to Shanghai in 2011.
When the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge expanded to China in 2011, General Electric was one of the first companies approached to register a team.
There was one problem. The person who received the call – GE Capital’s Asia Regional Treasurer Charles Cao – wasn’t sure what the Corporate Challenge was.
“I asked my treasury colleagues back in the United States what the Corporate Challenge was all about,” Cao remembered. “Wow! Everyone I contacted seemed to be a big fan of the event. They told me that the GE China team should definitely be in, and we are the most active participants in a lot of Corporate Challenge cities.”
Cao’s colleagues were speaking from nearly 40 years of history. General Electric is one of the most prolific (in terms of total entries) and successful (in terms of race results) companies to participate in the worldwide J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series. Its roots go back to the very first race in New York’s Central Park in 1977, and it has fielded Championship-qualifying teams at almost every race ever held in the United States, including current cities Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, New York, Syracuse and San Francisco, and former markets like Albany, Binghamton, Long Island and Stamford. GE has had ample success in the Corporate Challenge Championship as well, most recently winning the 2010 mixed team title in Johannesburg.
When Cao learned about that history, he went right to work recruiting his Shanghai colleagues to participate in 2011. And he did a spectacular job, entering 143 colleagues for the debut event that year. The next year, that number swelled to 223. And GE has been a yearly presence, as Shanghai has grown into a must-attend event with an 8,000-entrant capacity.
“This represents a long standing global partnership of J.P. Morgan and GE,” said Cao, “and it is a great event for GE China. It’s about GE’s care of its employee’s well-being, it’s about teambuilding, it’s about fun. This is what we call in GE HealthAhead.”
The eighth annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Shanghai will be held on Thursday, 18 October with a 3:30 p.m. start at the Oriental Sports Center. In anticipation, there’s normally a waiting line for the treadmills at General Electric’s in-house gym.
“Leadership decided to increase the number of treadmills from eight to 12,” Cao said. “There is no better investment than in the healthiness of our people. The location of the Corporate Challenge, being close to the Huangpu River, help the team witness the great and fast changes of the city.”
Nearly 200 companies are expected for the Corporate Challenge next month. Companies that have the largest contingents generally take their cues from senior leadership, and it’s no different at GE. In addition to Cao captaining the GE team, GE Healthcare China CFO Roberto Mello has participated in several Corporate Challenges. GE China CFO Ming Tu is one of the fastest runners on the team, earning dividends from his daily training runs.
And the benefits expand beyond fitness, as GE has the opportunity to strengthen business relationships on-site at the Oriental Sports Center.
“It is a great networking event,” Cao said. “We have brought some of our vendors to the Corporate Challenge.”
Cao ultimately did such a good job selling the Corporate Challenge to his colleagues that GE saw the value in launching its own road race.
“GE Healthcare is one of GE’s biggest industrial businesses in China,” Cao said. “Sharing the same vision and perhaps inspired by J.P. Morgan, GE China also launch the GE Healthcare Charity Run for people who need help from society in 2012, to raise funds for schools in rural area of China, to raise awareness of mammary cancer, and other causes.”
There’s still time to join Cao and GE China at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge starting line. Registration remains open through September 21 at https://www.jpmorganchasecc.com/city/shanghai, or when the full capacity of 8,000 entrants is reached. Please click here for Frequently Asked Questions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 400 8200 421 for registration support.