It’s a new beginning for Dallas-Fort Worth in Series
DALLAS, October 19, 2022 – Each step along the 3.5-mile race course in Dallas, you could feel the sense of normalcy returning.
“This is one of the most fun things I have done with our team in years,” said Elaine Agather, Chairman of the Dallas Region and Central Region Head at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “People walked; people ran. It was a team, team, team sport. We are back!”
Indeed. After almost a two-decade absence, the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge returned to Dallas-Fort Worth in style. A crowd of 1,286 participants from 36 companies gathered near the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District to celebrate working and staying healthy together, while having fun and supporting a worthy cause.
The Corporate Challenge last appeared in Dallas-Fort Worth on April 7, 2004 when 5,057 entrants from 183 companies came together at Annette Strauss Artist Square in Dallas. That was the end of a consecutive four-year Dallas run that began with events in the West End in 2001-02 and then two years at Annette Strauss Artist Square.
This long overdue return had been delayed an additional two years by the COVID pandemic. The Corporate Challenge was poised to run in Dallas in October, 2020, but sensibly took that year and 2021 off. Local businesses warmed up for the Corporate Challenge during the break with a Virtual event.
When it announced its return to Dallas-Fort Worth, one of the first decisions event owner and operator JPMorgan Chase announced was the plan to make a donation in celebration of the Corporate Challenge to Carry The Load, a 501(c)3 organization that connects people to the sacrifices made daily by our military, veterans, first responders and their families. This decision resonated with the participating companies.
"This is our first year participating in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, which will be a wonderful opportunity to enhance our unique culture," said Dan Meziere, team captain for Atmos Energy, the country’s largest natural gas-only distributor. "We are also thankful that joining the event will lend our support to Carry The Load, because as part of our Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities initiative, we believe in showing our respect and gratitude to our nation’s heroes including our military, veterans, first responders and their families."
A key partnership that could lead to the long-term success for the Corporate Challenge here was forged by the presence of a team of entrants from the Dallas Regional Chamber on the starting line.
“The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) is the leading advocate for business in DFW, but we are also heavily involved in serving the community,” said Eric Griffin, co-team captain for the DRC, along with Meredith Sterling. “Participating in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge will help with our goal of strengthening ties among some of the best companies in Dallas while honoring the service of our friends, family, and colleagues who are veterans. We’re looking forward to the Corporate Challenge becoming a Dallas tradition!”
With the Corporate Challenge having last been in Dallas in 2004, JPMorgan Chase senior leadership spread the word of the return in advance with their key contacts, and the Corporate Challenge mission statement resonated with leadership at DRC.
“A couple of months ago Belen Garren and Claire Riffe from JPMorgan Chase stopped by the DRC office to promote the Corporate Challenge,” said Sterling. “I am familiar with J.P. Morgan as I do all my banking through Chase and Belen is on our Board of Directors, but I had not heard of the Corporate Challenge. I love hearing about the different ways companies give back to their communities and there is a major bonus if I can easily jump in to support that as well.
Helping a fantastic organization, supporting one of our Board members, and involving fitness was a triple win for me! Health and fitness are important to me, and I am excited to be able to incorporate that into an office-wide activity while giving back to the Dallas area community by supporting Carry the Load.”
The Dallas Fort-Worth business community responded also to the all-inclusive nature of the Corporate Challenge, finding it as an event with appeal to potentially their entire workforce.
“Our company, like many others, is comprised of people with various areas of expertise; from people like me in IT and ‘numbers people’ in accounting, to the great communicators of our training department and other team members who should be nominated for sainthood because of their patience working in collections,” said Herb Hayter, team captain and Business Systems Analyst for Crescent Bank. “The Corporate Challenge has afforded us the opportunity to interact with each other more closely than we normally would in our daily roles. With this event, there are no department goals, instead it’s the collective goal of the company to achieve something that cannot be found on a balance sheet or income statement.”
The first male and female runners to cross the finish line in this new Dallas-Fort Worth era were Richard Ho, representing The Palisades Group, in the men’s division with a finishing time of 17:52 (5:06 pace) and Mariah Vichich of JPMorgan Chase in the women’s division with a time of 24:03 (6:52 pace).
Vichich’s victory underscored the hands-on commitment JPMorgan Chase brought to this return. A total of 862 employees from the firm entered.
The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Dallas-Fort Worth had an additional category of individual finishers for the first time. Employees from all companies could register as non-binary and those specific entrants are listed in the Series Leaderboard and are eligible to score in their company’s mixed team results.
And with a successful conclusion of this first chapter, businesses in Dallas-Fort Worth are eager to be a part of a burgeoning Corporate Challenge success story.
“We are proud and honored to be a part of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge,” said Henry Woodruff, team captain for EPIQ Capital Group. “Our ties to J.P. Morgan run deep, with several EPIQ employees, including our President who spent 22-years with the bank, retaining a strong affinity for the Corporate Challenge and the community impact it has. With the opening of our office and expansion of EPIQ Capital Group into Dallas, we are excited to be a part of this tradition moving forward.”
The 2022 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series now packs its bags for the long flight to Australia for the 20th running in Sydney, on Wednesday, October 26, with a 6:30 p.m. local race start at Centennial Park.