of POMCO Group gather for a photo in front of their tent prior to the
2009 Chase Corporate Challenge at Onondaga Lake Park.
Syracuse Chase Corporate Challenge reaches
to the core of values at POMCO Group
SYRACUSE, May 25, 2010 — On the POMCO Group website, a picture of Chase Corporate Challenge team member Denise Clark smiles back at readers. What is striking about the photo is that Clark accessorizes her business apparel with a pair of running shoes dangling around one of her shoulders. The combination makes her an engaging symbol not only of the values looked on as essential at POMCO, but also of the Corporate Challenge, which promotes fitness in the workplace.
On June 22, POMCO and Clark will once again converge directly with the world's largest corporate running series when they join thousands of other participants from hundreds of businesses at the 28th running of the Syracuse Chase Corporate Challenge at Onondaga Lake Park. (Registration remains open.)
“She is an amazing member of our POMCO Group “family,“ said Company Captain Jeff Bater.
One of the nation's largest independent professional benefits managers for self-insured medical, workers' compensation and disability benefit plans, POMCO has participated in the Corporate Challenge for many years. However, its teams got a big lift when Bater became the Company Captain. In six years, he has taken a relatively small team of 20 members to a much bigger presence.
“My goal,“ he said, “was doubling participation each year. I don't have an extensive running background, but my ability to motivate and encourage people led me to being our company's team captain. Out of almost 400 employees, and actually only about 350 who work here in Syracuse, last year we had over 100 participate. That is over 25 percent participation.
“Our team consists of people across all levels of the company and throughout every department and division, from claims processors and department managers to client account managers, on up to VPs and our President and CEO Bob Pomfrey,” added Bater. “The Corporate Challenge has been a great way for all of our employees, across titles and the divisions, to get together outside of work.”
For this year's race, POMCO appears on its way to perhaps its largest team ever, which, Bater says, fits into the team-oriented philosophy in the close-knit workplace at the company.
“The Corporate Challenge is an opportunity for us to build our POMCO Group ‘family,’ so it is not difficult for us to garner participation,” Bater said. “POMCO Group covers the majority of each participant's entry fee because the Challenge directly ties into our commitment to our employees, our community, and our wellness events.”
It starts at POMCO, said Bater, with the company's six “Core Values.”
“Our Core Values are very important to us and everything we do is based upon them,” said Bater.
Denise Clark takes an optimistic, dedicated approach to running and business.
Which is where Clark literally enters the picture.
Her business suit/running shoe photo symbolizes the POMCO Group core value that “optimism, determination and dedication are fundamental to success.”
“Whether at work or play, Denise Clark takes a methodical, consistent approach to reach her goals,” says the website.
Adds Clark, Director of Claims Operations and Customer Service at POMCO: “It's all about forward motion. I stay focused on where it is that I want to go and just keep moving. I may not always get to the finish line following the exact path or timing originally planned, but I always get there.”
And, the Corporate Challenge has a special place in her running career, she said.
“The Chase Corporate Challenge was the first road race I ever ran back in the mid-90s,” she said. “I was working for a previous employer at the time, but that began my love affair with racing.”
Taken together, the six Core Values reflect a respect for individuals within a family environment that emphasizes teamwork.
“The Core Values accurately reflect who we are as a company,” said Bater. “They detail the importance of our employees and how their work experience directly translates into a positive experience for our clients and customers. Our success is certainly a group effort.
“We find that by giving people a chance to accomplish a goal as a team, it serves as a bonding experience giving them all a shared experience,” added Bater. “The bonding experience is carried from the Corporate Challenge into the work environment, leading to more natural and efficient working relationships. In other words, it strengthens our “family.“
And, the Corporate Challenge resonates within the POMCO “family” each year.
“We participate in many events in the community, but few excite and motivate our employees like the Corporate Challenge,” said Bater. “The Corporate Challenge is a great opportunity for employees to participate in a fun event after the rigors of a work day and it is an easy way to reinforce the importance of healthy lifestyles.”
Which has an impact on people's lives.
Keisha Jackson, Manager of the Dental Claims Department, is one example.
“I can't say that it has inspired me to make lifestyle changes, but it has inspired me to “get back on the horse,“ Jackson said. “It has definitely inspired me to be a part of a cause, yearly. It has also given me the opportunity to spread my “I AM POMCO“ love.“
The impact on Sarah Garvey may be even more profound.
“My first Corporate Challenge was five years ago,” Garvey said. “It happened to be two months after my gastric bypass surgery. This was my first race I had ever completed! I have since kept off 130 pounds. The Corporate Challenge was my inspiration to keep walking.“
And that goes to the core of working at POMCO, as well as the goals of the Chase Corporate Challenge in Syracuse.