Slade Gorton made two trips to the awards stage at the 2006 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Boston. Kim Gorton, company president and COO, reacts to cheers from her teammates as she heads to the stage to pick up her Tiffany award for fastest Female Most Senior Executive. In inset photo, Company Captain Maureen Taylor and Mike Gorton, chairman and CEO, receive T-shirt award.
Slade Gorton hooked on Corporate Challenge
as healthy, team-building company event
Slade Gorton team members gather for a photo at the company's loading docks in 2007.
BOSTON, May 8, 2008 – When Slade Gorton won an award for its creative T-shirt at the 2006 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Boston, it was the result of a true company effort.
“We got everybody involved,” said Human Resources Manager and Company Captain Maureen Taylor. “This went out to everybody in the company. Anyone could suggest a theme, and, one person came up with an idea, then another said ‘That's great. Let's add this and do it this way.' ”
It all came together on a warm June evening at Boston Common when Taylor joined Mike Gorton, the company Chairman and CEO, on the awards stand to accept the T-shirt award and a donation made on the company's behalf by JPMorgan Chase to a charity of their choice. Moments later, Kim Gorton, the company's president and COO, was on the same stage accepting a Tiffany trophy as the fastest female most senior executive.
If you get the idea that family and team building are important themes for Slade Gorton and its four-year involvement in the Boston Corporate Challenge, you're right on track. A widely recognized New England brand begun when Thomas Slade Gorton, Jr. founded his company in 1928, Slade Gorton & Company, Inc., continues today as a family owned business with second and third generation Gortons on the staff. But this family enterprise has been so successful that no one questions its ambitious, trademarked slogan: “The Finest and Widest Line of Seafood Anywhere.”
The slogan just fits. As does Slade Gorton's team-building philosophy at the Boston Corporate Challenge.
Slade Gorton not only enters the Corporate Challenge as a team, it also travels to the race as a team. Clad in the company designed T-shirt for the year (the 2008 model likely will be a green shirt with a “green,” environmental theme, said Taylor), the two dozen members, including Mike and Kim Gorton, walk to the MBTA station, take public transportation, and arrive en masse at Boston Common.
“No one drives a car (to the race),” said Taylor.
To fuel the team and further promote team building, members are treated to a spaghetti fest in the seafood company's test kitchen the day before the race. And, of course, lifting a beer or two after the race has become a company tradition.
“It's all about having fun,” said Taylor, who added that the Corporate Challenge is the largest event in which she has run.
“It's a really friendly race,” she said. “We're not chipped (equipped with computer chips to record times) so it's more friendly. People are commenting on each other's T-shirts while we're running. And all different ages from all different companies and fitness levels take part. It's a nice team building atmosphere.”
Taylor pushes the team building atmosphere even further at Slade Gorton, passing out badges that not only include a member's name, but also the department in which he/she works.
“We literally have people from sales, IT, upper management... you name it,” she said. “This is a great way for them to mix outside of the office.”
Included on this year's team are experienced runners such as CFO Mike Smith, who ran his first marathon in April at Boston. Smith is now shifting to the challenge of running a faster pace over 3.5 miles and hopes to meet race spokesperson Bill Rodgers, a four-time Boston Marathon winner and New England running legend. But, Taylor also encourages first-time entrants.
“We're constantly telling people you don't have to be intimidated by 3.5 miles or by this race,” Taylor said. “So, we are getting some ‘walk-runners,' who will run a bit, then walk, then perhaps run again. I think that's great.”
And, of course, in Slade Gorton's case, there is the example at the top. Mike Gorton will be running again. He'll be 75 this year and shows no signs of slowing down.
“He believes in exercising the mind and body,” said Taylor.
He again will be joined by daughter Kim, who hopes to reclaim her Most Senior Executive title.
It's all part of a team building effort by Slade Gorton that just fits at the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Boston.