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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

McGladrey Chicago office donates to Bear Necessities

By Catherine Berta
Chicago, IL

When I first heard about the Chicago office champion role for the firmwide 
Birdies Fore Love program, I could only think about the positives. This program supports children- and family-based charities by allowing participants to pledge by either dollar amounts or per birdie made at The McGladrey Classic. This role was perfect for me! I love helping others in need and was excited to lead my office of 787 employees to really make a difference in our community. With that many employees, just think about the collective impact that we could make on a local charity.  When I was chosen for the role, I was faced with apprehension. I had so many ideas; how was I going to have the time and resources to execute them?

My first challenge was to choose a charity for the Chicago office to support throughout the program. After reaching out to the Chicago office and receiving over 50 suggestions, we narrowed it down to a charity called Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Bear Necessities’ mission is to eliminate pediatric cancer and provide hope and support to those who are touched by it. When I first called Bear Necessities, I was baffled yet comforted by one of the comments that the woman on the other side of the phone said. She said, “We are working to hopefully be unemployed one day.” That comment reassured me that this charity was the right choice.

Next, I needed to communicate the details of the Birdies Fore Love program and the charity selection. Representatives from Bear Necessities assisted me in holding informational sessions with the Chicago office. One of the videos that Bear Necessities showed, in which young children spoke about their pediatric cancer treatments, touched all of us.

An amazing group of 22 employees from the Chicago office formed a committee to help me come up with ideas to raise donations and execute them. And we had a lot of ideas! We had friendly competitions between our four floors to encourage participation, a chili cook-off and manicures in the office. We had an NFL pick ‘em league, an ice cream social and a couple of jeans weeks. I learned a lot from these events, discovering what motivates Chicago employees and what necessarily does not work so well. I met a lot of people too. Whether they were annoyed with my constant emails or not, I think everyone appreciated the effort that was going into the program. I look forward to passing these lessons onto next year’s Chicago office champion.

Filming the PSA in Chicago
A week before the end of the program, there was a PSA filming in Chicago to feature the Birdies Fore Love programs across the country and I got to be on TV! Before we started filming, we had about 20 minutes of hair and makeup to make sure our faces, and bald heads for the guys, weren’t shiny. My lipstick was a lot brighter than I was used to, but was told that the camera would dim it out. I was amazed by the preparation of the scene before we arrived and the adjustments that they made after we arrived. There were dozens of lighting modifications and camera variations for a scene that was only six seconds long! I was honored to represent the Bear Necessities charity by holding a picture of a little girl that was battling cancer.  

The Chicago office raised over $24,000 for Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. We hope that our donation gets Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation employees one step closer to their goal of unemployment.

Thank you to the following McGladrey PSA participants:

Catherine Berta
Katsy Douangvichit      
Karen Wang
John Sweezey
Alex Bauer
Marlon Fortineaux
Nicole Baillie
Juan Barajas
Vivian Myers
Vanessa Kuo
Anthony Reo

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