Empower

Running with Accenture and Nike for Global Accessibility Day

When your employer (Accenture) teams up with your favorite company (Nike) for an awesome cause (Global Accessibility Day with the Challenged Athletes Foundation [CAF]), you know it’s going to be a good time.

On Thursday, May 17, I ran a track workout with Nike’s Global Running Head Coach, Chris Bennett, and Paralympian Scout Bassett with others from Accenture and CAF. No matter the body type or ability, we all ran at speeds that challenged us individually — we owned our own fast.

To be honest, I saw Nike on our internal social media feed through work and knew I had to sign up. I pinged the link to my best work friend, and we were pumped. I miss the days when I would religiously run with Nike Run Club (what? You don’t remember ALL of the photos?!) and Dujon was days away from his half marathon. Oh, and more Accenture t-shirts? Count us in.

I didn’t realize that Chad Jerdee, Accenture’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, lost his leg a couple years ago when a drunk driver hit him head-on. Now, he’s on the Board of Directors with CAF and is the Global sponsor for Accenture’s People with Disabilities Program. He shared his story to give everyone chills before Scout shared her story of how sports and running helped her not only be confident but find a community as a shy, new kid in the country.

Coach Bennett was dropping nuggets of wisdom all night, and I internally kept saying “YAAAAS!” I think I actually snapped when he said, “You know that feeling after a workout when you feel like you can do anything? Those endorphins make you feel like anything is possible. Maybe I’ll go write that book I’ve been thinking about…”

YES. Yes. Yes. He gets me. He’s awesome. He’s also ridiculously fast. (and I look ridiculously goofy in this Accenture gear).

I had so much fun at this event, reminding myself how fitness is so much more than a workout. It’s your perspective on the day and the world, and it empowers so many people to run their own worlds. It’s also incredible knowing that my company is so committed to diversity and inclusion, as well as being what they call “Truly Human.” Kinda like Loyola’s cura personalis.

With Global Accessibility Day, it’s a reminder that everyone has their own challenges. If we help each other out and encourage each other’s success, that energy is contagious. What challenges can we overcome if we support one another?

Afterward, we got dinner with some of the Accenture and Nike teams. How did Dujon and I end up having dinner with Accenture leadership? I’m not fully sure, but are you surprised? We somehow have a knack for finding these opportunities, and I’m so grateful for them. No matter how tired or stressed I am, good conversations (and often heart-to-hearts) with new friends/mentors can truly change your attitude and your outlook.

Thanks, Accenture, Nike, and CAF for this awesome event!

++ Mary K

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