Anthem Corporate Run Q&A: Michelle Halye, SUEZ Water Technologies and Solutions
The 13th running of the Anthem Corporate Run is set for Thursday, June 9th at Innsbrook Office Park. The corporate team event is part 5k, part team building, and all fun, and provides a great opportunity for companies to get their teams together to boost morale, inspire change, and have fun, all while being active. Sports Backers caught up with Michelle Halye of SUEZ Water Technologies and Solutions to learn more about their plans for both the in-person and virtual events, why they take part year after year, and how they’ve making it a truly global event.
Sports Backers: Tell us more about SUEZ and the type of work the company does:
Michelle Halye: SUEZ Water Technologies and Solutions is a global organization that offers the most advanced water and process technologies to solve the most complex water challenges worldwide.
SB: What is your role with SUEZ?
MH: I primarily work in the continuous learning team, doing initiatives to improve how we work and to make ourselves more efficient. And I also happen to do event coordinating in the Richmond office.
SB: How long have you been with SUEZ?
MH: I’ve been with the company for seven years
SB: Along with Richmond, are there other locations around the United States and Canada?
MH: Yes, we have locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, Minnesota, Washington State, and in Canada, in Quebec, Montreal, and several in or near Oakville.
SB: How long has SUEZ been taking part in the Anthem Corporate Run?
MH: At least eight years
SB: How does it fit into the company’s overall employee wellness and engagement plan?
MH: It seems to be a really good fit and everyone who participate seems to enjoy it. We do a step challenge leading up to it to get everyone up and moving to prepare. We try to hold events fairly frequently and engage our employees to keep our sense of community, especially since Covid started.
We haven’t had quite as many events in the last couple of years but this one seems to work really well for us, it’s a good thing to get outside and hang out with each other while getting some fitness.
It’s been really successful. In the past, up until Covid, it was pretty much just a Richmond event. It’s only been more recently that we’ve made it a bigger cross-community initiative.
SB: What does the Richmond office have planned for this year’s Anthem Corporate Run on June 9?
MH: This year we’re planning to participate in person in the Innsbrook event, to be able to be together, have a good time, and get a workout in. We’ve already reserved our tent and other items and we’re excited for that, especially since we recently moved into an office in Innsbrook.
This year I think a lot of people are excited to come out and be together, to chat and hang out.
SB: You mentioned it’s a multi-office, multi-location effort for this year. What are some of the other locations doing, even though they won’t be in Richmond?
MH: We had several people sign up from various offices, and the big ones are definitely Montreal and Oakville. The Oakville office happens to have some walking paths around their building so they’re going to use the walking paths during the day and have people do their 5k and self-time it, and then have a lunch afterward to hang out with each other. They also invited family members to come afterward. So that’s nice to have some family involvement as well.
I think we have about 30 in Richmond and 30 out of Oakville doing it. The Oakville people are signing up through Sports Backers to do it virtually and they’ll get together in the office to do the actual walk or run, and get together to hang out afterwards to do it similar to how we’re doing it in Richmond.
SB: Inviting family is an important part of employee engagement, is that fair to say?
MH: Yes, it’s been a tradition in the Richmond office…if your family is happy, you’re more engaged and more likely to attend. So where we can, we try to include families in some of our events.
SB: As far as we can tell, this is really the first time the Anthem Corporate Run is going international because you have offices in Canada taking part. How did this event
capture the attention of your company leadership and associates in those other locations?
MH: A colleague who is our Head of Projects happened to be in Richmond visiting from Oakville not long after our merger with GE in 2017, during the Corporate Run. He’s a runner so he took part and he enjoyed it and noted how much the Richmond office enjoyed it.
Pretty much since the virtual option was introduced, we’ve had people participating in multiple offices around North America.
SB: It seems like holding in-person team building events around the Anthem Corporate Run can help with overall return-to-the-office strategies. How has that planning been playing out for you?
MH: Yes, using this as a way to encourage people to come back can help bring that sense of camaraderie.
That’s one of the things that I’ve always loved about working for this company and in this office, is that sense of family that we really do have. The idea that we care about each other and want to interact with each other…things like the Anthem Corporate Run can help us reconnect. It’s nice.
SB: It’s interesting to hear what you’ve shared so far. Is there anything that you think other companies can learn form your experiences? Any key findings about getting people back together?
It was a struggle to have to move out of the office (at the start of Covid) and now it can be a little bit of a struggle to come back. So I think patience is good. And so is finding ways to make it fun and interesting. If you get people back together and get them seeing each other again, they’re going to want to do that more often, in my opinion. So, patience and make it fun.
SB: What are you most looking forward to about the Anthem Corporate Run on June 9th?
MH: I’m really looking forward to being able to see more people. The only other event we’ve done this year where people came together is Pi Day (March 14). We’re an engineering firm so we have to acknowledge Pi Day.
So, just being able to see people, be out and around individuals, eat some food, chat with people, get some exercise…it will be really nice.
SB: Why do you think other companies should take part in the Anthem Corporate Run?
MH: It’s a fun event that’s a reason to get together, get outside…you know, a lot of corporate events don’t tend to be outside, so that’s nice. It’s interesting to see all the other companies that are participating too. So for some people it is a networking event. And it’s also interesting because usually every year I end up running into former colleagues who now work somewhere else. You get to catch up with them, so it’s nice because it is a lot of other Richmond-based companies that participate. So it’s a networking event, it’s a chance to get outside and unwind and have fun.
And there’s beer. How can you say no?
More information on the Anthem Corporate Run, including schedule and registration details, is available at www.sportsbackers.org/events/corporate-run/.