Extreme obstacle course for CIOs

Extreme obstacle course for CIOs

A group of ICT executives trekked more than 77 kilometres last week to raise funds for charity.

A group of ICT executives have crossed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing four consecutive times in 29 hours and raised $66,000 for Kia Timata Ano (KTA) Trust, a women’s refuge in the Rodney District.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, physically and mentally,” says Pat O’Connell, CIO of Rank Group. “Turning around after leg three to do the last crossing was almost impossible, but the team spirit and desire to complete what we wanted to do won out.”

O’Connell, fellow CIO Jonathan Iles of Carter Holt Harvey, and Glenda Godfrey, account manager of the Tango Group, led the group of ICT executives that took on the challenge to raise funds for the trust.

The three, calling themselves “Delta’s Three Blind Mice”, were joined by 49 “Mouseketeers” including Air New Zealand CIO Julia Raue, and representatives from companies such as Delta Software, Oxygen, Gen-i, Brother and Equico. The ‘Mouseketeers’ took on as many crossings as they were able.

The involvement of their ICT colleagues “made the event far bigger than the three of us”, says Iles. “Who said IT people aren’t adventurous?”

He says the foundation sponsor, David Gandar, from Delta Software, was quick to commit finances and support. The CEO from one of the Gold Sponsors, Mike Smith of Oxygen (second from left), walked the four crossings.

The Delta’s Mad Mouse Challenge took place on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th November to coincide with White Ribbon Day, the international day where men wear a white ribbon to condemn violence towards women.

The fundraiser follows the successful 2009 Four Peaks Challenge, which saw the "Three Blind Mice” team scale the four highest peaks in the North Island - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, Ruapehu and Taranaki mountains. They raised more than $23,000 for the women’s refuge, and expanded this year's campaign by asking their ICT colleagues to join them.

“It was fantastic to see the industry get in behind the initiative,” says Godfrey, a trustee of the Kia Timata Ano (KTA) Trust. She says the Three Blind Mice are already considering what their next challenge will be in 2011.

“It is a good lesson in how you can always do that bit more, with the right attitude, by being tough, having a worthy goal, and having a good team around you,” O’Connell tells CIO New Zealand.

“It shows that audacious goals can be met and beaten, if there is enough resilience, drive and team spirit,” says Iles. “When we set our original financial targets, we thought we were being far too ambitious – but we blasted through them.”

He notes, “It was surreal to be walking from noon through to sunset over the mountains and to just keep walking through the night and into the sunrise over the same mountains… still walking and walking! During the night crossings we looked like aliens in puddles of light, padding quietly through the darkness in a barren moonscape. It was quite a different day at the office!”

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