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CIOs, get out of your comfort zone

CIOs, get out of your comfort zone

Owen McCall of The Warehouse gets ROI from non-ICT challenge.

After completing a 12-kilometre course that included crossing swamps and crawling under barbed wire, Pat O’Connell and Jonathan Iles are tackling a more difficult terrain. This November, they will climb the four highest peaks in the North Island and encounter snow and ice on the way. O’Connell and Iles who are CIOs, respectively, of Rank Group and its subsidiary Carter Holt Harvey, along with the third member of their team Glenda Mullany of The Tango Group, are doing this to raise money for the The Kia Timata Ano Trust, a women’s refuge in the Rodney district, north of Auckland. Mullany is a board member of the trust.

O’Connell says he and Iles enjoyed the experience and they plan to organise a team from CHH next year. “I think it should be compulsory for everyone to just try and extend beyond where their comfort level is,” he says. “I would advise everyone to do something that pushes them beyond their normal routine. To achieve something worthwhile, whether in support of a cause, or just through challenging oneself to dig a bit deeper, is hugely satisfying. I am thinking of making it compulsory in our businesses!”

In April this year, Owen McCall, CIO of The Warehouse Group, also immersed himself in an endurance course — cycling from Rotorua to Taupo for the 100K Flyer Event in order to raise funds for StepUP, an organisation helping underprivileged teens.

McCall first got involved with StepUP as a coach, and has since invited other Warehouse staff to join him. McCall says he initially wanted to improve his coaching and mentoring skills while giving something back to the community.

However, he says helping at StepUP turned out to be one of his most rewarding experiences and provided him lessons for work and home. “I learnt a lot about how my actions impact others and that while I can not control other [people’s] actions, I can absolutely control mine and by doing this have a positive impact on others.”

As for preparing for the cycling event, McCall says apart from the physical challenge, “getting the time can be a challenge. As a CIO, however you have the luxury of largely being in control of your own diary. I can be flexible with my time so if you are committed to the course there is a way!”

He says there were two main lessons learned from the experience. “Firstly, your body is capable of much more than you think! If you are really committed to something, then make your commitment public. The fundraising was very public. The level of support I received was unbelievable. As a result there was no way out,” says McCall who raised $11,678 online, which exceeded his target of $10,000.

O’Connell, Iles and Mullany, who call their team ‘The TangoThree Blind Mice’, hope to raise $20,000 for the women’s trust. They are halfway through the goal and expect to reach it given the time frame. They post regular updates of their training on the website www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/

The TangoThree Blind Mice and encourage people to follow their progress via Twitter.

To CIOs who would like to take up a similar challenge, O’Connell says, “Get out and get fit before you do it. Training is part of the deal and part of the achievement.”

Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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