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Businesses run for good cause

SHANGHAI will join another 12 cities worldwide for the first time to host a race as part of the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Series in October.

It will be the first city in China to hold the 5.6-kilometer race, which is open to full-time employees of corporations.

The Shanghai race is also the first expansion of locations for the event in seven years. The city was chosen as the company celebrates its 90th anniversary of being in China. JP Morgan's history in China began in 1921 with a branch opening in Shanghai.

Shanghai's contribution is part of a global event expected to involve 250,000 runners and walkers from more than 8,000 companies in seven countries.

The woman orchestrating this mega-event is Barbara Paddock (pictured right), the senior vice president of the Strategic Philanthropic Initiatives area at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

She oversees important corporate events, including the annual series of road races in cities around the world. Participants will also raise money for charity.

A native New Yorker and avid runner, Paddock has been in the event marketing business for more than 35 years. In her fifties, she has worked extensively in managing events, including the New York City Marathon and the Westchester Classic golf tournament. Paddock was recently in the city to talk about the race. The Shanghai leg will be held at the Xuhui Riverside at 6pm on October 20.

For the race in Shanghai, Right to Play, a non-profit organization aiming to improve the lives of children in disadvantaged areas using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace, was chosen to be the beneficiary.

Money raised will be used for the implementation of a migrant children social inclusion and development program in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. Applicants have until October 5 to register for the Shanghai event at The entry fee is 100 yuan (US$15.52) per entrant.Q: What was the original purpose of creating the Corporate Challenge back in 1977?

A: My boss at the time said he wanted to create an event that brings back the college spirit but among corporations and businesses, and that's exactly how it started. He had an idea and we were able to develop it into what we see today.

Q: Any unforgettable moments during the fulfilment of your boss's wishes?

A: Well, the first night of the Corporate Challenge in 1977 in New York City was the blackout. Then there was London in 2005. We do two races in London. The first night, it was announced that London's bid for the 2012 Olympics had been successful, and the second night was the 7/7 terrorist attack in London, so we had to cancel the event. That was pretty significant.

Q: So the race went on as usual in New York City despite the blackout?

A: Yes, I wasn't there at the time, but there are runners who still run the event today who were there that night.

Q: How many entrants were present for the first race?

A: Just 200 people from 50 companies.

Q: What is the most important factor in planning a successful event in this multicultural world?

A: I think it's understanding the people, having a good team locally and being able to deal with a lot of different personalities. But what we always maintain is the mission for the foundation of the event. If there are certain things we need to tweak, we do, but ultimately, it's the people who become the important component for success.

Q: What are the standards for sponsorship? For example, why tennis instead of basketball?

A: Well, we're involved in tennis because the US Open is in our backyard, New York City, where we have our world headquarters. It's an international event that has a reach along all our lines of business. When we look at our foundation dollars being invested, we look at it from the mission of our foundation, which is our primary driver, and building vibrant communities where we have businesses and employees. We also look at it from a brand and business standpoint.

Q: Why did you choose to sponsor the Right to Play organization? Will there be any follow-ups?

A: We always pick a not-for-profit - in this case Right to Play - that meets the mission of the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. It meets that mission from an education standpoint. We require submitted budgets, timelines, proposals online and subsequent follow-ups with the year-end reports and results, a procedure that is globally used.

Q: The Corporate Challenge takes place on October 20, but on October 30, another race sponsored by a Japanese company is being held. How do you plan to distinguish your race from others?

A: In every city, there are marathons, there are half-marathons, there are 10km races that are very popular. However, ours is unique in that it's on a weeknight, and targeted to the corporate community, not the individual runner. We hope both events can coexist.

Q: Why is the event scheduled for a weeknight?

A: We've always had the event on a weekday to encourage employees to be together. Saturday and Sunday are family days. Every city has challenges as far as getting to the race site and leaving work early, but because it's so important for companies and the morale of their employees, they usually allow them to leave early.

Q: Corporate social responsibility can be regarded as a very useful way to build brand presence around the world, but on the other hand, it can simply be regarded as a tactic for marketing of the company. Any thoughts?

A: From a CSR standpoint, we're very committed to the community and the programs we will initiate in low-income neighborhoods. We're not necessarily looking for the PR around that, we want to put dollars into sustainable programs; we want to look for partners to work with us; and we look to enhance the living situation of people in these low-income neighborhoods.


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