Bringing Inclusion to Your Workplace

By Stacey Hengsterman, President & CEO of Special Olympics New York

Corporations, take notice: Special Olympics New York is ready to bring inclusion to your workplace in a fun, engaging way that benefits the community you serve!

It has been a great month for the 3,500 athletes in our Western New York region. Thanks to the support of two power employers, our athletes had the opportunity to share Unified Bocce experiences with staff at Moog Inc. and HSBC. Both of these companies have been cheering and supporting our athletes for the last few years. They recently upped their game by getting into the game.

MOOG, Inc. CEO Pat Roche led his team in three spirited bocce matches on the lawn of MOOG headquarters in Elma, NY, last Monday. Competing alongside Special Olympics athletes as Unified teams, Pat’s group included athlete and motivational speaker Julia Harris, smack talking athlete Bradley Kingston, and yours truly. We took the tournament win as the undefeated champs.

On Thursday at Buffalo River Works, HSBC COO Mike Privitera led employees around the country for two hours of fierce competition and fun. Mike’s team came close to winning it all but in the end they were out-matched by the dynamic duo of Gregory Duval, Regional Executive and Managing Director, and the “King of Threes” athlete Jacob Babcock. In the end, the final tournament win went to Hailey Wilson, one of our Western Region Athlete Leadership Council Members and HSBC’s Michele White, SVP & Senior HR Business Partner.

Throughout both events, company leadership showed their commitment to inclusion by providing Special Olympics NY not only their treasure (over the past three years, we have received more than $100,000 in sponsorship, combined) but also their time and talent. The rave reviews have been pouring in since. Everyone had a blast, and the money donated will help Special Olympics NY ensure that local athletes have all the sports opportunities they deserve this year. The friendships made and barriers broken will undoubtedly last a lifetime for all involved.

Every great partnership starts somewhere. In our case, I would like to give a special shout out to superstars Kathy Brooks, Director of US HR from MOOG, and Jeanne Heinrich, Senior Manager from HSBC. These women planted the seeds of partnership in their companies and this month, we enjoyed the blossoms of their vision.

If you and your company want to follow this great example of bringing inclusion to the workplace while enjoying a little sports competition and meeting some great new friends, Special Olympics NY is here for you. I give you my personal guarantee that our athletes will not disappoint. Reach out to us or message me directly to get started.