Team Profile: IBM

Every once-in-a-while we like to learn more about the folks that race UrbaCity – this month, we’re focusing on IBM. For years, IBM has participated with not one, not two, but three Corporate Face-Off teams. Graham Neate tells us a little about his experience with team IBM Three Foxes One Hound.

IBM Teams.UrbaCity 2015
What was your favourite part of UrbaCity in 2015?

“The tubes and marbles challenge at Laurel Point was one of our favourite challenges as a team.  We all really had to be in sync to get it done.  The Segway challenges have been one of my personal favourites in 2014 and last year.

But my own personal highlight from last year was arriving back at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for the final hockey challenge, and seeing an arena virtually empty of competitors, knowing that we were amongst the first teams to complete.  A real improvement from my team’s mediocre result in 2014. Plus it gave us plenty of time to enjoy some pints at Romeo’s prior to the award ceremony!”

Are there special roles in your UrbaCity teams? Do you have fitness people and brainy people, or does everyone do everything?

“We have assigned specific roles in both years we have competed, including someone to call the shots at the brawn challenges, and likewise at the brain challenges.  But all this largely goes out the window during the race, and we just go with whoever has the best idea (or whoever has the loudest voice).  In 2015, I was the designated navigator, but I often found myself chasing after the others.”

Any other companies you’d like to challenge to take on UrbaCity?

“It’s kind of ironic that CGI keeps beating us, since it was my teammate and head of our local office Shelley Gilberg who challenged CGI and other local corporate offices to compete two years ago.  As far as I know, CGI was the only other company to take up the challenge, but we would love to see some of the others — including Telus, Oracle, Sierra, HP, Fujitsu, ITT, Deloitte, PwC, Quartech — to join in.”

You were our top fundraisers in 2015. What motivates you to raise funds for Island Prostate Centre?

“IBM teams have actually been the top fundraisers in both years the Corporate Face-Off has been held — IBM Guaranteed to Succeed in 2014, and my own team IBM Three Foxes One Hound last year.  IBMers give generously every year through our own Employees Charitable Fund, and this is another opportunity to contribute locally to a worthy cause — all of us know we are likely one degree of separation from someone who has had or will have prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Having more than one Corporate Face-Off team representing our office has also turned out to be a motivating factor, as there has been a little friendly competition to finish on top in the fundraising department, including some strategic contributions made in the final hours before the race in both 2014 and 2015 which proved to be decisive.

Last but not least are the Pledge Bonuses and Prizes which come with the higher levels of fundraising. My team earned both the ten minute reduction in race time bonus, and the Challenge skip token.  The token was very valuable to us last year, as we were just spinning our wheels at the challenge at the top of the Yates Street parkade.”

Any tips for other fundraisers out there?

“We start early on fundraising, and there’s a quid pro quo method (some of us go specifically to all the folks we support in their fundraising efforts – Big Bike people, Enbridge ride to conquer cancer, etc).”

In 2015, you finished in 2nd place (just behind team #CGI). What will be your approach to beat team #CGI this year?

“IBM-related teams have finished just behind #CGI in both years of the Corporate Face-Off, and we are definitely hoping that third time is the charm.  Team Panorama, comprised of IBMers and some of our Client colleagues, finished 2nd in 2014 by less than two minutes, and my team IBM Three Foxes One Hound missed out on 1st place last year by about five minutes, which is just about the time we spent stuck on the far side of the Johnson Street bridge when it unexpectedly went up on us!  Maybe the new bridge will go up and down faster, or at least be equipped with teleporters or hyperloop tubes for pedestrians — that alone would be worth the ~$95M price tag, don’t you think?”


  1. Elizabeth Hanan says:

    I did the challenge for the first time last year and it was a great experience. We didn’t win and weren’t even close. After that, I contacted you and suggested we should get some sports teams involved. For example, I think we could get at least 4 people from my dragon boat team on board, to form a team of 4 who are not corporate. And a few other dragon boat teams. There are many sports team around town who would join for sure. Also, how about the firefighters and police and the other emergency people.

    So, how about a category for sport teams? And a category for first responders.

    Could raise more for prostate cancer and although I am female and don’t have one, I have friends who do.

    • UrbaCity says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      That’s a great idea. In fact, we do invite other organizations to sign up for the Corporate Face-Off, even if they aren’t technically a corporation, or even a business. Last year, Island Prostate Centre ran in the four-person Corporate Face-Off, and we’ve been extending invitations to groups like Firefighters, Police Officers, and members of CFB Esquimalt. Don’t let the name hold you back – the Corporate Face-Off is for any group of four that works or plays together.