I had just began my career with Digital Services when I was asked to be the captain of our department’s Movember team. Our team’s involvement in the charity has become a tradition the last few years and I believe my nomination for captain stemmed from the somewhat large beard I had at the time, which I suppose seemed rather fitting. Without hesitation I agreed, not fully understanding what Movember represented.
Upon further research, I learned the Movember Foundation was a global nonprofit charity, founded thirteen years ago. Beyond just focusing on one aspect of men’s health, the foundation strives year round to create a positive change for men, addressing the major issues facing their health; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide/poor mental health.
Although Movember educates year-round, our tradition of involvement is dedicated to their 30-day fundraising challenge every November. Along with collecting donations, individuals on our team are encouraged to grow facial hair for the entire month of November in hopes of turning their faces into a billboard for men’s health. For individuals not blessed with an ability to grow a mustache, individuals can also participate in a month long physical fitness MOVE challenge.
It seems kind of funny to think donning a mustache for a month could cure cancer or reduce the rates of men’s suicide… but it just might. Throughout the month, I was approached by a large number of individuals complementing and asking about my mustache. After having a beard for all of last year, seeing me with a mustache was a constant topic of conversation and often laughter beginning with “why the stache?” I would then take the opportunity to explain some of the problems that are causing so many fathers, husbands, brothers, sons and friends to experience health troubles at a young age. In a few instances, I was able to persuade my friends or family to donate, but most importantly, I had a conversation with them. It was through these experiences that the goal of Movember, starting a dialogue, began to resonate within me. Too many men suffer in silence, starting a conversation is the only way we are going to change the face of men’s health.
So let’s meet the Digital Services Movember Team at Bethesda this year. We also had several other team members participate from our remote offices in Omaha and London.
Below is Phil Schmidt, Senior Director of Digital Services. New to the team, and this was his first Movember. I cannot thank him enough for all his support and participation. Without senior leadership involvement, the fun Movember activities and funds raised would not have been possible.
Next we have Josh Cutter, Senior Content Analyst and all around great guy, although his photos may appear otherwise. This was Josh’s second time participating in Movember.
Up next is Fred Schaub, Senior Manager of Global Strategy. Fred is new to the team as well and new to facial hair. Fred had never let his beard grow out before, when I asked what the hardest part was, he responded no longer being able to kiss his 2-year-old son goodnight, as his son thought his face was too scruffy.
Captain of last year’s Movember team was our Senior Social Media Analyst, Ryan Sanecki. Ryan passed the torch to me this year and set the bar pretty high, raising over $700 dollars last Movember. Ryan was delighted we were able to pull in such a large group of MoBros this time around compared to years in the past. “A good mustache grows every year. And this year’s group was no exception.”
Next on the team was fellow Digital Analyst, Josh Vogel. Josh had never grown out his beard before and sadly was quick to shave it off once the month was over.
Mike Jozaitis, Senior Manager of Digital Strategy, started and captained Digital Services’ Movember team 2 years ago and has been championing the cause since. The first MoBro’s raised $300 dollars for Movember.
I learned a lot this November, a major component being that a mustache is surprisingly pretty hard to maintain. Beards allow a bit of luxury and cost-friendly benefit of not shaving, with a mustache you have to shave/trim daily. Most importantly; fundraising is hard work. I know I would not have been able to do or raise even half of what we did this month without my MoBro Team, so I thank you all.
In total, this year’s Digital Services team raised $1,200 dollars for the Movember Foundation. A number we knew that required a large amount of effort. When first we setting the goal of $1000 dollars, I felt a focus on surpassing last year’s amount of $700 by any dollar amount. Although, our initial campaign started off a little slower than we had hoped, we created awareness through a mid-month “Week of Treats.” Each day, a different team member prepared a homemade treat for the Digital Services team, ranging from salted chocolate s’more truffles, chocolate dipped bananas to chocolate croissants. Continuing the motivation to fundraise and through Marriott’s generosity, we followed up with a Stache Bash pizza party, where we introduced the wonders of Ledo Pizza to some of the non-Maryland Digital Services members. As a final push, we made our way over to a nearby restaurant to host a Movember Happy Hour which landed us over our goal.
Movember was an amazing success this year and if we keep going down the same track it looks like we will reach $1500 next year – and I can’t wait to see it happen.