TBI, Advoda, Voda, XO and Smoothstone hope to get others involved in building a healthy channel community through fitness and lifestyle programs.

October 22, 2010

3 Min Read
Agencies, Providers Team to Promote Healthy Channel

By Khali Henderson

Five companies have joined forces to support a new initiative aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in the communications industry channel.

Master agencies Telecom Brokerage Inc., Advoda Communications and Voda Communications and service providers Smoothstone Communications and XO Communications are  supporting the inaugural event, the  Rock n Roll Marathon in Las Vegas on Dec. 5.

Anyone in  the channel community is invited to participate in this event or in future events, said Mike Saxby, chief strategy officer for TBI and the brainchild behind the Healthy Channel initiative. Sign up to be part of the channel group at www.tbicom.com/vegasmarathon. (Full disclosure: PHONE+ has committed to be a media sponsor.)

Saxby, who recently joined TBI after serving as group publisher of PHONE+ for five years, said the idea was the result of a larger goal to build better relationships among companies in the channel outside of the business-focused events such as the Channel Partners Conference & Expo and the carrier partner meetings.

TBI has a long history of doing this with its vendors and subagents with its annual ski trip. Saxby wanted to extend the model beyond his companys partners to include other companies, their employees and even their families.

So why focus on fitness? Saxby said its a personal interest of his (he recently completed his first triathlon), but its also something thats important for everyone.  Its good for the industry and its fun at the same time,” he said.

Its also an activity that lends itself to groups and support systems. Saxby said, not coincidentally, that Patrick Oborn, vice president of marketing of Telarus Inc., was very helpful to him when he trained for his triathlon.

Fitness also has ready-made events in nearly every community that the channel can participate in similarly to Decembers race in Las Vegas. Theres no good reason to do it from scratch,” he said. Its common for people to run in groups.”

For the Vegas run, participants will get jerseys, goodie bags and food as part of the day-of activities, which will be sponsored by XO Communications.

Saxby said he hopes others in the channel will identify events the channel can participate in. He also is hoping to find a neutral third-party to coordinate the activities. For now, Saxby will manage some events and will show others how to do them in their areas. I hope that it grows organically,” he said. Its just starting and its fluid and I dont have a preconceived idea of how this could evolve.”

In addition to the events, theres a focus on teaching budding athletes how to train and diet for best results. More experienced participants will be mentoring newbies much like Oborn helped Saxby.

Already, Saxby is sending out tip-filled communications to participants; the most recent message came from Patrick McCarrick at Voda Communications. But Saxby also is talking to everyone who signs up about their  fitness status and goals to help them make a plan.

Ron Dunworth, president and CEO of Advoda said he plans to take part in the initiative both personally and financially and in any other way that will benefit the health of our industry and the individuals that make it up.”

Advoda advocates a healthy lifestyle for its employees with gym memberships and long lunch hours in which to use them. It also has sponsored quit smoking” campaigns at its office with incentives for success.

I see my role more working with my peers in developing health initiatives for their employees and their families,” Dunworth said. From sharing our experiences in keeping everyone healthy to looking into programs that would benefit agent partners.”

As examples, he mentioned making insurance available for one- and two-person companies.

Advoda is sending 2-4 people to the Vegas event with at least one runner.

We talk about the health of the channel. I believe it should mean more than just business,” Dunworth said. It needs to include plans and programs for the people who actually make up the channel.”


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