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updated: 5/8/2014 7:54 AM

Corporate Challenge an accommodating opportunity for Hyatt employees

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  • Hyatt team members enjoy the 2013 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Grant Park.

    Hyatt team members enjoy the 2013 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Grant Park.

Anjelica Magee

With 548 properties in 48 countries, the Hyatt Hotel Corporation has grown into one of the world's most recognizable hospitality brands. But for associates working in the company's global headquarters on Wacker Drive and in its Chicago-area properties, an event such as the city's J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® offers a unique opportunity.

"Even though we are a pretty big company with 90,000 associates worldwide, our sense of family and community is so strong," said Kiara Harahap, Human Resource Specialist and company captain for Hyatt's team. "I love running with my colleagues and accomplishing something together as a team."

Next month, Hyatt will join a capacity crowd of approximately 650 other corporate teams and 25,000 participants for the 33rd running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Chicago. The 3.5-mile team road race will be held on Thursday, May 22 with a 7:00 p.m. start at Grant Park, leading into the Memorial Day weekend.

"There is a sense of camaraderie that is built through this challenge, not only for Hyatt associates, but for everyone that participates," said Harahap. "It is an engaging, exciting and fun race that also promotes the importance of health and wellness. We look forward to it every year and are excited to get back out there."

Hyatt will be returning to the race and post-event party for the ninth consecutive year. And, it will be fielding one of its biggest teams ever.

"We're hoping to have 100 runners this year and we are close to it. We have 97 runners registered, and we're hopeful that we'll meet our goal," said the first-year captain.

For Hyatt, the Corporate Challenge fits ideally into the company's efforts to improve the health and fitness of its employees, give back to the community, and bring often geographically separated colleagues together to share a unique out-of-the office experience.

"This race definitely helps our colleagues to bond and rally together for a great cause," said Harahap. "It allows them to break down barriers and get to know each other on a different level outside of the office."

Hyatt and the other company teams lining up at the start line in Grant Park this year will be supporting Get In Chicago, a public/private partnership launched last March to address the problem of youth violence in Chicago. J.P. Morgan, on behalf of Corporate Challenge participants, will make a donation to Get In Chicago to provide more mentoring, cognitive/behavioral therapy and parent leadership services this year to more at-risk youth and their families in Chicago.

And, of course, Hyatt is drawn to the Corporate Challenge because it helps the company boost its own initiatives to promote health and fitness.

"Health and fitness is extremely important to Hyatt," said Harahap. "We offer discount memberships to two local fitness facilities, and we also offer shower facilities for those colleagues who choose to bike to the office. We also have an annual Wellness Fair that promotes the importance of staying fit and healthy. Lastly, we have a body fat loss competition called Hyatt's Biggest Winner! This year we are getting support from one of our local health clubs, who will be providing us with exercise regimes of "couch to 5K" that our runners can use for training purposes."

The effort starts at the top at Hyatt at the Corporate Challenge.

"The wonderful thing about this race is that everyone participates -- junior level all the way up to our CEO," Harahap said. "In fact, one year, we had a contest and anyone who beat our CEO's time (Mark Hoplamazian), won a prize!"

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