Friendly Competition Inspires Health, Fun and Charity

Our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices just wrapped up a six-week competition to see which office could complete the most healthy activities in a six-week period. As the winning team, the San Francisco office earned cash and—even more important—bragging rights.

The fun idea came from Ashray Reddy, Initiative Account Manager in the San Francisco office. “We were looking for a fun way to get people engaged and excited about health and fitness. And we wanted to make it flexible enough to meet everyone’s goals—because not everyone is trying to lose weight or run a 10K,” he said. “Just to up the ante, I said let’s have a competition between the offices.”

Overall, he says the goal is to engage people and help them reach their personal goals. “We want to create a support network that people might not have outside. What better way to create that network than with people you see or interact with every day? Personally for me, that’s why I was excited about doing it. It was a way to keep me in check with my fitness goals.”

For Ambreen Punjwani, Commercial Sales Specialist in the Los Angeles office, who led the competition for the LA office, it was about camaraderie and sharing her love of fitness. “I figured this would be a way to bring the office together in a fun and competitive way while increasing awareness about healthy lifestyles,” she said. “Also, I started running last year and completed my first half marathon last November. I thought about the positive impact a healthier lifestyle had on me, and I wanted to share that with everybody.”

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Click photos to enlarge. Left photo: SF office strikes victory poses (Aaron Osgood, Nick Creath, Ryan Groh, Blong Moua, Ashray Reddy, Chelsea An, John Miles and Nirpal Sihota). Right photo: LA office still finished strong. (Pictured: Erin Bayliss, Ambreen Punjwani, Mike Host. Not Pictured: Ann Stacia, Laurel Schuman, Marie Alaniz, Edie Mickey, Angela Ruffin, Eric Reynolds, Ray Spangler, Janine Nielsen, Bret Young, Craig Rutter, Georgina Link)

About the competition

“We constructed a point system to promote healthy activity as well as healthy eating habits and drinking water,” explained Ashray. Participants would earn points for various activities like taking 1,000 steps, running a mile, spending an hour in the gym, drinking water and eating three servings of vegetables. “For the first week, people participated just to get their baseline points. Then every week, you could change that goal. Some people bumped it up by 10 points each week,” he said.

About half of the people at each office signed up and increased their healthy activities as a result. “At the end of every week, we’d compare the average points. As we went along, we got a little more competitive. It’s that heated competition that gets people a little more engaged,” said Ashray. “From week to week, we all upped the number of activities we did that were healthy and bumped up our fitness.”

“The competition between the branches was a huge plus and kept people going. As more people joined, the more encouragement there was and the more motivated people got,” noted Ambreen. “There was some healthy smack talk and lots of support. People would get on the phone and share what worked for them and offer ideas to others.” Like Ashray, Ambreen noticed a difference in her colleagues. “There was a huge impact in a positive way about attitudes and lifestyles. People say they’re still working out, they’ve increased their steps or they’re even just getting outside more.”

Charity wins, too

To keep things interesting along the way, participants who didn’t meet their weekly goals had to put $5 in a pool designated for the winning team. San Francisco decided to donate their winnings to Friends of Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, a nonprofit organization supporting the zoo and its mission to engage children’s curiosity in science and nature.

More competitions to come

Ambreen says there’s excitement for more challenges. “We’re now taking it to a regional level to include the Seattle as well as Denver offices, and hoping to continue quarterly calls with the branches to discuss other ideas,” she said. “This is a great motivator and great way for the remote locations and people within them to work together as a team.”

Ashray wants to make challenges a staple in his office going forward, and he’s always thinking of new ideas. “I wanted to cultivate a competition that ties to the Health Management Program, so everyone’s health insurance premiums go down as well,” he said. “To that end, our new challenge is a 5K challenge—so people can track their steps or their 5K as a Take Action activity.”

We can’t wait to hear what’s next. If your office wants to join in a future challenge, contact Ashray at