issue 022, 2023 q3

Community spotlight

Colleagues around the globe support worthy causes one step at a time

The proverbial journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. The same is true of a 5K walk or a 13-mile run. When covering those distances is part of a larger effort to support worthwhile charities, every stride is imbued with meaning. Sedgwick’s athletic and community-minded colleagues around the world can appreciate that better than most.

For more than 50 years, Sedgwick has operated as a values-driven company. Giving back to the communities in which we operate is part of our DNA. In addition to the company’s charitable partnerships and contributions to nonprofit organizations that align with our four giving pillars — education, well-being, social services and sustainability — we welcome opportunities to celebrate and amplify the amazing work our colleagues do to give back to their communities. (This is the premise behind our community champions program, which was recently featured in edge 21 and on our blog.)

One meaningful way many colleagues get involved is by joining charity-based fundraising walk/run events. This kind of participation reflects not only a commitment to health and wellness — physical, mental and otherwise — but also our colleagues’ belief in Sedgwick’s core values, caring counts philosophy, giving pillars and environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts.

Please join us in celebrating the personal journeys of four Sedgwick colleagues — based in different corners of the globe — to cross the finish line for their chosen causes to benefit the greater good.

Bárbara Vázquez
claims handler, Madrid, Spain
Carrera de la Mujer race for women

On Mother’s Day 2023, Vázquez joined the pink tide of more than 32,000 female runners participating in Carrera de la Mujer’s Central Lechera Asturiana May 7 race for women in Madrid. This marked Vázquez’s eighth consecutive year participating in the race.

The 7.2-km run raises awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer, as well as supports education surrounding gender violence and social and educational inequities affecting women. It also promotes the regular practice of healthy lifestyle habits and women’s inclusion in sports.

The annual run is a national circuit, with nine separate race events held in cities across Spain. It’s the largest women’s sporting event anywhere in Europe! All participants wear bibs sporting the number 016, which is the untraceable telephone hotline those in Spain affected by gender-based violence can use to seek support.

“It is a very emotional experience, as we run only with other women in pink T-shirts through the streets of Madrid,” Vázquez said. “And we are all running for the same important causes.”

Through her years of participation and community involvement, Vázquez believes she reflects Sedgwick’s core values — especially inclusion, collaboration and growth. She has an affinity and dedication for the cause of breast cancer awareness, and she translates it into tangible action year after year.

“It means a lot to me because it represents a human project for researching this disease and making advancements in its treatment,” she said. “These funds are very important for the researching of this illness. It will have a huge impact on the community.”

Lisa Mulcahy
colleague onboarding coordinator, Brisbane, Australia
Running for Premature Babies 5K walk

Mulcahy and several other Sedgwick colleagues participated in a 5K walk held at the June 4 Brisbane Marathon Festival. The event sought to raise money for the Running for Premature Babies Foundation (RFPB).

Years ago, Mulcahy read “Sophie’s Boys,” a book chronicling one woman’s arduous journey giving birth to three premature sons. Each of the babies ultimately passed away in their mother’s arms due to related complications. Sophie Smith, the book’s author, went on to establish RFPB, a nonprofit dedicated to funding life-saving neonatal equipment and research surrounding the many mysteries of prematurity. RFPB has helped more than 9,000 premature babies in Australia since 2007.

Mulcahy was surprised how little she knew about premature babies before this; she read the entire book in tears. After finishing, she felt compelled to get involved.

Four years ago, Mulcahy was the sole Sedgwick colleague participating in the annual walk, but that has since changed. This year — Mulcahy’s fourth consecutive time participating — she walked with a fellow colleague who had given birth to her first daughter prematurely at 30 weeks. Together, the Sedgwick delegation raised AU$2,200, exceeding their target by AU$200.

“We now have multiple Sedgwick families that have experienced the surprise of a premature birth and have benefited from the lifesaving equipment purchased by RFPB,” Mulcahy said.

Among other critical services, funds raised will support RFPB’s NeoRESQ vehicle and neo-return service, a lifesaving program launched in 2020 to transfer babies to hospitals closer to home once they are well enough.

Mulcahy not only holds Sedgwick’s core values close — she chooses to live by them.

“It’s important to show empathy by clearly caring for those around us in need,” Mulcahy said. “And accountability, where we are conscious of assisting those in our community where we can.”

Jonathan Mast
director, digital strategy, Overland Park, Kansas, USA
Spencer & Sedgwick 5K Fun Run

On May 2, 2023, Mast participated in the 5K Fun Run — a Sedgwick-sponsored event held at the RIMS Riskworld conference in Atlanta, Georgia — to raise money for the Spencer Educational Foundation.

This marked Mast’s eighth consecutive Fun Run, his first being the inaugural event in 2015. Each year, the run takes place in-person (as well as virtually in recent years) during the RIMS annual risk management conference and exhibition, which includes more than 10,000 global attendees and 300 presenters.

Years ago, Mast worked with a former Sedgwick colleague to see the event to fruition. The two were passionate about running and would go for jogs together on their lunch break.

During that time, Mast’s colleague — a healthy, fit and active man not yet 30 years old — experienced a stroke and other complications requiring heart surgery. Two years into his recovery, he expressed his readiness to run again and soon afterwards completed the Chicago marathon.

Fast forward several years: At a RIMS conference in Denver, the two exchanged ideas on ways to incorporate fitness into the event — resulting in an informal, impromptu 5K for attendees who sought to exercise. It evolved over time, until Sedgwick joined forces with the Spencer Educational Foundation as part of a larger partnership to support opportunities for the insurance and risk management leaders of tomorrow.

Now, eight years later, the annual Fun Run continues to grow. With 150 participants in 2023, the 5K raised nearly $150,000 to fund scholarships for college students aiming to pursue careers in risk management-related fields.

“The aspect I like most about it is that this event truly does bring everyone together,” Mast said. “That’s what makes it special.”

Following a 1999 cancer diagnosis and subsequent health battle, Mast began his running journey just before he turned 40, on his fifth anniversary of being cancer-free. His goal was to run a marathon. Twenty years later, Mast is known for his dedication to physical fitness. He has run four marathons, 15 ultra marathons, the crossing of the Grand Canyon, the Bigfoot 100K at Washington’s Mount St. Helens and too many 5Ks to count.

“As part of our business, we promote the understanding that our physical health has a direct correlation to our mental health and well-being,” he said. “Whether it’s a Sedgwick colleague or a client, the more we can be healthy and move, the better off we are — all of us.”

Hannah Preedy
home investigator, London, UK
Alzheimer’s Society Trek26

On July 15, 2023, Preedy was part of a 13-mile trek in Cheltenham, England benefitting the Alzheimer’s Society. The organization annually holds a series of 26- and 13-mile runs and walks across eight breathtaking UK locations to raise money for dementia research. Every step provides help and hope to those affected by this debilitating condition.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive nerve disease that damages key parts of the brain and results in memory, language, thinking and reasoning problems. Dementia describes the range of symptoms that show the brain has Alzheimer’s and other related diseases. They are often referred to as a “silent killer” due to few people realizing the scale of their reach.

Preedy has experienced this firsthand. She lost her father and grandmother to this cruel disease within a month of one another in 2012. Her mother, who had done a midnight charity walk up Snowdon Mountain in Wales years ago, asked if she would join her in participating in this year’s Trek26.

“Taking part in Trek26 with my mom was a rewarding experience and one that I will never forget,” Preedy said. “It was emotional knowing everyone was there for a reason, having likely lost someone or knowing someone with dementia.”

So far, Trek26 has raised £95,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society. Through their participation, Preedy and her mom walked 13 miles together and raised more than £1,200 for the cause. She feels fulfilled knowing the funds will positively impact local communities by assisting people experiencing dementia and those who care for them, in addition to funding vital research into this disease.

Dementia has been Britain’s leading cause of death for the last 10 years. The fundraising walks/runs, along with the Insurance United Against Dementia initiative (of which Sedgwick is a proud partner), support the Alzheimer’s Society’s vow to end the devastation caused by dementia.

We thank Jonathan Mast, Lisa Mulcahy, Hannah Preedy and Bárbara Vázquez for sharing their stories and for all they do in their communities to show how caring counts.