Joe Daly | Desjardins Group
A team of 115 Desjardins employees and friends in the Toronto area changed into shorts and Desjardins running shirts after work recently to support the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital.
Led by Michael Manirakiza, Financial Planner - Business Development, in the Voyageurs Credit Union in the downtown Toronto centre, the Desjardins contingent formed an official "mega team" for the September 28th annual Toronto 5K Corporate Run, a fixture on Toronto's running calendar for the past 35 years.
Because of the size of the team and their enthusiasm, Desjardins won The Best Spirit Award at the event.
"I was very proud this year that Desjardins signed on as a sponsor of the run," said Michael." I was also proud that so many employees from our different operations in the Toronto area signed up - from P&C Insurance, Wealth Management, Life and Health Insurance, Corporate Banking, Personal Banking and Card Services. It was a great experience, a lot of fun and all for a very good cause."
Michael noted that some of the runners were competitive, while others didn't care about their finish times but just enjoyed the chance to meet and share the experience with colleagues from other offices while also promoting mental health awareness.
"The run was about more than raising money," said Michael. "It was also about creating awareness that mental health is an important issue, and that it is okay to talk about it and okay for everybody to feel comfortable getting the supports they need in the workplace. It's a message that is closely aligned with Desjardins' mental health support programs."
Michael and many other runners were a bit worried in the days leading up the run as Toronto experienced a prolonged period of record hot and humid temperatures.
"We were lucky - the weather broke the day of the run, from the mid-30s, to a more seasonal high teens. It was a perfect night for a run in the city. I'm already looking forward to next year's event," he added.