T his past weekend, Beeline colleagues participated in several competitions and philanthropic events in Jacksonville, including the YMCA First Coast Games, the Hope Haven Family Fun Day, and the Toastmasters District Spring Speech Contest.

Beeliners are definitely springing into action this season, and we feel that they certainly deserve a shout-out for all of their accomplishments.

Beeline Colleagues Take First Place in YMCA’s First Coast Games

Each year, the YMCA sponsors the First Coast Games, which is an event that challenges the community to become healthier. Local businesses compete against each other in a variety of games, including softball, flag football, tennis, soccer, dodgeball, kickball, bowling, volleyball, and basketball. The games run throughout the summer and the YMCA is generous enough to offer a free two-month gym membership to those individuals who compete. Beeline is a pioneer of the First Coast Games and has competed every year since the games began. By both competing in the games and serving as a sponsor for the YMCA, Beeline has become a valued part of this event. 

To kick off the First Coast Games, the YMCA organizes an Opening Ceremony, complete with field day activities, health assessments, and lots of family fun. Beeline had its best turnout to date, with over 40 Beeline colleagues, friends, and family members attending. The YMCA awards points to companies based on their involvement and participation. In true Beeline fashion, our colleagues volunteered to arrive early to help the YMCA set up tents for all of the companies that participated. Between the volunteer work and this year’s participation by two executive team members – Autumn Vaupel (COO) and Raluca Thiers (CFO) – Beeline received several bonus points.

 

The Opening Ceremony starts with a banner parade; the YMCA encourages all of the participating companies to create a banner that represents the company’s spirit. Beeline spent several weeks constructing two signs – one that listed some of Beeline’s core characteristics (reliable, powerful, focused, leader, spirited, talented, and healthy) and another that listed the games that Beeliners participate in every year (softball, football, soccer, tennis, volleyball, dodgeball, and the 5K run). The creative minds at Beeline strategically lined up the words so that the two signs spelled out BEELINE FOREVER. Beeliners proudly paraded these signs around the field, winning first place in the Company Spirit Banner Contest!

The rest of the Opening Ceremony consisted of field day events, including an over/under relay, hula-hoop relay, water balloon toss, a three-person slingshot, and even tug of war. Beeline’s 2014 team captain, Michael Goolsby, thoroughly enjoyed the festivities. He often sat out of many of the events so that other Beeline colleagues could participate. “My favorite part of the Opening Ceremonies was just watching everyone enjoy themselves — from Marvin doing jumping jacks to us all pulling together in the Tug of War, everyone had a great time on a beautiful day,” Goolsby said.

Of course, the First Coast Games offers so much more than athleticism and competition. Goolsby reflects on the teamwork involved, and how this event builds relationships among colleagues, stating, “The First Coast Games allows colleagues to participate in events with other colleagues where they may not have otherwise had the chance to. Those from cross departments find themselves on the same team, pulling for each other, learning new challenges. This only makes relationships at work that much better and that much more comfortable. This event is just another example of what makes the culture here at Beeline so great.”

Beeline Revs up Hope Haven Family Fun Day with Prince Pele’s Polynesian Revue

 

Hope Haven Children’s Clinic and Family Center, a nonprofit organization that serves children, young adults, and families with a variety of educational, developmental, and mental health needs, is one of Beeline’s flagship charities. Along with other organizations, Beeline sponsors the Hope Haven Family Fun Day. It is a day full of activities such as train rides, bungee jumping, bounce houses, arts and crafts, sports, healthy snacks, music, entertainment, excitement, and education celebrating children of all abilities.

Every year, three of Beeline’s employees – Bles Fuata, Steven Fuata, and Renee Loyola – volunteer and provide the entertainment for the event. Decked out in grass skirts, coconuts, and ukuleles, these Beeliners are members of Prince Pele’s Polynesian Revue, a Fuata family business. Bles Fuata, Training and Development Coordinator at Beeline, says, “My favorite part is seeing the children and their families get up on stage to learn the hula and become educated on the culture of the various islands of Polynesia from my family. It is always rewarding to see our own children (ages 8 to 13), who perform in our family Polynesian show, interact with the children of Hope Haven.”

 

You can always find our President, Doug Leeby, at this event. He is very passionate about this charity, stating, “We are blessed to be able to provide joy and laughter by sponsoring entertainment by Prince Pele’s Polynesian Revue.” Before we all left for the weekend, Leeby encouraged all of us to “show your support for both Hope Haven as well as your fellow Beeliners who will risk their lives playing with fire and exposing their coconuts to the daunting Floridian sun! Support a great cause, have some fun, and root on your friends!” In fact, he even took the time to pose with Veronica Fuata (Bles’ sister and wife of Steven Fuata), Steven Fuata, Renee Loyola, Bles Fuata, and John Fuata (Father of Bles and Veronica, also known as “Prince Pele.”)

Beeline Colleague Richard Haller Places Third in District Toastmasters Speech Contest

Beeline is lucky to have a Toastmasters International Club in the Jacksonville office, which allows members to practice the skills they need to improve their self-confidence, leadership acumen, speaking effectiveness, and listening skills. At Toastmasters, members learn by speaking to groups and working with others in a supportive environment. Members offer each other constructive criticism as they practice conducting meetings, giving impromptu speeches, and presenting prepared speeches.

On Saturday, one of Beeline’s most talented Toastmasters members, Richard Haller, participated in the Toastmasters District 84 Division F Spring Speech Contest and placed third in Table Topics for the entire district! For those who are unfamiliar, Table Topics are random questions or speech topics and participants respond by delivering a one- to two-minute impromptu speech. This anxiety-ridden tradition is all about helping members develop the ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question. It is something we all do in every day, simple conversation, but is quite challenging when standing at a lectern in front of a crowded room of people who are all staring at you!

 

Tony Pittman, Beeline’s current Toastmaster president, is delighted for Haller, beaming, “Rich has made great strides since joining Toastmasters and we are very proud to have him representing Beeline at this level.” Beeline President Doug Leeby agreed, and when Haller returned to work on Monday, Leeby congratulated his accomplishment, exclaiming, “Wow! That is no small feat and takes tremendous courage and poise. Well done, Richard! I am incredibly proud of you and you represented your brothers and sisters of Beeline so well.”

If you’re ever in the Beeline office, you’ll notice that Haller’s desk is decorated with a plethora of ribbons and trophies from Toastmasters events. His favorite thing about Toastmasters, however, is the fellowship and camaraderie he experiences at these events, saying, “I enjoyed competing with others on stage while my mentor (Tony Pittman), fellow Toastmaster (Jennifer DiMattia), and my wife (Denise Haller) cheered me on! Being able to share the day with great people makes it all worthwhile!”

As you can see, April 26 was a busy, yet meaningful day for Beeline colleagues. Between these three events, over 50 Beeliners, friends, and family members chose to participate in activities that were mutually beneficial for both themselves and the community. Embracing teamwork, philanthropy, and professional development on a sunny Saturday in Florida — it’s the Beeline way.

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