Jody Wilkins is an Internal Communications leader in the Human Resources department at Concur. In addition to his regular day-to-day activities, this year he took on a massive side project that he's very passionate about. When Jody asked himself Steve Singh's inspiring question "What should the world look like?" it lead him on a path toward community giving, team building and multiple sclerosis awareness. Here's Jody's story of preparation, aspiration and determination on the way to Bike MS. I started working at Concur in September 2008. The US economy was skidding over a cliff, and companies were unsure whether they should brake hard, steer into the spin, or simply close their eyes and brace for impact. The wreckage was in papers daily and would be for a while. At Concur, a hiring freeze went into effect just three weeks after I was hired. My role in human resources might not exist if the interview loop had contained one more ring. It was around this time that I first met our CEO Steve Singh. He addressed a department-wide meeting to give us an update on Concur’s performance during that tough time. For those of us who had experienced the Internet boom-and-bust of 2001, and were accustomed to carrying our resumes around on thumb drives in our pockets, those meetings usually indicated that things weren’t going to end well. Steve entered the room that day in a way I've come to recognize – quietly, and with a sense of purpose. He stood in front of us and gave us the numbers, as leaders do in times of uncertainty. But then he did something quite unlike the rock star CEOs I had worked for in the past. He turned a chair around, sat down facing us at eye level and said, "Look. The country is in the middle of a Category 5 hurricane. Concur is in a position to withstand Category 6. Our plan is to hit the gas." That’s when I knew I had come to the right place. At Concur that’s what we do. We face tough challenges with preparation and aspiration. We have the collective determination of a group of individuals that never stops asking themselves, as Steve does, "What should the world look like?" And once we have the answer, we go do it. Last September on 10 days' notice, Steve, along with our CFO Frank Pelzer and co-founder Mike Hilton decided to ride the MS 150. That's a hundred and fifty mile bike ride to benefit those living with multiple sclerosis. He let Concur employees know and together they ended up making Steve the single largest donor in 2013. I drove up and took a few pictures because I thought it was nice.
It wasn't nice. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. Teams of riders doing what they love, with people they love, for someone they love who lived or is living with an unpredictable, often debilitating disease. People you know, people you work with, people you are related to. When Steve saw the teams of riders in their company jerseys he started to ask me, "Wouldn't it be great if...?" and I knew how to fill in the rest. Concur Bikes MS So that's the plan: At least 100 riders wearing Concur blue on September 6 in Mt. Vernon, Washington. We have a goal to raise $100,000 dollars. Today we have 87 registered riders and have raised $25,553. And we’re facing this challenge together, with the same preparation, aspiration and determination that we face all challenges. Because until there's a cure for MS, and as long as there are people willing to ask "How should the world work,?" the least the rest of us can do is put on a jersey and ride. You are invited to come ride with us, donate to a rider on our team, or hang out in the Concur tent.