The Rider

November 8, 2010

Standing Out In The Crowd

Filed under: Pelotonia News — Tags: , , — The Blog @ 6:22 AM

The colorful pink-and-blue Limited Brands peloton numbered about 200 strong during this year’s Pelotonia … and raised more than $750,000.

But this is just the start, promised Stuart Burgdoerfer, the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer – and captain of the Limited Brands peloton.

“We’re proud and feel very good about what we did, we made a lot of progress from the first year (2009) when we had about a dozen riders,” Stuart said. “But we plan to raise even more money next year.”

Fighting cancer is a professional and personal passion for Stuart, whose wife, Laney, is a breast cancer survivor.

“She was treated at The James and we’re very grateful,” he said. “My family has been touched with a lot of cancer, sadly, and there have been some good stories and some not-so-good stories. I get emotional talking about it.”

Everyone has been touched by cancer and this, Stuart said, is why the Limited Brands is so committed to Pelotonia.

“Very simply, I would say being involved in Pelotonia is a huge emotional benefit, the emotional satisfaction of making a difference,” he said.

The company’s team also included about 200 virtual riders and 100 volunteers.

The Limited Brands Foundation is one of Pelotonia’s Funding Partners, along with Huntington Bank and Richard and Peggy Santulli. Each will donate $500,000 a year for five years, which adds up to $1.5 million per year – and a total of $7.5 million. This is what makes it possible for every dollar raised by our riders to go directly to cancer research at Ohio State.

The Limited Brands commitment, Stuart said, starts at the top, with CEO Les Wexner.

“Les is a very competitive guy and he doesn’t like being number two or three,” Stuart said of the Limited Brands peloton, which wasn’t as large as the team from Huntington. “He’s shooting for number one and not just because it’s a competition, but because the cause is so important to Les and (his wife) Abigail.”

This seems like a competition in which there are only winners – and one that should inspire other companies and riders to become part of the Pelotonia community.

The Limited Brands set up stationary bikes in the lobby of its HQ building to help recruit riders

“We did a lot of things to really get everyone’s juices flowing and spread the word,” Stuart said of the company’s strategy to attract riders and volunteers in 2010. This included stationary bikes in the lobby of the headquarters building, organized training rides, brown bag lunches to talk about bike-related subjects and a trip to The James to see where the money they raise will go.

“That created a very strong connection to what Pelotonia is all about,” Stuart said of the visit.

Participating in Pelotonia was a positive for the employees of the Limited Brands – and helped the company as a whole.

“All organizations need a fabric, a culture that brings you together and strengthens the fabric of that organization,” Stuart said, adding the Pelotonia-related programs, training rides and actual ride in August did exactly this for Limited Brands.

Employees who had never met, had the chance to get to know one another and ride together … and many told Stuart that training for Pelotonia helped them break the sedentary cycle in which they’d become trapped.

Stuart and Limited Brands will soon start gearing up to recruit team members for Pelotonia 2011 – and come up with the design for a new jersey. With the company’s reputation for a keen sense of fashion and cutting-edge style, a “wow” jersey is crucial.

“Yes, there’s a desire to have a cool jersey,” Stuart said. “I know a lot of people did one of two things, they mimicked the Pelotonia jersey or put a design on a white background. We wanted to do something different, something that will stand out.”

The Limited Brands pink-and-white jersey certainly did stand out in the crowd … and we can’t wait to see what the company’s ever-growing peloton of committed riders will be wearing in August.

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