Global Relay made a $1 million, five-year commitment to resurrect the long tradition of cycling in Gastown in 2012 by restoring a much beloved event that had not run since 2008 for lack of sponsorship. Global Relay’s revival of the race has delighted cycling fans, athletes and the City of Vancouver. Upwards of 30,000 spectators now line the streets of Gastown every July to witness the exhilarating cycling action of the
Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix.
Through Global Relay’s various sporting, charitable and volunteerism initiatives, we hope to make a true positive impact where we live, work and play.
Global Relay was honored to receive the 2013 Technology Impact Award (TIA) for Community Engagement in recognition of outstanding corporate citizenship and community impact.
Take a look below at just a portion of the initiatives that Global Relay is involved in:
Since 2012, Global Relay has donated the funds used to purchase helmets for the annual Tour de Coast, one of four BC Cops for Cancer cycling events that raise funds and awareness for cancer research.
In 2012, Global Relay provided $400,000 to launch the Global Relay Bridge the Gap Fund, a cycling development initiative for up-and-coming Canadian riders, designed to bolster the transition between the worlds of amateur and professional cycling. Headed by a team of top Canadian cyclists, the program provides much-needed funding, mentorship, coaching, and equipment to help select riders (aged 18-25) reach their national and Olympic goals.
Every year, Global Relay takes part in a food and toy drive to benefit the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Last holiday season, we exceeded our goal and donated fifteen 25kg boxes of non-perishables and toys that made their way to families in need throughout Vancouver!
Once a month, Global Relay provides home-cooked meals to kids and their families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of BC. Global Relay covers all costs, while employees volunteer to cook, clean, and visit with the families.
Global Relay sponsors a team in the The Vancouver Sun Run, an annual race that promotes physical health and supports a variety of local charities. The Global Relay team grows in size every year and in 2013, the team placed 7th out of 75 among local high tech companies!
As a part of our Women In Technology initiative, Global Relay is a founding partner in The Minerva Foundation Award for BC Women in Digital Media, which supports women enrolled full-time in Simon Fraser University’s Master’s program in digital media. Global Relay contributes $1,000 annually towards the award, matched by SFU.
Five Hole for Food is a nationwide tour that aims to use street hockey as a vehicle for social change by partnering with local food banks and raising food, funds, and awareness. Global Relay joined the action in 2013 and collected over $700 and loads of canned goods in just a few days!
Global Relay donates to Plan Canada benefitting children, families and communities in developing countries. The most recent donation of $10,000 was matched by the Government of Canada 6:1 in support of an extensive four-year health initiative in Tanzania.
In July 2013, Global Relay hosted the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix professional cycling race for the second time. It was also a very special year — the 40th anniversary of the very first race! Dr. Roger Sumner founded the world-class event back in 1973 and forty years later, we saw the world’s top professional cyclists race around the very same cobblestone streets and hairpin turns.
What is the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix?
Simply put, the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is North America’s favorite criterium (circuit-style race). The 1.2km cobblestone route has a long and rich history in Gastown — Vancouver’s oldest and most characteristic neighbourhood. Past winners of this speedy circuit include cycling stars like Canada’s own Alex Stieda, Alison Sydor and Brian Walton. With an annual turnout of 35,000+ cheering spectators, riders and fans love the Gastown race for its challenging layout, spectacular upsets and sheer energy of the huge crowds.
In January, 2012, Global Relay proudly announced a $1-million, five-year commitment to become the Title Sponsor and Operator of one of North America’s most legendary bicycle races — reborn as the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix. Since the race had not run since 2008 due to lack of a backer, this news was joyfully received by the city of Vancouver and the professional cycling world.
With a worldwide customer base, Global Relay is a company that always “thinks globally”. This race, however, couldn’t be more about “acting locally”: our Vancouver office is located directly adjacent to the start/finish line!
A Unique Approach to Community Participation Through Sport
The stage, starting line, VIP area and Global Relay offices are seen just prior to the start of the 2012 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix.
Global Relay’s involvement with this race is unique. Far beyond just writing a cheque, we made the strategic decision to not only fund, but also manage the event.
The men's starting line at the 2012 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix. Over 150 professional cyclists competed! Photo credit: Greg Descantes
Putting on a world-class sporting event in front of an entire city is no small feat, and as Title Sponsor and Operator of the Race, Global Relay is responsible for every aspect — including logistics, operations, marketing, safety, VIPs, publicity, recruitment, and thousands more details!
Without a doubt, it is a lot of work and a significant challenge for our company, but Global Relay staff rally around the event with energy and pride. We mobilize numerous suppliers and contractors, the City of Vancouver and over 250 internal and community volunteers to make this event happen.
It truly is exhilarating to witness a pack of top cyclists blazing around the circuit at speeds of up to 60km/h. There is an incredible energy to bicycle racing that can only be experienced at a live event — and with the record crowds and perfect weather on both of our race days so far, the nights have been nothing short of electric.
The attendance, media coverage and athleticism displayed at the both the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix surpassed everyone’s expectations - 35,000 spectators, thousands of live streaming viewers, and well wishes, tourists and athletes from around the world.
Global Relay CEO Warren Roy presents the Roger Sumner trophy to the men’s podium finishers. Photo credit: Greg Descantes
Why did Global Relay choose to get involved in a major sporting event?
The office of Global Relay President & General Counsel, Shannon Rogers, was temporarily used as a video control room on race day.
- Making a community contribution— Global Relay’s business was built from our office in Gastown, Vancouver, and it is still our world headquarters. We found ourselves in the fortunate position of being able to give back to Gastown and the Vancouver community. Outdoor sport and high-octane cycling symbolizes what Vancouver is all about. To sponsor the return of this internationally recognized cycling event is a thrilling honour, as it also helps support local athletes who are able to compete in their own community in front of hometown fans.
- Local branding— With 85% of our revenues coming from financial epicentres abroad, Global Relay is better known in New York City and London than in Vancouver despite our headquarters being in Vancouver. What better way to become known at home than by hosting a major public event!
- Recruitment— Being top of mind in Vancouver will help us continue to recruit the best and brightest for our rapidly growing technology and business teams.
- Fun— What could be more fun than to host the best summer party in Vancouver?! Free admission, 35,000 spectators, live streaming of the Race worldwide and witnessing 150 of the world’s best cyclists racing around our very own neighbourhood!
- Team building— The spirit of teamwork that swept the company leading up to the race and since has been incredible. Global Relay staff all had a role to play, volunteering their time, with many taking critical leadership and planning positions.
Brenda Lau of Global Relay prepares the walkie-talkies for Global Relay volunteers to use on race day. Photo credit: Skot Nelson
Global Relay staff members Michael Sample and Mateo Hernandez pose on the race course. Photo credit: Skot Nelson
Celebrating 40 Years of Professional Cycling in Gastown
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of cycling in Gastown in 2013, we wanted to send the athletes away with something extra special.
The top three finishers of both the men’s and women’s races received custom-made and designed gold, silver, and bronze medals to commemorate their victories. These medals were carefully crafted by Pressed Metal Products, a local Vancouver company with over 80 years of industry experience.
Global Relay also worked closely with Promosapien to create loads of new Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix gear — including jackets, hats, and messenger bags made from recycled bike tires — to be given to every athlete that competes as a token of our appreciation.
Also new for 2013 were Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix cowbells that will be available to the crowd by donation, with 100% of the proceeds going towards the Global Relay Bridge the Gap Fund.
Global Relay Bridge the Gap Fund
In late November 2012, Global Relay, along with a core group of Canada’s top professional cyclists, announced the launch of a $400,000 cycling development program called Global Relay Bridge the Gap. The Global Relay Bridge the Gap Fund provides mentorship, coaching, and financial support to Canada’s up-and-coming cycling talent.
The Fund’s Board (Svein Tuft, Andrew Pinfold, Will Routley, Ryan Anderson and Erinne Willock) carefully selected the first group of riders soon after the November 2012 launch. Since then the program has grown to include sixteen athletes from across the country, eleven of whom raced in the 2013 Global Relay Grand Prix. The women’s race champion turned out to be Leah Kirchmann, one of the program participants!
We encourage you to learn more about Global Relay Bridge the Gap and follow along with athlete updates as they continue their quest for greatness.
Wisdom, Inspiration, Tenacity
Global Relay's Women in Technology (WIT) group is led by Shannon Rogers, Global Relay’s President & General Counsel. WIT has been formed to recognize and empower the women within Global Relay — professionals who proudly hold key positions across both the IT and business sides of the company. Women play vital roles in Global Relay's technology development, quality assurance/testing, product management, graphic user interface design, eDiscovery, data migration services, business development, legal, compliance, operations, research and other areas and help drive Global Relay's internal and international success. As well as providing support within Global Relay, WIT seeks to encourage, mentor, empower and connect women in the broader IT industry and business in general. WIT's goals are to:
- Build a strong community of women within Global Relay that provides professional development and mentorship opportunities;
- Educate young women and girls on the opportunities available to them in IT and business;
- Mentor and empower young women who are beginning their careers; and
- Cultivate mutually beneficial networks within Global Relay and across the broader community in order to advance women within business and technology at all organizational levels.