It was a beautiful summer evening in Germany. A helicopter soared over skyscrapers, broadcasting from one of the world’s largest races, the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. Crowds gathered together with a contagious excitement with the aim of promoting wellness in the workplace. 71,000 participants filled the downtown Frankfurt streets for a memorable 3.5 mile run.

Taking everything in, I looked over at my colleague, Eszter and reflected on when we first met. Just one week before, there she stood at the airport gate welcoming me with a big smile holding a small poster of our company’s vision artwork. I remember thinking to myself, what a creative and friendly lady! This was just the beginning of a week of collaboration and fun! You see, I work in our Dallas headquarters and my colleague is from our Budapest site. We work together on the same team, but we didn’t know each other very well. I had traveled to Europe to work on a two-week assignment helping with a few projects, to strengthen relationships and to gain a better understanding of how our team supports the region.

Returning to the race, my colleague and I were in awe of number of participants! This was the first time either of us had participated in a race of this magnitude. I had been training for the race for several months, but suddenly my priorities shifted. In a week’s time, I had made a connection with a colleague that was more valuable to me than achieving a new personal record. As we made our way across the starting line, we agreed that we would remain together, no matter what.

People cheered for us from the sidewalks as we ran by. Marching bands helped us find our pace with rhythmic ballads from the sidelines. Skyscrapers and the Frankfurt skyline created a beautiful backdrop for this unique experience. As we made our way along the race course, I was inspired by the team spirit around me! Then, I suddenly found myself encouraging my colleague, coaching her throughout the race.  It was really special for us to finish together.

In short, the race was much like my trip, an opportunity to collaborate, help others and to have fun doing it. What a unique and valuable experience this trip was for me.

205 Celanese employees, representing 9 locations globally, included Germany (Frankfurt, Sulzbach, Oberhausen and Kaiserslautern), Lanaken (Belgium), Geleen (Netherlands), Budapest (Hungary), Dallas (USA) and Perstorp (Sweden.)