Tech From the Heart: Supporting Adaptive Athletes, Sight by Side
By Joyce Mullen / 15 Mar 2021
By Joyce Mullen / 15 Mar 2021
But regardless of your view of the world, there’s some good news that most people can agree upon: We don’t have to look far to find hope, determination and the strength of the human spirit. We see these principles exemplified every day by caring, like-minded people who work together to make a difference in our communities. And we see it in the creation of new technologies that make these opportunities more possible and prevalent.
With the onset of a pandemic and heightened awareness of social justice in 2020, corporate social responsibility has undeniably been drawn to the forefront of nearly every industry.
This past year shed newfound light on just how important it is for businesses to be transparent and authentic. We’ve found this to be true at Insight during a time when technology and culture are more intertwined than ever before.
When you read, hear or even say “corporate social responsibility,” what comes to mind? For me, this term speaks to the ways we’re collectively and uniquely equipped to give back to our communities. At Insight, this aligns with our technological capabilities and how what we do — creating intelligent technology solutions — can improve people’s lives.
Corporate social responsibility is about creating positive change within organizations, communities and society. Not only is this the right thing to do, but this focus also inspires our teammates — creating even more pride in the work we do, together.
In my short time at Insight, I’ve witnessed this passion and commitment. It’s evident that our teammates and leadership care about each other and strive to purpose our tech capabilities for good. It comes to life as our teammates demonstrate our core value of heart to our clients, our partners and each other.
This commitment to helping others is commonly seen among our very own teammates. Paul Harrold, Insight’s director of professional services for Connected Workforce exemplifies this every day. Paul has always enjoyed participating in triathlons, Ironman competitions, and other running and cycling events. In 2014, he started a triathlon team. Within a couple of years, the group learned there were several impaired cyclists and runners across the Carolinas who wanted to compete but needed guides. Paul was inspired to help.
With the support of another member of his triathlon club, he launched a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization called Para Guide, based in Charlotte, North Carolina for the purpose of supporting adaptive athletes in the pursuit of accessibility, inclusion and equity. The services provided by Para Guide include sighted guides for adaptive athletes who want to walk, run, cycle and swim — or participate in group exercise events.
Today, Paul and Para Guide are reengineering donated bicycles and installing them as stationery cycling equipment in the comfort of each visually impaired athlete’s home, free of charge. Additionally, he’s been making recommendations for manufacturers to include closed captioning in video conferencing platforms, especially when guides virtually meet with their assigned athletes.
Para Guide currently serves 70 adaptive athletes, 40 of whom live around the Charlotte area with the rest living across the United States. The foundation has also trained 250 volunteers who want to be running and cycling guides. Moving forward, the group will continue to fight for accessibility and inclusion by working with local race directors on official rules permitting guides to assist impaired athletes during competitions.
Just as our Insight teammates demonstrate our value of heart in their communities, corporate social responsibility contributes toward a larger, more meaningful goal. And when we take this responsibility seriously, there’s no telling how far we can go together.
I’m encouraged, inspired by and excited about the ways those of us in the technology industry can link arms and get involved through volunteering in our communities, furthering sustainability and diversity and inclusion efforts to make a difference.
If you’re interested in reading more about how we strive to give back at Insight — through our technology and from living our values of hunger, heart and harmony — I encourage you to explore our 2021 Insight Corporate Citizenship Report. After all, there’s a good story behind every solution — and a team of passionate people who bring them to life.