Resilience and mental toughness are qualities that many great leaders across the world possess. And the Children’s Cancer Institute wants to put these traits to the test.
The organisation is gearing up for its annual CEO Dare to Cure Challenge on 7 September, where hundreds of business leaders from across Australia (many joined by their teams) will face their fears to raise funds for medical research in the fight against childhood cancer.
Participants will be dared to brave the freeze in an athlete’s ice bath, walk on fire and glass, take a bath with wriggling snakes, test their tolerance in a chilli eating challenge, or show their commitment by getting a tattoo or shaving their head live in public.
One C-suite executive who is up for the challenge is Sophia Symeou, CEO of INS Career Management, who will be getting involved for the fourth consecutive year.
The thrill-seeker is planning to do all but one of the dares on offer.
She sits down with The CEO Magazine to share why she continues to get involved year after year, and why her fellow leaders should consider putting their hat in the ring too.
Why do you support the Children’s Cancer Institute?
I was introduced to the Institute when my partner started working there many years ago, and I’ve been a long-time supporter ever since. So, I’ve had the opportunity to see the organisation develop from nothing into what it is today.
The Children’s Cancer Institute has spearheaded most of the support services you see today and while there a number of other amazing research institutes tackling cancer, it’s the only one completely dedicated to childhood cancer – which is in a whole other realm to adult cancer.
Its personalised medicine program means it can do different treatments to find what works and what doesn’t. I truly believe in what the organisation is doing.
What made you want to get involved with the CEO Dare to Cure Challenge?
I’ve been involved in the campaign on behalf of INS since it launched three years ago.
In the very first year, my team knew that I had always wanted to go skydiving so they arranged it for my dare.
In the second year, I was joined by a few colleagues and we did a stand-up comedy night.
Then, last year, I had about 20 staff join me to walk on fire and glass.
This year, I’m going to do every dare except shave my head – I don’t think I could pull that off.
To involve my entire team, I’m getting as many staff members as I can to participate in our own dare – an INS musical. We’ll start our fundraising with the CEO Dare to Cure Challenge and we’ll continue it throughout the year leading up to the musical later in 2018 – where we’ll no doubt murder some tunes and dancing.
I also belong to number of business groups so I’m going to challenge some CEOs to get involved with the CEO Dare to Cure Challenge.
Why do you believe other CEOs and organisations should get involved in the CEO Dare to Cure Challenge to support the Children’s Cancer Institute?
The challenge presents an incredible team building activity because it’s fundamentally linked to most people’s and most organisation’s values. It provides them with a sense of purpose and goodwill.
They’re conquering their fears and the feeling afterwards is so rewarding – you feel as though you could accomplish anything.
I believe that all businesses should support their community and local charities – and the Children’s Cancer Institute is one of the best.