Purple Stormers Stepping Days are Over!

Wow what a fantastic journey the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) has been! We have finally completed the 16 week challenge and we are all feeling epic…..

Setting out on 23 May 2013, our team of 7 ‘volunteers’ from the PPMA Board had high hopes and aspirations that this would be a life changing experience. Our reasons for participating ranged from the desire to get fitter, lose weight and for some just to look great in purple lycra!!! With our state of the art pedometers firmly attached we embarked on the challenge along with 35,000 other teams from around the world.

The Purple Stormers’included:

  • Helen MinionTeam Captain, Strategic HR Partner, (Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service)
  • Nigel Carruthers–Senior Advisor, Workforce Strategy (Local Government Association)
  • Raffaela Goodby- Head of OD, Engagement and Well Being, Human Resources (Birmingham City Council)
  • Martin Rayson– Divisional Director HR & OD (London Borough of Barking and Dagenham)
  • Susan Martin- Deputy Chief Executive (The London Pensions Fund Authority)
  • Leatham Green– Assistant Director - Personnel & Training (East Sussex County Council)
  • Nick Hecscher- Sector Director – Government (Manpower Group)

As a reminder of how it works, this annual event is intended to encourage individuals to take an active interest in their health and wellbeing by being part of a team formed from an organisation or group of individuals that have been thrown together ( Us!). A wealth of support materials are provided which includes access to an on line portal, a health adviser and a range of tools, techniques and nutritional information to help encourage participants to develop healthier routines and habits for longer term health improvement. A personal coach and the opportunity to win trophies and gain certificates for ‘most improved’ just helped to make the whole thing more entertaining. The main idea is that if every team member undertakes at least 10,000 steps per day, every day, the team would cover the virtual globe. Participants enter their steps every day and progress can be tracked both individually and against the other competing teams via a leader board. At one time we were in the top 5,000, not bad out of 35,000.

We started our journey in Rio de Janeiro and covered 4,434 miles ending in China. Together we averaged 14,540 steps every day through a range of activities but primarily walking, cycling and swimming. By the end of the challenge we finished in 6,991 position. This was a true testimony to the commitment that the whole team had put into this event.

However the most powerful aspect of taking part in this challenge has to have been the encouragement and support that developed from the team motivation throughout the 16 weeks. With some members of the ‘Purple Stormers’ never having met in person, the connection that was made was instant. Through regular emails we all got to know each other really well and started to share the top tips for increasing the number of steps. This included kneading bread and being a trooper going into the galaxy (I think Raffaela may have been on something!), dancing whilst ironing and going on a walking holiday (Martin).We shared good times, sad times, poorly times, great holiday times and the celebration of a new arrival, a whippet puppy ( Leatham). Targets were met and exceeded (Nick and Nigel achieving nearly 30,000 steps in one day!) and personal bests achieved.

All in all, the team have reported that blood pressure, Cholesterol levels and weight have all come down to varying degrees which is fantastic…..and some of us have celebrated by going shopping (Susan!) The ‘looking good in lycra test’ has still to be demonstrated!.

But the really best bit has been the laughs that we have had along the way and the genuine friendship that has emerged between us….now that is priceless!!!

If you would like to enter a team to participate next year or find out more details, information can be found at

Helen Minion, Team Captain & PPMA Policy Lead for the Emergency Services


Purple Stormers Stepping On!

A few months ago we shared with you that PPMA are participating in this year's Global Corporate Challenge( and the team has now stepped its way to an amazing 2,837 miles between us over the past 10 weeks on our virtual world tour. We started in Rio, and are presently enjoying the delights of Spain!Together our team of 7 have stepped off 288,000 calories, covering an average of 5.6 miles per day either through walking, cycling or swimming. The impact for (some) the team (depending on starting points!) has been very impressive in enjoying a reduced waist line (I have dropped a notch on the belt buckle!) reduced blood pressure and an overall improvement in energy levels. This has been a very rewarding event for us all - making new friends, providing motivation and encouragement to each other and the on-line resources provided by GCC are excellent.

We will share with you the final outcome and in the meantime keep your support coming and check out the event on the above link.

Leatham Green, PPMA Policy Lead for Talent Management


PPMA Steps Up To Healthier Lifestyle Challenge

We are very excited to announce that the PPMA is participating in a unique opportunity to take part in theGlobal Corporate Challenge(GCC). The aim of this event is to support people in organisations to engage in a healthier lifestyle.

We have managed to secure free entry for a hand-picked team to take part in this contest as a trial. The idea is that a team of seven PPMA ‘volunteers’ will join over 35,000 teams from around the world. Each team member will wear a device that will accurately track their daily activity with the aim of achieving at least 10,000 steps per day. This daily activity will be recorded via the GCC website or smartphone app and the more active your team the further you progress along a virtual journey around the world!

The challenge lasts for 16 weeks and participants are rewarded for having a more active lifestyle and feeling healthier by being given personalised results, videos, trophies and certificates. What more could you want?!

The challenge commences on 23 May 2013 and as team Captain of the ‘Purple Stormers’ I will provide regular updates and blogs on the PPMA website about how the team is performing and the learning that emerges as the event unfolds.

To find out more about the GCC click here GCC – How it works.


All team members were asked why they were taking part in the GCC and what they hoped to get out of it.


Helen Minion, Strategic HR Partner (Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service)

As the relatively new deputy lead for health & wellbeing, it was considered thatthis would be a great opportunity to get me settled into the role….thanks Leatham for giving me the break and making me captain…I owe you one!!!

To work with a team that appear to be completely barmy and as unfit as myself is reassuring and hopefully I will not be the one who is taking the least steps on a daily basis. I am not competitive normally but on this occasion there are no prizes for second place!!

Hopefully, sharing the experience on this journey will encourage other organisations that you all work in to participate and help bring about healthy lifestyle changes. If it does, then we have made a difference! If it does not, then we tried…

Oh and the other reason is to lose a large amount of weight and look great in purple lycra….enough said!!

Let the challenge begin……


Leatham Green, Assistant Director - Personnel & Training (East Sussex County Council)

As someone who prefers the luxury of my arm chair to the great outdoors, a bar of chocolate to a piece of fruit, a glass of alcoholic bubbles than sparkling water, I can always find a long list of reasons why I can't fit exercise into my daily routine...too busy, too tired, too cold, I'll start after Christmas...the story some of you may be familiar with!. So the opportunity to participate in the GCC is hopefully going to provide the incentive to work with a team to bring change in my daily routine and carve out space to undertake some aspect of watch this space and let's see what happens!

Martin Rayson, Divisional Director HR & OD (London Borough of Barking and Dagenham)

I have to admit that middle age is upon me and as the years have passed I have found it difficult to sustain a body shape that would do justice to a pair of Speedos on Copacabana Beach. As a trip to the world cup might be on the agenda (and even if I end up at Brighton) it would be good to get into shape. I am partial to the odd red wine or two (bottle of) and find comfort from the stresses of life in cakes, I am hoping this fine team of athletes will drag me to a better place.

Raffaela Goodby, Head of OD, Engagement and Well Being, Human Resources (Birmingham City Council)

I signed up to be part of the PPMA team for two reasons. One, the Purple Stormers are a great bunch of people to have some fun with and we all need joy in our lives. I have a broken back and a spinal fusion and really need to get myself into gear to proactively manage that so I can keep running round after my daughters. Plus, I’m hoping we get to do some sort of motivational fitness display in purple leggings at next year’s seminar J

Susan Martin, Deputy Chief Executive (The London Pensions Fund Authority)

Inspired by the Olympics and getting ready for the Commonwealth Games..……….well yes to the first and getting ready for the second comprises purchasing T shirt for son, registering for tickets and checking out holiday options in Scotland. Why am I joining the crew for this challenge when I love food and bubbles? Was it because I am in pensions and understand about longevity, the need to work longer to get my hands on a smaller amount which has to keep me going for 40 years or is it because I too am a fan of purple lycra and leggings? All I know is that Helen and Leatham won’t let me escape so I will have to learn how to run fast.

Nigel Carruthers, Senior Advisor, Workforce Strategy (Local Government Association)

I signed up to be part of this amazingly awesome team for two reason 1) healthy body equals a healthy mind and with the hectic work-life balance I need to find time to do both and this seemed like the perfect commitment to kick start my motivation 2) I have dilated cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) which is a permanent life changing condition which requires me to keep active and fit (work that cardio!) so seemed a total no brainer to sign up!! As long as we have someone who knows CPR in the team I’ll be fine ;).

Nick Heckscher, Sector Director – Government (Manpower Group)

With my wife this month setting off on a charity bicycle ride to Paris, I felt the need for an equivalent challenge. Doing more exercise each month than I did in the previous month was my chosen burden/opportunity! This was easy through spring, as I didn't do much exercise over the winter, but it will get progressively harder, so hopefully a bit of peer pressure might help. Oh and anyone who saw me on stage with Leatham and the Rising Stars at the Annual Seminar will know that a little more fitness won't harm my (severely lacking) co-ordination or rhythm!

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