London 2012 people
Team BP: London 2012 people
1. Joe AntonelliSupporting local Paralympic clubs, US
Fuel services company Carroll Independent Fuel works with 110 BPbranded service stations in the mid- Atlantic area of the US – in Washington DC, Baltimore and their surrounding states. Carroll acts as a BP-branded distributor: supplying fuel and other products, branding the stations, and ensuring they all live up to BP’s standards.
The team at Carroll was inspired by BP’s efforts to support London 2012 – particularly the Paralympic Games – and decided to get involved. So, in August, it will sell London 2012-branded wristbands in its stations to raise money for two local organisations that help physically challenged people to get involved with sports: the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington DC, and a Baltimore charity called Baltimore Adaptive Recreation and Sports (BARS).
Director of marketing Joe Antonelli explains: “We have supported a lot of charities over the years but we didn’t even know these guys were in our backyard. When we found out about BP’s London 2012 partnership, it really opened our eyes. We thought it was such a worthy cause that for the first time ever we have teamed up with one of our local competitors here in DC – Petroleum Marketing Group (PMG) – to really promote this. They have 190 stations, so we’ll be able to offer the wristbands in around 300 stations overall.”
Carroll and PMG kicked off the promotion with a joint $15,000 donation to the fund, made possible through the BP Fueling Communities programme, which provides grants to education, youth, health, food and housing initiatives. Joe hopes the campaign will be a big success. He says: “It’s heart-warming when you meet these kids and their families. It’s sport at its purest level. They’re out there because they want to be; there are no major stars. Most of them have amazing stories about the obstacles they’ve overcome in their lives and this really sets them apart.”
2. Shlinda BellVolunteer to support athletes at London 2012
Shlinda Bell, personal assistant to Paul Reed, chief executive of Integrated Supply and Trading (IST), is expecting to have to call on all her professional skills in her role as an assistant in National Olympic/Paralympic services, the organisation that looks after the day-today needs of the visiting Olympic and Paralympic teams.
Shlinda will be one of six assistants looking after the Cameroon team – which numbers 60 people, including officials. She says: “The life of a PA is all about being able to plan ahead and organise things at the drop of a hat. I could be asked for anything, from finding out previous times for a particular event, to arranging for the president of the Cameroon National Olympic Committee to be transported across London for a meeting, or finding 10 tickets for Les Misérables.”
Shlinda will be restricted to the athletes’ village throughout the Games – and all the time she spends there will come out of her annual holiday entitlement, so why volunteer? She says: “When BP moved to Canary Wharf [in London’s Docklands], there was a community affairs programme I got involved with that helped local school kids with their maths and reading. I have a son who’s now 21 and I went back to work when he was six months old, so I was never really able to do that sort of thing for him, so it appealed to me.
“I helped out for 45 minutes every Thursday during term time and I really enjoyed giving back something to the community. It was so fulfilling – it made me feel very warm inside. The kids were always so pleased to see me. But now my role is co-located here and at St James’s Square [in central London], so I could no longer commit to it.
“When this came up, I saw it as a great opportunity to give back something in the same way that I used to. I also thought it would be amazing to be part of this oncein- a-lifetime opportunity. Even though I won’t be able to watch the events live, I’m really looking forward to seeing the athletics and the swimming and diving events, in particular from inside the athletes’ village.”
3. Gunesh AliyevaOrganising Olympic and Paralympic activities, Azerbaijan
Gunesh Aliyeva is an external affairs adviser in Azerbaijan, responsible for helping to manage BP’s relationship with government agencies. Since last July, she has also been responsible for BP’s Olympic and Paralympic-related activities in the country.
She has worked extensively with Azerbaijan’s National Olympic Committee (the president of which, Ilham Aliyev, is also the president of the country) and the National Paralympic Committee. BP is supporting three Olympic and four Paralympic athletes, financially and through promotional activities.
Gunesh says: “One of the highlights of the build-up to the Games has been a big celebration we organised to mark 100 days before the Opening Ceremony. One of our special guests was British Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson. The event generated lots of media coverage – including live TV.
“It’s been lots of work, but I’m really pleased I volunteered. I feel so lucky to have this amazing opportunity to meet so many people from all over the world. And now, I can’t wait for the Games to begin. I’ve always been interested, but this year I’ll be watching our athletes and supporting them from a distance – I know them now, so it’s much more personal and significant for me than it would have been otherwise. We’re setting up plasma screens in as many of the offices in Azerbaijan as we possibly can, too, so everyone can join in.”
4. Julie Amos / Hally NguyenBP mentor and Young Leader, UK
Two years ago, Hally Nguyen was one of 100 young people around the UK to sign up for the BP-supported London 2012 Young Leaders Programme, designed to inspire 16 year-olds to engage with the Games and develop their skills.
Hally’s BP mentor is Julie Amos, a team leader in the Integrated Supply and Trading (IST) organisation based at Canada Square in London’s Docklands. She says: “I’ve been at BP for almost 22 years, and I’ve never done much for my community before, so I decided to volunteer. When I joined BP at 18, a lot of opportunities came my way and it felt like a good time to help bring that kind of opportunity to someone else.”
Hally is one of 10 Young Leaders who live in Newham, the borough in which the Olympic Village was built. She and Julie have worked together to prepare Hally’s community project and to prepare for an interview to become a volunteer or Games Maker, as they are known. Julie also organised some work experience with IST for Hally.
The community project – a talent show in a local community centre featuring 13 acts – was a success, thanks to Hally’s efforts.
Hally, who had never volunteered for anything before, says: “Julie’s helped me so much. She really went out of her way – helping me to develop my project management and leadership skills, and building my confidence. If I have a problem, she’s always there to smooth things out. The experience has brought me out of my shell and I’m more punctual and patient, too.
“Julie’s really inspired me to not give up on what I want. She didn’t go to university but look at her now – she’s an inspiration to me. She’s showed me that if you work hard you’ll get where you want to be. Being part of this has made me realise how much work goes into delivering something like the Olympic Games – for the organisers and for the athletes, who have to train so hard to qualify. I feel part of it and very proud to be part of it.”
Julie says: “It’s been such a pleasure to work with Hally and see her grow up and come out of her shell over the past two years. It’s really rewarding to work with someone so focused and motivated.
“Although the work we’ve been doing doesn’t relate directly to the Games, I definitely feel more involved and I can’t wait for the Games to begin.”
Hally was successful in her application to be a Games Maker – she will be working in the accreditation team, checking people’s credentials and issuing passes to athletes and officials. She managed to get tickets, too, for the basketball.
5. Danielle JonesOrganising Olympic and Paralympic activities, Trinidad and Tobago
BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) has signed up to support the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committee until 2016. In common with BP teams in the other eight countries supporting athletes, the bpTT team promotes BP’s involvement with the Games and supports athletes – four of whom will be competing in the Olympic Games and two in the Paralympic Games. So far, the team’s promotional efforts have resulted in 34 media stories and a greater understanding of BP’s values among staff.
Leading the team working on activities for BP is corporate communications manager Danielle Jones. She says: “It’s been a great example of working as one team – both with the Olympic and Paralympic Committees and with our colleagues around the world supporting other countries.
“BP is not as visible to mass audiences in Trinidad and Tobago as it is in the UK – we don’t have service stations here, for example, so we ran a larger than usual high-profile advertising campaign about our involvement with the athletes to really get people talking, in government and business, as well as the general public.”
Just like all the other countries supporting Olympic and Paralympic athletes, Danielle and the bpTT team organised a send-off event for the athletes. Unlike the others, however, they decided the best way to do this would be to hold a parade and street party and to commission a local music star to compose a song to mark the occasion.
Danielle says: “I think most other places organised formal receptions, but that would not be meaningful here. We wanted a public event that would get the attention of the general public, so we asked Kees Dieffenthaller, lead singer with Trinidadian soca band KES THE BAND, to write us an inspirational song called We Are Conquerors. We wanted the whole world to see our passion and our energy.”
The event was a great success, with thousands of people lining the streets of Port of Spain as the parade made its way to Woodford Square, where Kees finally took to the stage with athletes from the Trinidad and Tobago team – not just those sponsored by BP – to celebrate them and the Games in song.
6. Sarah BishopBP graduate/LOCOG intern
Sarah Bishop will join BP’s UK graduate programme in September having completed her degree in physics at Durham University this year. The 22 yearold, from Buckinghamshire, near London, was offered the chance to apply for an opportunity to work with the London 2012 Organising Commitee (LOCOG) when she was accepted onto the programme. Following an interview with LOCOG, Sarah was made a fleet team leader in the transport team.
She says: “I’ll be working at one of the hotels where the dignitaries and officials from the Olympic family will be staying. I’ll be outside on a radio organising the official vehicles to get them where they need to be. It’s quite a scary responsibility really because if these people aren’t where they need to be on time – if there are no judges or starters at events because I’ve not done my job properly – everything could fall apart!
“I’m really looking forward to the Games. I also applied to be a volunteer ages ago, so I’ve always wanted to be involved, but this makes it so much easier because my accommodation is being provided by BP and they’re really looking after us. It just makes it so much easier to get involved with this truly amazing event.”
Although she will be based offsite, Sarah will still get to see some live competition. She says: “I’ve managed to get tickets for the gymnastics, so I’ll need to make sure I’m not working that day, so I’ll finally be able to see something that I’ve always loved watching on the TV – I can’t wait for that.”