Combining Charity, Channels And Corporate Challenges

Combining Charity, Channels And Corporate Challenges

The boat is rocking to and fro. It is misty or raining. It is dark at night with boxes and bags all over the place.

Many crew members and escort kayakers have experienced these conditions on open water swims in all kinds of venues and conditions. While open water swimmers and their escorts arrange and account for their food, drinks and equipment before their swim, where to store them on a rocking ship in the rain at night can be an issue.

Solutions abound, but Tupperware definitely works in these cases. The watertight, lightweight, compact, stackable and colored containers can hold and organize food, batteries, powder (for drinks) and electronic devices safe, dry and secure.

So what does a Tupperware executive do when they set out on an English Channel attempt? Take along Tupperware, of course.

John Collingwood, a sports-loving South African living in Florida, is that individual. He is a Senior Director at Tupperware Brands in Orlando, Florida, United States of America will attempt an English Channel solo swim in 2012 on behalf of the South African Boys and Girls Club.

Open Water Source: You work for Tupperware. So how many Tupperware items are you going to take with you on your English Channel attempt?
Collingwood: At least five. The Large Eco water bottle is great for pre-mixed water and carbohydrate powder. This will be decanted into the Large Sports bottle, which is squeezable and has a nipple from which to drink. This will enable that I will not swallow seawater during feeds. I will use the Stuffables® Mini Set for chopped banana pieces and diced peaches. I also find the Vent ‘n Serve microwaveable containers to be massively useful when needing quick meals on the go with minimal preparation time. One of my all-time favorites is the Tupperware® Microwave Breakfast Maker which produces perfectly fluffy omelets in a matter of minutes.

Open Water Source: What will you store in them?
Collingwood: Nearly everything I will need for hydration and sustenance on my training swims and actual English Channel attempt.

Open Water Source: You are also an Global Talent Identification executive with Tupperware Brands. How do you identify talent?
Collingwood: Through a combination of assessment tools, interviews and 20 years experience in the field.

Open Water Source: Many people in the open water swimming world are introverts. Put another way, they are not as flamboyant or extroverted as the typical Type A personalities of the triathlon world. How do you identify talent among the quieter members of society?
Collingwood: Exercise patience, take the time for people to reveal their personalities, motivation, and aspirations. It has been my experience that, since being welcomed into the open water swimming subculture, I have met more extroverts than introverts. The constants, across all personality types of those I have met, is a remarkable resilience, humility and a staggering capacity for exploration – pushing mind, body and soul to find the outer reaches of one’s potential. The sensory deprivation involved in open water swimming is almost complete, so one definitely needs to be mentally tough to withstand countless hours of being alone with one’s thoughts, often in fairly risky and tough conditions. I have been touched by the generosity and encouragement of the open water swimmers I have met. Most notable among these are the legendary Dr. Lucky Meisenheimer and the great crew at Lucky’s Lake in Orlando.

Open Water Source: How would you identify talent in the open water swimming world? In other words, if you had to identify a successful English Channel swimmer, how would you go about doing so?
Collingwood: I have yet to complete a crossing, so will hold on answering that question until qualified to speak from real-life experience.

Open Water Source: You are raising money on your swim for the Boys and Girls Clubs South Africa. Is there something to be said for attempting an arduous marathon swim on behalf of someone else? How do you draw motivation from others when it is YOU swimming in the cold, rough water?
Collingwood: Absolutely. I have been getting up between 3:30-5:30 am for months on end to train, mostly in the dark and alone in a central Florida lake. Those in the know will realize that ‘gators abound in the lakes of central Florida, so overcoming fear, using meditation to calm my mind has been a big part of my training regimen. Thankfully, I have only encountered one alligator while swimming, and that was not in my regular training location. He was not interested in me on the day. On the long swims, I draw inspiration by thinking about my family and all the wonderful people I have met in the course of my work and travels. Many of these people have demonstrated great stoicism in the face of adversity and I draw lessons from their example.

My mission is to serve others, facilitating the emergence of the unlimited potential that exists within each one of us. I have the privilege of realizing this mission through my work in leadership development and talent management. My personal mission is closely aligned with the Boys and Girls Club’s mission, which focuses on providing a safe environment for young people in need, nurturing them to become responsible, caring citizens. These youngsters will become the leaders of the future in South Africa. By swimming across the English Channel, I aim to raise funds and awareness for the Boys and Girls Clubs while showing these youngsters that, with the appropriate discipline and focus, one’s dreams can be realized.”

A tough sport to say the least. Collingwood combines his desire for charitable acts, inner drive for a channel swim and professional devotion to his career.

Tax-deductible donations can be made by check to the Tupperware Brands Foundation and mailed to Yolanda Londoño, Vice President Global Social Responsibility, Tupperware Brands Corporation, 14901 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones