For the past six years, Equilar has been proud to participate in the annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge. The 3.5-mile race is an attainable training goal for our busy employees, many of whom got into race-day shape on one of the treadmills in our in-house gym. And of course, it benefits a great cause: San Francisco’s Corporate Challenge charity is Larkin Street Youth Services, which provides shelter, medical care, job training, and scholarship assistance to homeless and at-risk youth.
We’re proud to have been a part of the biggest San Francisco Corporate Challenge yet, with over 8,700 runners and walkers from 333 companies. This great video showcases the amazing turnout, as well as the philanthropic spirit, of this year’s event.
The Corporate Challenge also offers a fun opportunity for Equilar employees to bond outside of the office. For our annual post-race meal, our crew of 17 participants dined as a group at an Off the Grid food truck event.
As always, we enjoyed the event, and look forward to contributing to a new record turnout next year!
On Wednesday, September 14th, Equilar welcomed a special guest: Yul Kwon, a Stanford and Yale graduate and winner of the 13th season of Survivor. When Kwon was a sophomore in college, his childhood friend and roommate Evan Chen was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Kwon embarked on a nationwide bone-marrow registry push, and while a donor for Chen was eventually found, the transplant failed and he passed away two years later. Today, Kwon represents the Asian American Donor Program, which aims to find bone-marrow donors from underrepresented minority communities.
An individual in need of a bone-marrow transplant has only a 30% chance of having a sibling or relative with an identical tissue type. Those individuals who don’t have a match within their family have only one-in-100 odds of finding a match in the wider registry. Minority groups like Asian-Americans face odds of approximately one in a million, because non-white ethnic groups are less likely to be registered in the bone-marrow database.
Because Equilar has a number of Asian-American employees (myself included), we decided that our office would be an excellent source of new registrations that could potentially save the life of an individual suffering from anemia, lymphoma, leukemia, or an immune disorder. In all, Equilar was able to provide 28 potential donors from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. I’m pleased to say that over 30% of our staff registered, compared to a typical 5-10% participation rate at other firms. Though their marrow may never be needed, their participation offers hope to those waiting for a transplant.
Joining the bone-marrow registry is a simple process, requiring only a cheek swab. I encourage all readers of this blog, particularly those from diverse ethnic backgrounds, to sign up for a free at-home cheek swab package at the AADP’s website. Your participation could mean the difference between life and death for an individual in need of a transplant.
On Tuesday, I was thrilled to make an appearance on Carl Guardino’s KLIV broadcast, “The CEO Show.” Carl is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and it was an honor to appear on his program, which has hosted a number of tech-industry heavyweights. In addition to talking about Equilar and its history, I was also able to discuss the latest issues relating to executive pay.
You can download an mp3 of the full show by clicking here. To give you a taste, I’ve posted a couple of excerpts of our conversation below.
On changing board attitudes: “Boardrooms are absolutely getting much more educated about this topic. They’re hiring their advisors directly, not relying on management to help them with that. You’re seeing boards making much quicker decisions on terminating executives.”
On whether CEOs are overpaid: “The most important thing is when these pay numbers are reported often the missing piece is performance. How well are these companies performing? That being said, when an executive is making $10, $20, $30, $40 million, you need to [ask these questions]: How well is that company performing? Is that individual that is leading that organization the right individual? Is their pay commensurate with the performance of the organization?”
I hope you’ll take a listen, and let me know your thoughts on these important issues.
2010 has been a great year at Equilar. We’ve seen our client base grow to over 1,000 companies, and revenues are on pace to increase nearly 40 percent over last year. I owe this success directly to the amazing team that we’ve assembled at Equilar, all of whom have been working hard to make this phenomenal growth possible. From tracking the latest trends in executive pay to interacting with our clients to building our next generation of products, our staff has had a busy 2010.
After seeing the Apple iPad in action, I decided that this cutting-edge device would be the perfect thank-you gift for a cutting-edge team. At our annual Thanksgiving luncheon, I was thrilled to give a new iPad (with our very own custom Equilar case!) to every one of our 74 employees as a way of saying thank you for an amazing year. Our friends at The Wall Street Journal caught wind of the gift and featured us in an article in last Thursday’s paper, “More Tech Firms in Festive Mood.” I couldn’t be more excited to see our employees recognized for their work in the WSJ.
Of course, no discussion of Equilar’s success would be complete without thanking our clients, who have been instrumental in growing and shaping our business. I wish we could have given each of you an iPad as well. But with our gift of a 32 GB Wi-Fi model going for $599, there was only so much to go around!
On behalf of all of us at Equilar, I want to wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season.
Our goal for this year’s Summit was to bring as many of our clients as possible to a single location for world-class education and unparalleled networking with leaders in the industry. Thanks to our great lineup of speakers and participants, I’m proud to say that it was a unanimous success. We had nearly 350 Equilar clients in attendance in Washington, and over 90% of them rated the event a 4 or 5 out of 5 on their feedback forms. In particular, attendees cited the unsurpassed quality of our speakers (nearly 60% gave us a 5) as the favorite part of the event. Thanks again to our all-star lineup of speakers for their valuable insights and to the participants for their candid questions.
The “Lessons Learned” panel at the Summit. From left: George Paulin (CEO, Frederic W. Cook), Ira Kay (Managing Partner, Pay Governance LLC), Doug Friske (Managing Principal, Towers Watson), Peter Chingos (Senior Partner, Compensation Advisory Partners), and Charlie Tharp (Executive Vice President for Policy, Center on Executive Compensation).
Another great addition to the Summit this year was the industry roundtables that we hosted on Day Two. Candidly, given that this was the first time that we hosted the roundtables, we were not sure how they were going to turn out. Thankfully, our clients felt that the networking and peer discussions were invaluable. We’re certainly looking to build on the success of our roundtables for next year, in the hopes of further uniting our unique community of clients.
I’d also like to thank our terrific sponsors, without whom this Summit would not have been possible. Our Diamond sponsor, E*TRADE, helped us host a great event on the first night. The Capitol Steps gave a hilarious and entertaining performance that certainly pushed the edge of the envelope for several of us in the room. (As an aside, though I would not consider myself a political junkie, I would highly recommend Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Amazing detail and insight on the 2008 election.)
But most of all, I’d like to thank President Obama, who took time out of his busy schedule to join us at the Hilton.
Just kidding. While the Commander-in-Chief was at the Washington Hilton on the second day, he unfortunately wasn’t there for our event. A nurses’ association happened to be hosting a conference at the same time. Despite the newspaper headlines, I guess health-care reform still trumps exec comp!
As always, we strive to continue to improve everything we do, and we welcome your feedback on the Summit. Please e-mail us at email@example.com to tell us what you liked and what you’d like to see changed for next year. If you didn’t get to attend the Summit and want to make sure that you don’t miss next year’s, please feel free to drop us a line as well. We’ll announce the date and location soon, so stay tuned! Thanks again for your support of Equilar and your help in making this year’s Summit a huge success.