Crushing goals professionally and personally

Posted by Mary Usher

August 12, 2014

How TheLadders pushes us to conquer more than we thought possible.

TheLadders is in the business of conquering goals. We set very small and very large business goals, and work as a team to break through barriers and achieve what we set out to achieve. And while we’re busy doing that, we also have the encouragement from all our managers and coworkers to excel in our own, personal goals as well.


Having already accomplished a huge career goal through TheLadders – moving up the ranks to become an event coordinator on the PR team – I was inspired by co-workers to challenge myself to a new opportunity: Completing the New York City Triathlon with several of my colleagues (including our CEO!).

Having previously run a few 10-mile races, I was semi-positive I could physically manage the feat: Swimming nearly a mile in the Hudson River, biking just under 25 miles up the West Side Highway and topping the workout off with a 10K through the topographic anomaly that is Central Park (Giant hills?! New York is supposed to be flat!).

The distances all sound easy enough (given proper training) but I had a few challenges to overcome, which I couldn’t have gotten through without the help of TheLadders’ IRONMAN CEO and the people who make this company so great.

Challenge 1: I know how to “swim,” but I’ve never swam any distance competitively or have access to a pool in NYC…

Technically, this is challenge 1.5. Apparently, the first challenge is getting into the triathlon itself. More than 20,000 applicants register, but less than 5,000 are chosen in a lottery, or compete by raising money for a charity. TheLadders made challenge 1 magically disappear. So on to challenge 1.5…

Having never taken formal swimming lessons, I’d consider myself a swimming novice. After revealing this to my co-worker Sarah (who had done the race before), she was insistent on helping me become the best swimmer I could be before the race. A free one-week NYSC membership later, we were in the pool practicing strokes and technique and learning what made me comfortable in the water (i.e. me floating on my back). We decided that my safety stroke should be the back stroke, which proved to be my approach the whole time swimming in the Hudson.

When the week was through, I was feeling much better about the swim, and grateful to have a friend and colleague willing to help me out. She was even a good sport when I beat her by 5 seconds in the official swim!

Challenge 2: Biking is easy! But how to do it if I don’t own a bike…


I buckled down and bought one. In all aspects of life, they say you only get better with practice. So that’s what I did when I purchased my Cannondale at my local bike shop. Between biking 22 miles roundtrip to and from work and doing a few loops through Central Park, I was feeling confident and started to get better.

Challenge 3: I have to do all these sports in one outing somehow?

As it turns out, getting down the logistics of a triathlon in New York City is a sport in and of itself. This is really where my team came through for me. I couldn’t believe the support. It ranged from colleagues emailing and texting and sitting down to answer questions, to other first-time triathletes sharing their worries with me, to our CEO, Alex Douzet, making sure we were outfitted in the best race gear and arranging a nice pasta dinner the night before the race to rally each other and answer any questions new athletes had. Somehow, everyone at TheLadders helped me to get everything in its place the day before – and 4:30 a.m. the morning of – the event.

As I crossed the finish line, I was filled with a surprising amount of emotions. I was exhausted from the exertion, excited to have my friends and colleagues waiting at the finish for me, and proud and grateful to have accomplished something that I wasn’t sure I could. 

In the end, it was my team and co-workers that motivated me to achieve something greater than I'd previously thought I’d do, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my company – from its CEO all the way down to the teammates sitting next to me. We at TheLadders strive every day to achieve something greater for our job seekers and recruiters, and likewise are encouraged to do it within our personal lives. On to my next goal: Beating 3 hours and 14 minutes in the triathlon next year!

See TheLadders' triathlon team in action! Check out the rest of our pictures here on Facebook

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Mary Frances Usher is the Events & Culture Coordinator at TheLadders. When she isn’t planning company food extravagances and events for recruiters, Mary can be found eating cupcakes, candy, cake, and Chipotle. 


Topics: #TheLaddersLife