It’s that time of year again, folks! It’s time to grow out your moustache (or glue one on if you can’t grow) to help raise awareness and money for men’s health. Of course, I’m talking about none other than Movember, who is also using Yammer to ensure that operations flow smoothly. I sat down to interview Adam Garone, the CEO and Co-Founder of Movember, and this is what he told me:
MO: Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do at Movember? What is Movember?
AG: My name is Adam Garone and I’m the CEO and a co-founder of Movember. Movember is a men’s health organization that encourages men to grow (and women to support) a moustache during the month of November to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically cancers affecting men. The men’s hairy ribbon effectively becomes a billboard for the 30 days of November, and through their actions and words the guys raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.
MO: Tell us about who works at Movember? How big are you? Where is everyone located?
AG: Movember is a global movement with 6 offices around the world. The staff, like the thousands of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who participate in Movember, are fun, innovative, humble and caring people. Not to mention unbelievably talented, dedicated and hardworking. We are a staff of 53 (excluding the board members) and are spread between Melbourne, Aus (20 employees), Auckland, NZ (1 employee), London UK (11 employees), Dublin, Ireland (1 employee), Los Angeles, US (10 employees) and Canada (5 employees). As global CEO, I’m based in California but travel to the various offices year round.
MO: How did you discover Yammer / start using it?
AG: We were looking for a better way for the entire organization to collaborate and share ideas. One of our core values is TEAM MOVEMBER – one team, one purpose – and we needed something to help bring us together more effectively than email. Since there are several individuals, having the same roles in other countries, we needed to find an easy way for them to pass along best practices and lessons learned. So after SXSW, our digital strategist suggested taking a closer look at Yammer. We liked what we saw and started using it in May 2011.
MO: How do you use Yammer? Who at your company / outside of your company uses Yammer?
AG: Everyone at the organization uses Yammer and is highly encouraged to check their feed daily. As mentioned, Yammer lets the team effectively collaborate and share ideas, but it has also improved morale by giving each person a voice – everyone suggests ideas, provides feedback – essentially becoming a resource to others. We’ve found that about 60% of the time people are engaging on Yammer for work/collaboration purposes and 40% for banter/fun/morale boosting. We have not expanded to others outside of the company yet, but have considered it.
MO: How do you make Yammer part of your daily life / how do you make it part of everyday habit?
AG: Besides encouraging the team to check Yammer daily, we drive the content by posting valuable information such as: HR policies, new staff announcements, documents for various departments, news about our Mo community from around the world and, of course, photos and stories about the happenings in each of the offices. You don’t want to be the last to know about something, so most of the staff checks in often.
MO: What types of benefits were you able to realize by using Yammer?
AG: The more we kept using Yammer, the benefits increased! Some of the benefits we realize are that the conversations are ongoing. Anyone can chime in to any discussion without time dependency. Internal email has been cut down. Documents are shared and edited swiftly, and stored for everyone to access in perpetuity. We are able to crowd source ideas, share photos – get a sense of people’s personalities. We work daily with people we’ve never met face-to-face, however Yammer makes us feel connected and unified. Our board members are also given an inside look at what’s going on at Movember on a daily basis. There are cons and pros with allowing that level of exposure, but it allows us to carry out one of our core values – transparency/accountability. Using Yammer instills other core values – Fun, Innovative, and Outcomes Oriented to name a few.
MO: What are your goals for this year’s Movember? How will Yammer help you get there?
AG: Our goal for Moustache Season 2011 is 600,000 global participants, and the way we are tracking we are currently projected to have 850,000! Yammer is playing an integral part in achieving this success – it is vital for us to share more resources across the globe. The private groups – for specific teams like PR and Communications, Events, Business and Community Engagement- exchange ideas, keep each other posted on activities and of course, gentle ribbing to see whose country will come in as the top fundraiser!
To donate and / or create your very own Mo Space, head over to the Movember site. To chat with Yammer employees and mustached Yammer users, join us here. To learn more about Movember, check out this video and read the story below:
How Movember Started:
To date, over a million moustaches have been grown for Movember, raising more than $178 million to change the face of men’s health. It’s hard to believe this movement, now the number one global funder of prostate cancer research, started as a friendly challenge over beers. Yet that’s exactly how it happened back in 2003.
Years ago, in Melbourne, Australia, Travis Garone, Adam’s brother, and their friend Luke Slattery decided the moustache needed to make a comeback. That year, thirty men, including Adam, grew moustaches for the month of Movember. The rules were simple; start on Movember 1st clean-shaven and spend the remainder of the month growing a Mo (Aussie slang for moustache). There was no fundraising that year; the idea was simply to see who could grow the better moustache.
In 2004, Adam and the other Founders workshopped the idea of adding an official cause to legitimize growing a Mo- thus began the maiden Movember journey. Adam established Movember as a not for profit entity and chose prostate cancer as the cause, so that men were given an opportunity to support a serious disease that affected them. Much like the pink ribbon, Adam felt that the moustache was the perfect hairy ribbon for men’s health.
450 Mo Bros took part in Movember 2004, and to everyone’s surprise, they raised $54,000 through friends and family’s donations to their Mo-growing efforts. It was the largest single donation the Prostate Cancer Foundation in Australia had ever received. Adam then realized that the moustache could be Movember’s ribbon, the catalyst for conversation and one which would effectively turn each participant known as a Mo Bro into a walking, talking billboard for men’s health for 30 days.
About Adam Garone:
Adam has an extensive corporate background in developing, managing and marketing emerging web and mobile technologies working with companies such as Vodafone. Prior to Adam’s corporate experience, he served for 9 years as an officer in the Australian Army where he was selected to join the special forces. Adam’s military career taught him the art of leadership and intricacies of operations management. In 2008, Adam won the 22nd annual Ernst & Young (E&Y) “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in Australia. This award is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The program “celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 135 cities in 50 countries.” In 2009, Melbourne Business School awarded Adam with the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award. Adam currently lives in Southern California where he oversees Movember’s global operations. His vision is that the moustache and Movember will soon have the same global impact on cancers affecting men that the pink ribbon has for breast cancer. You can find him on LinkedIn.