Winners of the 2016 CoverMyQuest

September 08, 2016  |  Mike Bukach

“This is impossible.”

A phrase first muttered after a couple of presentations on Day One of the 2016 CoverMyQuest, and what would become the ongoing mantra for the judges (winners of last year’s Quest).

Our annual employee contest saw 90+ participants competing for one of five $3500 mini-grants. As always, presenters were allowed to pitch a passion, idea, and/or life goal—however they wanted—as long as it was legal and within the three-minute timeframe.

This year’s pitches were impassioned, polished, and well-rehearsed, which created a roller coaster week of emotions for the judges. A funny skit was followed by a deeply personal video, proceeded by a gut-wrenching family tragedy, then another comedy sketch. Their mantra was right on; it was impossible for the judges to select only five employees to receive the mini-grants.

But they ground through selections/eliminations, deliberating after each day and highlighted particularly impressive pitches. Here are some quick blips on the judging process:

Chris Everest

While fulfilling my Quest was a great experience, the best thing about the whole CoverMyQuest experience was definitely the judging portion. To see how CMM employees forego their own dreams for those of someone else makes you realize you are part of something bigger than just a contest. With this year’s winning Quests, people planned to use their grants for some greater good, their families, their co-workers or best friends. It was amazing to witness.

Grace Cordle

I’m so honored to have been let into everyone’s lives for just a few minutes- it was an incredible experience. I know how scary that side of CMQ is and want to thank each and every one of the presentations for having the courage to get up there and pitch.

It was ALSO incredibly hard. Quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I wish I could talk to each presenter individually and walk you through our thought process. We truly deliberated on every single idea but in the end could obviously only select 5. We’re really proud of the Quests we chose and cannot wait to watch them unfold!

Nicole Brabham

Wow what a week! I have to say after the first day i felt so many emotions… I never thought this process would be so hard. Getting to know my coworkers on a more personal level was so awesome. Everyone brought their A-game and that made final decisions very hard. I’m so excited with the 5 winners and the awesome things they get to do!

Chase McCants

Being a judge for CoverMyQuest was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my career. I learned very quickly just how creative, passionate, and selfless my coworkers truly are. CoverMyQuest changed my life when I was awarded the grant and I hope it changes the lives of 2016’s winners. Judging wasn’t easy…in fact, it was an extremely emotional experience. But the impact of the winners will be felt well outside the walls of CoverMyMeds.

After a final 2.5 hour deliberation process, replete with incessant pacing and rousing speeches and arm-wrestling, the judges finally reached agreement on five winners. And here they are, in no particular order:

My step-father, Gale, passed away unexpectedly last year. He was a huge part of my life and an amazingly caring person. We used to jokingly call him Atticus Finch because of the lengths he would go to help his family, friends, and clients (he was a lawyer) and even the people he barely knew.

When I heard that my friend Kaleb’s (a recent software co-op engineer here at CoverMyMeds) mother was very ill, I wanted to help. My Quest is to send Kaleb and his family on a trip together. My hope is that they have a wonderful time, and this will help relieve some of the hardships they’ve gone through and those to come.

My Quest is to go to China to take an immersive Mandarin class. My wife, Pei Zhang, is Chinese, and of my (many) in-laws, only my sister-in-law and her husband speak any English. Last time we were in China, I promised to learn a 1,000-character vocabulary by the time I returned. While I will technically be breaking that promise by going back for the language course, this is an amazing opportunity to become much more fluent and be able to actually speak with my in-laws.

My CoverMyQuest is a medical and dental mission trip Honduras, Central America. This trip has extraordinarily personal meaning to me as bringing need to those living in the 3rd world has long been a passion of mine.

Now with the help of CoverMyMeds, I have the opportunity to go to Honduras with the needed resources to help those in need and to document and share this incredible experience. The money from the Quest will primarily go to the expenses associated with traveling to Honduras with a missionary group. Any remaining funds will be used to purchase goods that are otherwise unavailable to those in rural Honduras.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to introduce a new Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) program called FIRST Lego League within the community where my children attend school. The program not only introduces the children to STEM concepts but also helps to develop critical thinking, team building, and presentation skills.

This is perfect timing for this program because the season is kicking off on Tuesday August 30th and will last throughout the school year.

I spent the first few years of my life in a constant state of adventure. My parents would pack everything we owned into our big suburban van, and we would follow my dad’s minor league baseball team around the country. This inspired a passion for travel and an interest in minimalistic living, two things that I try to incorporate into my everyday life.

Unfortunately, I often don’t have the ability to do so, especially now that I have a job I love. So, my Quest is to create a mobile home office, which will give me the chance to pursue a life of tiny living and travel, while continuing to work for CoverMyMeds!

I plan to design a trial run for my mobile office as a six-week road trip, based on a continued survey of my coworkers. I’m asking you to tell me where you want to see me go and what you want to see me do there.

While I’m out and about, I’ll be keeping in touch via BlueJeans conferences so you can all see and experience the places you send me. I’ll also be collaborating on a social media campaign to garner interest in affordable, minimalistic living in Columbus, so be sure to give me a follow!

Congrats to the the winners!

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