The Dash To Create A Great Culture

Athletes from all over compete in Red Frog Events held nationwide.

Red Frog Events is not your ordinary company. In fact, they pride themselves in providing unique experiences, and in having a corporate culture that expects such. This is not your typical suit-wearing, coffee-drinking, briefcase-carrying group of employees who put in a nine-to five. Instead of coffee breaks, expect foosball breaks. Instead of conference rooms, they use tree houses.

As the Huffington Post stated: “This isn’t your typical lazy Saturday at the beach.”

All of this is the brainchild of Joe Reynolds, who in 2007 launched the first Great Urban Race in his hometown of Chicago. With just his family and friends helping to stage the event, he established a national presence. Then, during a 2008 trip to Red Frog Beach in Panama, Joe envisioned an extreme 5K run with obstacles, mud and plenty of beer at the finish line. That would soon be known as the Warrior Dash, and the beach became the title of the company. Other kinds of events have since been added, and in five short years, over a million participants have joined in some sort of Red Frog experience.

An event like a Warrior Dash requires at least 300 truckloads of dirt, enough caution tape to run from Chicago to Memphis, 400,000 turkey legs, and a crew of Red Froggers.

When you join us in August, wear casual shoes, but don’t worry about getting muddy. The only race is getting to the bus on time as we head to so many terrific locations. Red Frog is no exception. The minute you arrive, you know something is unique. Brainstorming happens over at the “Fishbowl” where you settle in around a fire pit with snacks beneath a chandelier made up of 250 mason jars. In the Back Pond, you see something more like traditional workspaces. But who would have expected a zip-line flying overhead?

Welcome to Camp Red Frog headquarters for Red Frog Events. Chicago Tribune wrote: “When invited to tour Red Frog’s new 17,000-square-foot office, I expected to walk into a fraternity house. Instead, I entered a cheery summer camp.”

And that’s just the beginning at Red Frog. As a new employee, you’re referred to as a Tadpole. Corporate titles run from “Officer of Optimism” to “Lord of the Files” to “Keyboard Cowboy”. Of course it isn’t all just fun and games–wait a minute–actually I think it is all fun and games. But there is a huge amount of work put into trying to pull off the events, and everyone can be expected to put in long, long hours and weekends. To that end, not only do they provide conventional benefits such as 401(K) and 12 week Maternity Leave at 100% pay, but they also provide free food and drinks after 7:30 pm, iPhone reimbursement, unlimited vacation days, and a fully-paid international month-long Sabbatical every five years.

Frogs and Tadpoles (employee classifications) work together on a Lego conference table overlooking one of the best views of the Chicago skyline.

It’s clear that they live up to their beliefs:

  1. We live in passion
  2. We innovate and create
  3. We love to laugh and learn
  4. We’re team players to the core
  5. We have contagious energy
  6. We’re industry leaders
  7. We have big hearts and give back
  8. We’re open-minded
  9. We give seriously good high-fives
  10. We continue to grow as people

No wonder that Red Frog Events has been named by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as the Small Business of the Year in 2011.

One thought on “The Dash To Create A Great Culture

  1. Jeff,

    What a refreshing out of the box approach. I can’t wait to know more about Red Frog Events. Thanks for sharing. I believe in the power of enthusiasme called Superpromoter.

    Kind regards,
    Nils Schmeling
    N3Wstrategy

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