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Jul. 26, 2012
Share Your Epiphany Winners: Part 2
Yesterday we announced the first three winners of the Share Your Epiphany contest. To help share their inspiring tales, here are the final two winning epiphanies in their entirety. Glen Weinzimer (Hollywood, Florida) donated $5,000 to The SMART Ride and Alissa Magrum (Austin, Texas), who donated $5,000 to Colin’s Hope.

CLIF Bar was born on a bike in 1990 during a 175-mile ride in Northern California on which Clif Bar & Company Founder and Co-CEO Gary Erickson had “the epiphany” that he could make a better tasting energy bar. Two years later the first CLIF Bars hit the market and the company was off and running. This past spring, we celebrated our 20th anniversary by asking people to submit their own epiphanies for the Share Your Epiphany contest. We selected five winners who each awarded $5,000 from us to the nonprofit of their choice in their name.

Name: Alissa Magrum

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Tell Us About Your Epiphany

March 2010. Austin, Texas. I was a mom and charity athlete working 60 hours a week for an amazing cause (drop-out prevention) and organization (Communities In Schools of Central Texas), but something just didn't feel right. Something was missing. I was not fulfilled in my work life AND my body was injured. The Epiphany trigger was an MRI showed a torn left hip labrum and I was scheduled for hip surgery that would sideline me from running and biking (which is my sanity) for at least 4 months. My salvation: SWIMMING! I was told that I'd be in the water A LOT post-surgery. I am goal driven, so I needed a swimming goal and a goal that was not just about me.

So, I called Colin's Hope – a local water safety and drowning prevention non-profit founded by the parents of Colin Holst, a four-year old who tragically drowned in 2007. I was already a volunteer with the organization. I could swim and raise money for them, so I recruited some friends. We trained all summer, swam 4 miles in Lake Austin and raised $19,000! The Epiphany: After the swim, Colin's dad asked me to leave my very stable, secure and familiar job of 10 years to become the FIRST Executive Director and only staff person for Colin's Hope. I was scared! YET I knew a cliff to jump from to get me onto a new journey – one that would challenge me, excite me and allow me to work for a cause I believed in. Much like Gary's parking lot walk, I made a huge decision because I felt the energy inside me shift. I have now been the ED of Colin's Hope for 1.5 years and WOW! Nothing is perfect but my work is helping to save lives. AND I get to swim A LOT and pass it off as work. Thanks, Clif Bar, for the inspiration.

What Have You Done Since Your Epiphany?

The Epiphany to change the course of my career has been monumental. I have gained and strengthened my leadership skills. I helped catapult a start-up non-profit (and myself) into a HUGE phase of growth. I have proven to myself that opportunities to change yourself and your world will present themselves to you if you are open and if you let them. I know that the Epiphany has impacted me but it has also impacted many others through the work of Colin's Hope. Here is a snapshot of the impact ripples. I swam more than 100 miles to help raise water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning. I have organized swimmers and together we raised over $90,000 for drowning prevention. I have ensured that over 100,000 water safety packets get out to families so that they can keep their children safe around water.

And the money we raised has provided swim lessons to children who could not afford them otherwise. All of that from one decision – the decision to throw the easy and familiar life to the side in exchange for the uncertain and the unfamiliar. How amazing it was to choose to listen to my inner voice and seek out the challenge – ultimately changing my life and the lives of so many others impacted by Colin's Hope.

How Have You Sustained the Spirit of Your Epiphany?

My Epiphany is fueled by my energy, passion and sheer knowledge that I am making a difference. I am powered by the passion of our volunteers and commitment of Colin's parents. I am more self-aware and know how to listen to my inner compass when it says change the course. I have made a pact with myself to always continue growing and reaching for the right thing – even if it is not the easy thing. And that change is sometimes necessary and what we need.

Name: Glen Weinzimer

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Tell Us About Your Epiphany

While speaking to a group of riders who had just finished an AIDS Bicycle ride from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, I got angry that so many people had worked so hard to raise money to help those living with AIDS and none of it – zilch, nada, zero – went to the organizations because of expenses to produce the event. In talking to everyone, I made a challenge that we could do better. We could do what big companies could not and we could change the world in some small way. Soon after that I read a quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed; it's the only thing that ever has.” And – BAM – there was my epiphany.

I could take that anger from the ride and make good on it. I would gather friends together and produce an AIDS Bike Ride that would guarantee 100% of what the participants raised went to AIDS service organizations and, ultimately, to those in need of everything from housing to medical supplies, psycho social services to food and transportation assistance. I talked to friends, and with each person I talked to, they too had the epiphany and belief that we could make a difference. We could change the world in some way and we could ultimately honor those who have passed and those at risk as well as those living with HIV/AIDS.

What Have You Done Since Your Epiphany?

Started what is now known as The SMART Ride (Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride) in 2003 and to date we have raised over $3.3 million dollars and have kept to Margaret Mead's quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed; it’s the only thing that ever has." We worked with all volunteers, the ride sold out last year, raised over $681,000 in one year and the money went to 6 AIDS service organizations in Florida. Over 8,000 people donated to the event last year and the community continues to come together to help produce the event. I am amazed by how many people help us with in-kind services (including Clif Bar). I feel good every morning and am thankful for the epiphany that allowed me to realize I could do anything.

How Have You Sustained the Spirit of Your Epiphany?

Now in our 9th year, we have created our own 501(c)3, started the “10% lifeline,” which helps fulfill smaller needs throughout the year for agencies in need. We have gained a national reputation for doing something incredible (giving back 100%) and have made the event something that is owned by the community. We have attracted incredible in-kind sponsors to help with everything from lending trucks to providing food, all allowing us to keep to our guarantee. Next year we will introduce two additional one day rides to supplement our two day ride and raise more money to give to more people to continue to prove that individuals CAN and DO make a difference and you can't always rely on big government or others. I am proud that my epiphany turned into something more than just a personal accomplishment or awakening but has spread to others.
Posted by:
Dean, the PR Dude

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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