One of the things I love about being the co-founder of DISRUPTHR Los Angeles and putting together events is meeting amazing HR and business leaders who are doing really great work. One such meeting happened just after Memorial Day when a speaker from our last event introduced me to Doug Prusoff and James Pollerana. Doug and James work for The Movember Foundation. They are the reason so many of my friends grow moustaches in November to raise awareness about men’s health.
I went and visited Doug and James in their Los Angeles location, complete with barbershop, and was really impressed with what they are doing and how they are doing it. While onsite they told me they would be attending SHRM18 and that this was their first big conference like this ever. Part of my commitment as a SHRM blogger is to highlight great sessions or exhibitors I think may be worthwhile for conference attendees to visit. I honestly can’t think of a more worthwhile group than this one.
I asked Doug if he would mind answering a few questions for this post and he was happy to oblige. Here’s what we talked about.
I thought everyone had heard of Movember, but when I visited, James told me I would be surprised at how many had not. For people who are unclear or unaware of all that Movember does, can you give us the elevator speech?
The Movember Foundation is the only global charity that raises funds and awareness solely for men’s health issues. The basic concept behind our Foundation is that unfortunately, men are not great about taking care of themselves. Men typically don’t talk about health, don’t take action when they need to, and as a result, die on average six years earlier than women. The whole goal for our foundation is to help create a world where men live healthier, happier, and longer lives. We do this on a year-round basis through the conversations we create and the funds we raise that support programs in the areas of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Since 2003, the support of more than 5 million men and women has funded over 1,200 innovative projects across more than 20 countries.
Before Movember, there didn’t seem to be anyone really focusing on men’s health – at least not in such an open way as far as I can remember. Why do you think that is?
When the Movember Foundation was created, our founders couldn’t believe how little people were talking about men’s health. They looked around and saw all the amazing campaigns in October for Breast Cancer Awareness and the pink ribbon movement and yet there was nothing out there that was focusing on men. Historically speaking, men have been taught to not talk about their problems. We’ve been told to “man up” and not show signs of weakness or vulnerability. These deeply ingrained societal expectations have put men at a really significant disadvantage when it comes to actively engaging in their own well-being. The Movember Foundation is committed to reducing the stigma around talking about these issues and helping to create a world where men feel comfortable taking action when it’s needed.
Tell us about the trademark moustache and the significance behind it?
Over the years, Movember has become internationally known for our fun and innovative fundraising campaign where we get men to grow moustaches for the month formerly known as November. The official rules are, you sign up on Movember.com, start clean shaven on Movember 1st and grow and groom just a moustache for the 30 days of the month. The growth of a new moustache is an instant conversation starter and allows our community to become walking, talking billboards for the thirty days of Movember.
I know this is your first SHRM conference. What made you decide to attend this year?
As a nonprofit organization, the decision to attend SHRM was not one we made lightly. To us, the conference represents a really unique opportunity to demonstrate the value Movember can bring to organizations looking to engage and educate employees while simultaneously having a really good time and making a substantial impact. While we’ve never attended a conference quite like SHRM before, we’re hopeful we can have some really amazing conversations and build relationships with the right people within these organizations to help take Movember to the next level.
How do you work with organizations?
Movember works with organizations in a variety of ways. A lot of our growth to this point has been largely grassroots in nature, but we have been very fortunate to receive some amazing support from corporate partners. As an organization, Movember does co-branded marketing campaigns, provides a fun and engaging fundraising opportunity for employees to participate in, and helps create customized health and wellness educational materials. We are truly the sweet spot between having fun and doing good and are committed to making sure organizations want to continue supporting the cause for years to come.
Why do you think this topic is important for organizations to think about?
Men’s health is an issue that impacts all of us. Everyone has some sort of man in their life whether it’s a father, brother, grandfather, boyfriend, friend, or co-worker. Because of this, I think it’s important that organizations recognize the severity of the issues that affect men and help try and stop men from dying too young from largely preventable causes.
Where can people find you at SHRM (booth number) and online?
For more information on the Movember Foundation, please check out Movember.com and come find us at Booth #4157 during the conference. If you’re having any trouble tracking us down, we’ll be the guys with moustaches!
I appreciate Doug taking the time to share a little more about the foundation and I can’t wait to see them at SHRM18. Be sure to stop by, chat with these guys, get your moustache, and see how your organization might be able to partner with them for a cool fundraiser that is different than all the others.
Originally published on Acacia HR Solutions blog.