Getting Cintas Ready for the Workday

What would a multi-million dollar service organization have in common with Special Olympics Illinois?  You would be surprised!  Well-known for their uniform rentals among other product and service offerings, Cintas wanted to kick off their 2018 year with “perseverance” as their theme, and thought who would better embody that quality than Special Olympics athletes!

So on a Friday morning in October, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, a small army of Global Messengers descended upon the Cintas annual sales meeting to share their secret to success.  After learning the Special Olympics oath, Cintas employees were surprised to hear about the depth and breadth of programs at SOILL, and that the qualities that influence their professional success, are often the same as those resulting in our success at the gym, on the track, or in the pool; teamwork, persistence, discipline, resilience, and joy in what we do.  Vice President of Sales, Chris Duffy agreed, “When you look at what these athletes do… their belief system, the way they persevere, and the grit that they have, it directly aligns with what we look for in our partners and our corporate culture”.

Global Messenger and SOILL Board Member, Garrett Anderson delivered the keynote address, calling on his personal experience with overcoming obstacles to inspire and motivate the 300 attendees.  After a standing ovation, the audience broke up into five teams to participate in their own version of the “Cintas Games”.  In addition to Garrett, Georgia Hunter, Jose Moreno, Ryan Murray, and Lisa Noble served as honorary coaches, cheering on the competitors, and calling the occasional foul with a friendly wink and a knowing nod.

When the fierce competition was over and the dust settled, the Des Moines, Iowa team won the gold medal, Madison, Wisconsin earned silver, and Normal, Illinois took home the bronze.  Special Olympics Illinois ended the morning in the winning column too.  Cintas had assembled more than 500 sun safety kits including sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen, and UV bracelets for use by our athletes this summer.  Even more exciting was the pledge by each Cintas sales office, to hold a months-long campaign to raise money for our 50th Anniversary celebration in July of 2018.

Thank you, Cintas… for your willingness to learn from our athletes. We look forward to celebrating our shared values and more at the 50th Anniversary Celebration and well into our next fifty years!

If your organization is interested in learning more about what you have in common with Special Olympics Illinois, contact Michelle Weiner, Director of Strategic Development at 312-972-5616 or

See Garret’s speech on YouTube.