A unique opportunity
Playing a part behind the scenes in Glasgow 2014 was a unique opportunity for Harper Macleod, from both a legal and wider perspective. The eyes of the world were on the city where the firm began life a quarter of a century before.
Glasgow underwent a transformation to get ready, fuelled by a real feeling of optimism, positivity and anticipation. Seeing how our people embraced the opportunity, from Partner to trainee, and focused on a common goal was perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the project.
From our perspective, the Games could only be a success if everyone behind the scenes at the firm was behind our efforts. Looking back, that was never in doubt.
While our role as Legal Advisers and sponsors of the event were important, it was also a great platform to get involved and be part of the cultural experience.
We had made the Games central to the firm's image and culture over a three-year period, and with our joint role as Legal Advisers and sponsors of Glasgow 2014, we had more reason than most to get into the spirit well ahead of the Games themselves ... and we did.
The health and wellbeing of everyone at Harper Macleod is of paramount importance to us as a firm and we have long promoted health and physical activity in the workplace.
As Legal Advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games the Fit In ’14 campaign perfectly complemented our existing and planned initiatives.Rona Cargill, HR Director, Harper Macleod
We encouraged everyone within the firm to get involved with the Games in every way they could, and a number of our people were successfully selected as volunteers. The army of 15,000 Glasgow 2014 Clyde-siders became a symbol of the friendly Games, with visitors from around the world wowed by the welcome they received. Behind the scenes we advised on the employment law aspects of a massive recruitment process, the biggest Scotland has seen. But on the front line, from drivers to those helping spectators, some of those smiling faces were ours.
A Clyde-siders tale
Susan Breen, a paralegal in our Inverness office, was chosen to be a Hospitality Team Member for the Opening Ceremony at Celtic Park, and the Hampden Park Precinct Area during Games time. A brush with royalty was just one of the highlights of her time.
"The Opening Ceremony was an amazing experience of a lifetime. I had to direct VIP guests to the west executive entrance, waving my hospitality lollipop as I went (you could see it on the One Show at the back of the crowd!)
"On my way to my break with a couple of other Clyde-siders during the Opening Ceremony night, we were stopped at a corner outside the stadium by a policeman who asked us to wait. The next moment the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh appeared before us and got into their car. They had to wait there until they were called to drive into the arena. Their bodyguards were also there and they were all so friendly and relaxed. We had just caught our breath and continued on to the nearby Emirates Arena for our break. There, we found ourselves making our way through the athletes from all corners of the Commonwealth, as they all waited very patiently to go in to the arena for the athletes parade.
"Everything was so friendly and I loved my role. It was a fantastic experience and a great honour."
Queen's baton relay
Her Majesty The Queen launched the Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace on 9 October 2013 at a public ceremony featuring Scotland's greatest-ever Commonwealth and Olympic athletes, Allan Wells MBE and Sir Chris Hoy MBE.
While HM Chief Executive Martin Darroch was in attendance, in Edinburgh we marked the event in style with an event addressed by the designers of the Baton itself, 4c Design.
The baton set off on its 288-day journey around the Commonwealth and did not return to Scotland until 14 June 2014, where our Athlete Ambassador, wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn, was given the honour of bringing the Queen's Baton back to the home nation.
For the next 40 days it travelled the length and breadth of Scotland, and we celebrated the Queen's Baton's arrival into Edinburgh and Inverness in style with events to mark the occasion.
As with the volunteers, we encouraged Team HM to get involved and they did.
Five of our own people were lucky enough to be named batonbearers, playing their part in an event which has captured the imagination of the entire country.
Get fit for the Games
The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was the most exciting event to take place in Scotland in our lifetimes. Like everyone else in the country and beyond, we were determined to enjoy the experience.
We even won a prize for our efforts, lifting the Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative at the inaugural Scotland's Best Employer Awards in November 2014.
From competitions to win a visit from Games' mascot Clyde the Thistle to a school or sports club, to quizzes, sporting challenges and more, the Games became part of life at Harper Macleod.
The central pillar of our efforts was Get Fit for the Games, our initiative to encourage everyone within the firm to participate in sporting activity, keep fit and lead a healthy life style.
We tried out a whole host of Commonwealth Games events, from cycling round the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome to rolling the jack at Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre. Ping pong on the Boardroom table and taking on allcomers at Touch rugby, if there was a sporting experience to be had we did it.
The whole experience culminated with Going for Gold, an internal competition which ran throughout Games time. Each area of the firm was given a nation and Team Scotland athlete to support, and daily challenges allowed them to accumulate points. It's fair to say that we never realised how competitive we were until this point.
Our offices became a blur of flags and colour, and as the competition heated up the lengths people went to knew no bounds. Our Dispute Resolution experts won the day, as usual, as Team Cameroon, but for once it wasn't about winning ... No, honestly, it wasn't.
Tour de Baton and Tour de Scotland
Part of our Get Fit for the Games activity saw us launch the Tour de Baton cycle challenge in February 2014, a month-long competition which gave teams within the firm the chance to win tickets for the Games by covering as much of the Queen's Baton Relay route as possible on exercise bikes in our offices.
Team Tonga (aka Insurance) won the day, covering an impressive 274km in one day.
The Tour de Baton proved to be invaluable experience for the Tour de Scotland later in the year. This challenge, which raised money for Breast Cancer Care, saw us take on other businesses in a race around Scotland Ã¢â‚¬" and we won.
Competitiveness and a will to win. Just what everyone wants from their lawyers.
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