Company Culture – Five Ideas for Your Team to Give Back

Colleagues Teambuilding & Volunteering

Colleagues Teambuilding & Volunteering

Company culture plays a big role in employee satisfaction and retention. Some companies embrace a work hard, play hard ideology, others embrace giving back to the communities in which they are located. Deloitte, Salesforce, Stryker and others listed in the March 2015 Fortune article by Benjamin Snyder (@WriterSnyder) pay their employees for their time while they give back. Employees are encouraged to get into the community and share their talents. They do good works for others, they can feel good about their achievements and proud of their company for supporting their efforts. This is a triple win!

Many groups enjoy rolling up their sleeves and spending time with their colleagues to volunteer. At CEI, we have created short, impactful programs to offer a balance of teambuilding and volunteering that can either stand alone or cap off an all day meeting or conference. We often customize the program to align with the meeting message, conference theme or company’s focus. Here we share with you some popular ideas for your company to pitch in as a group to help your community.

With Kids In Mind

Operation Toy Box volunteers making a difference

Operation Toy Box volunteers making a difference


Operation Toy Box is a popular activity that benefits children from a local charity or hospital. Volunteers have their own fond memories of playing with their favorite toys when they were kids. They instantly connect with the challenge of building a toy chest for a child in need and filling it with board games, stuffed animals and sports equipment. Teams compete in challenges to win their children accessories such as stickers and decorative items to make their toy chests stand out. The best part of the experience is when the children come in to the room at the end of the build. Here at CEI, we try to coordinate this reveal as often as we can. The volunteers are excited to see the children and the children are overwhelmed when they receive the toy chests! Tears flow, and heartfelt words are expressed…it’s a wonderful experience for everyone.

Operation Toy Box recipient thanks volunteers

Operation Toy Box recipient thanks volunteers

Another child oriented CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) event is Back2School. Teams compete in classroom themed activities to win vouchers that can be redeemed for school supplies. Backpacks and Teacher Kits are filled with necessary items to get the school year started off on the right foot. This is a great event to host in late July or August before school starts, but kids’ supplies need to be replenished during the winter months as well, making this a year round hit!

To promote literacy, volunteers might resonate with CEI’s Kid Lit program. Participants assemble story time essentials like stuffing a teddy bear, making a comfy pillow, decorating a bookmark and selecting a special book for a young reader. While many children have access to books at school or their local library, some do not have books they can call their own. This list of 11 Facts about Literacy in America, compiled by DoSomething.org, sheds light on the literacy issues in our country today. By choosing the Kid Lit event, your company creates a hands-on way to encourage children to develop a love for reading.

Adults Need a Boost Too

Boxes and cans go from hole in one to food pantry with Putt Putt for Charity

Boxes and cans go from hole in one to food pantry with Putt Putt for Charity

At CEI, we like to put a competitive spin on volunteering. One way we do this is with our Putt Putt Engineering for Charity program. This is perfect for all those people in your group who imagine themselves on the links with professional golfers Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth. Teams design their own hole in one challenge using boxes, cans and cases of food. Once building is done, each team presents their green to the judges and, if time allows, they play a round or two before donating all of the grocery items to a food bank, soup kitchen or other charity. A study conducted by the Greater Chicago Food Depository, showed that 1 in 6 people in Cook County are not sure when or where they will get their next meal. Putt Putt Engineering for Charity is a fun and easy way for your team to help so many in need.

A new activity we added to our offerings is One Team: Chemo Care. Volunteers create chemo care packages which are donated through a local Chicago charity called Lemons of Love to area hospitals. Teams compete in challenges to win additional items for their boxes. Upon completing the boxes, if available, a member from the charity will come to thank your team. If your team wants to help “Cancer Suck Less” as the charity’s motto goes, then this event is for you!

Team building with a charitable twist goes a long way to help an employee feel good about themselves, their co-workers and their company. There are many details that need to be put together to create and execute a successful CSR event. The key factor is selecting a cause meaningful to your organization. CEI can handle the rest!

Contact us!
Corporate Event Interactive
312-540-1000

Top 5 Team Building Themes for Foodies

Food Truck Frenzy Green Team

Food Truck Frenzy Green Team

Food brings people together. Inspire team building by gathering everyone for some fun around a prep table! We encourage friendly competition at our events so teams compete in challenges to win bonus ingredients. Of course taste testing is also a requirement! We hope you get inspired to try some of these mouthwatering activities!

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza is a Chicago favorite! Teams come up with some interesting combinations from spicy chorizo to sweet pineapple and bacon…the results are delicious. We enjoy this theme for locals as well as visitors as a great way to introduce a Chicago staple. Pizza is one item that pretty much everyone enjoys and it’s fun to see what will win over the judges.

Speaking of spicy, teams tend to get into Sassy Salsa Showdown. Throw in a guacamole challenge and now we’re talking about a serious appetizer competition. This is a great team building activity to lead up to a group dinner. Add some margaritas and you’ve got a party going.

Mixing things up with Creative Cocktails

Mixing things up with Creative Cocktails


It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! If your team likes mixology, we suggest breaking out the little drink umbrellas. We provide a variety of liquors including vodka, whiskey and gin along with some interesting ingredients to inspire your group of bartenders. Items may include local herbs, organic juices and even bold spices. Some teams get a blender mixing any cocktail with some shaved ice for a frosty treat. Consider challenging teams to make a cocktail to compliment your meeting theme.

Food trucks are all the rage, and our latest food team building event, Food Truck Frenzy does not disappoint! Teams receive a food category such as BBQ or Panini truck and are challenged to create a signature dish. Trucks are decorated according to theme and awards given for décor, taste and creativity. Teams make enough for everyone to sample, and this team building event provides a good appetizer for a cocktail party or pre-dinner challenge.

Food Collection for the Greater Chicago Food Depository

Food Collection for the Greater Chicago Food Depository


A wonderful opportunity for companies to combine their love of food, and team building with a charitable twist is to pack boxes for a local food pantry. Teams complete food themed challenges to win additional items for their boxes. We recommend having a representative from the selected charity or food pantry come to receive the generous donation and share more information about their cause, when they are available.

Let us know if you want to get in the kitchen with us… We’d love to work with you to cook up some excitement at your next team building function!

Contact us!
Corporate Event Interactive
312-540-1000

Mobile Room Escapes For Any Size Group

Trapped in the Tropics Greeters

Mobile Room Escape
Room escapes are popping up all over the US and becoming a popular twist on the traditional team building exercise. A typical room escape involves a small group of people literally locked in a room. In order to get out, they must find clues and solve puzzles to locate the hidden key within a set period of time. These challenges are excellent team building opportunities because everyone has a chance to contribute at different levels to solve riddles, put puzzles together or flip over chairs to find the way to escape!

Corporate Event Interactive has developed a mobile room escape concept on a much larger scale for our clients with up to 300 participants! Instead of escaping a room, our adventure has your team escaping an island. Trapped in the Tropics involves a series of islands (aka tables) each with its own set of clues, puzzles and locked treasure chests to keep every team member engaged.

Trapped in the Tropics Cabana


No phones or electronic devices maybe used to solve the clues. Teams work together to escape the island. This program offers a variety of puzzles and an opportunity to see who takes the lead as captain on certain puzzles and who jumps in on others. Our staff is available to help keep teams on track. After all, we don’t want to leave anyone stranded.

Titanic Panic

Photo Credit: Titanic by Jeffrey via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Our second room escape concept has an ocean theme. Titanic Panic is based on facts from the historic tragedy of 1912 when the great ocean liner hit an iceberg and sunk into the North Atlantic Ocean. Participants are assigned roles based on the actual passenger list from the Titanic. How your team collaborates can determine if you sink or swim!

History buffs especially enjoy the attention to detail this activity offers, though anyone who likes solving clues will appreciate the experience. Many of the activities happen simultaneously so teams divide and conquer the puzzles as they are presented. Everyone stays engaged which makes this unique team building activity particularly successful. As one treasure box code is cracked, a smaller one is found along with a new challenge. Teams continue to problem solve until they open the final chest or the clock runs out of time!

If you are looking for a new idea for your next team building experience, gather a hundred or so of your colleagues and join us for a room escape like you have never experienced before!

Contact us!
Corporate Event Interactive
312-540-1000

Assembling the Troops to Feed a Community!

The Holidays are upon us! Looking for teambuilding activities to engage your employees all the while giving back to the community you work and play in? We’ve got them!

For December Blog

On November 4th, 2015, Corporate Event Interactive (CEI) produced Feeding Chicago for its client, the Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. It was a team building meets CSR event during their Annual Meeting. M&IW employees took part in a series of team building challenges and trivia while building camaraderie and at the same time, giving back to the community. After each challenge was completed, teams received food vouchers which were redeemed at the “general store” for food items. Teams assembled and decorated boxed lunches and wrote inspirational messages to be included. How fitting!

For December Blog

The boxed lunches/dinners were then donated to Cornerstone Community Outreach which offers shelter and services to homeless and low-income families in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. A representative from Cornerstone visited during the event to thank the teams for building awareness and to generously accept the appreciated donations.

The clients really enjoyed participating in the day’s activities, especially assembling the boxed lunches/dinners. They also brought extra non-perishable food items themselves from home to donate to Cornerstone.

Way to go M&IW team!

For December Blog

It was awesome and everyone had a great time! Another successful event!!!” – Jean Johnson, President & CEO Meetings & Incentives Worldwide

By: Rosita Carobelli-Zukowski
All in Place Communications and Creative Design
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Coming Together for a Corporate Feud

For November Blog

When was the last time your Corporate Feud was a funny, engaging one? Our teambuilding activity (based on the widely-known, long-running Family Feud game show) was exactly that for one of our valued clients, Brightstar Corp. On October 15th, 2015, we ran The Brightstar Game Show Medley at the welcoming DoubleTree Hotel.

This brought their department together as a “family”, a corporate family. It allowed each individual to depend on each other, engage with one another, in answering the best they could to the different survey questions being posed within an allotted time frame. It was a funny way for everyone to learn to rely on each other outside their day-to-day office space. Yet, it still helped to meet the end goal: the importance of coming together, regardless of the specific environment, to complete tasks that result in successful business outcomes. The more you trust your co-workers, the better your working relationships will be. Creating for better everyday business practices.

If you can’t trust your family, who can you trust?

The day proved this as the different activities rolled out. There were winners and there were good sports (who earned a delicious box of Rice Roni … perfect for dinner that night, we might add). What really counts is that they were able to work as a team and deliver results … together.

“It was great. Everyone had a good time. It was a GREAT experience and everyone enjoyed themselves!!! Thank you!” ~ Brightstar Corp.

For November Blog2

By: Rosita Carobelli-Zukowski
All in Place Communications and Creative Design
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