This spring, the Chopper Trading softball team learned a very important lesson about intramural sports: it’s not about winning, but about enjoying the sport, and supporting each other as a team. I won’t spend too much time talking about this year’s statistics but rather focus on how valuable I think it is that Chopper’s intramurals sports players devote their time and energy to supporting each other on the field, and in the office. Even when we lose a game, we look back at what we did wrong, and push ourselves and each other to do better the next time around.
Chopper’s soccer teams have held their own out on the field. The spring soccer team ended an otherwise positive season with a loss in the quarter finals two weeks ago. The summer soccer team started the season with a 3-0 win last week, after the team rallied behind the momentum created by two team members who scored a lot of goals. I hope their success proves to be a theme for the summer! Between intramurals and the World Cup, the Chopper Trading office is buzzing with enthusiasm for the sport.
Last, but not least, is everyone’s favorite beach sport – volleyball – which starts up in June. Chopper Trading will be represented by two teams that will play in the Wednesday night league games held at Oak Street Beach. To distinguish between them, one team has donned the name Chopper Traders, and the other is Chopper Developers. I’m told that one week, our two teams will face off against each other. I’m certain this will generate some healthy internal rivalry! I hope to see both teams make it to the playoffs this year, which would make for a great game for our players and probably an even better spectacle for their colleagues.
Overall, I think we’re all looking forward to a great summer here at Chopper Trading, both in terms of team work and team play!
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Right before Memorial Day Weekend, as we are gearing up for summer, the 33rd JP Morgan Corporate Challenge presented an opportunity for employees to represent Chopper Trading at one of the most popular corporate competitions of the year. This annual 3.5-mile challenge is both a foot race between teams representing Chicago area businesses, and a fundraiser for a Chicago area charity. Proceeds from this year’s race went to Get IN Chicago, a program that provides mentoring, cognitive/behavioral therapy, and parent leadership services to at-risk youth and their families in Chicago.
Competition was steep at this year’s sold out event. Chopper Trading was well represented, with 24 employees, amongst the 25,192 total participants that toed the line in Grant Park after work on May 22. Chopper’s fastest runner completed the race in 23 minutes and 34 seconds, with two of our other runners close behind him. Overall, Chopper had a strong showing against the nearly 600 participating companies represented in the race, including a number of industry peers.
More important than individual successes and team standings, is the support and camaraderie demonstrated by my colleagues at the race. The support they give each other during a competition is reflected in the support they give each other in the office, and helps to ensure Chopper’s success on a daily basis. Whether it’s a race, a basketball game, or a hard day at work, Chopper Trading employees make a great team.
For more updates, “Like” Raj Fernando on Facebook.
While the notorious Chicago winter is only now beginning to release its grip on the city, our Chopper Trading intramural teams have been anywhere but hunkered down in hibernation! On the contrary, quite a few employees have been taking advantage of the great indoors in order to stay active this winter.
For example, Chopper’s employee basketball team successfully made it to the play offs this year. As triumphant as they were during the season, the “Chopper Bucket Fills” unfortunately experienced uncharacteristically low shooting performance in the play offs. That said, they’re confident they will bounce back for a winning streak next season.
In the realm of e-sports, the Chopper team did very well and placed sixth out of 24 teams in Division 1. With the regular season completed, Chopper’s team will be participating the weekend of April 19-20 in the B-League playoff bracket – comprised of peers from some of the largest technology companies around the country – and playing for a pot of $1k for charity.
For those willing to brave the cold in preparation of milder weather, the Chopper soccer team has gotten rolling. Every Monday night, a group of our employees are out at Lincoln Park to take advantage of the turf field. In true Chopper fashion – I did name our company after my dog and we’re big supporters of pet philanthropic efforts – one of the players occasionally brings her dog, Oliver, to support the team. In a few weeks, our company softball team will also be playing at Lincoln Park one night per week.
By June, all of us will – hopefully – be enjoying the summer weather, and Chopper employees will be kicking off their shoes for beach volleyball. As one of the more popular sports around this office, Chopper usually has about three teams playing between leagues at Oak Street Beach and North Avenue Beach.
For more updates, “Like” Raj Fernando on Facebook.
Alongside a number of my colleagues and other local philanthropic-minded executives, I attended the Black & White Young Professionals Board Spring Gala on March 8. The gala was held at the Revel Downtown and served as an excellent opportunity to support another impactful Chicago-based non-profit: the Canine Therapy Corps (CTC).
CTC empowers and motivates individuals to lead healthier, happier lives by developing therapeutic relationships with animals. The organization accomplishes this by providing people in need with animal-assisted therapy services, free of charge. Through these programs, the CTC trains and certifies dogs of all different breeds. Certified dogs are then employed to visit individuals throughout Chicago, accompanied by their volunteer handlers.
The Young Professionals Board Gala included drinks, hors d’oeuvres, dinner and a silent auction – the proceeds of which went to support CTC’s programs and initiatives. The event served as a fantastic way for businesses and individuals alike to show their support and appreciation of CTC and everything that they provide our community.
More about Raj Fernando and Chopper Trading Philanthropy.
Two weeks ago a group of Chopper employees complemented our sponsorship of the Mardi for a Cure gala by attending the event, which supports a great cause while celebrating Carnival season. The event was hosted by Friends for a Cure of Diabetes, which is a charity dedicated to raising money to fund clinical and bench research at the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Without help from organizations like Friends for a Cure, new technologies would take many more years to develop and reach the people who need them most.
In addition to creating an enjoyable evening, the Friends for a Cure team achieved its most successful event ever. There were more than 600 people in attendance – an excellent turnout especially considering the snow – and auction items brought in over $425,000 for the charity. The auction included a wide selection of valuable and interesting items and services like a canine spa day, tickets to the skybox at a Cubs game, and getaways to exotic places like Carbarete, Dominican Republic; the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean; and the Mediterranean. The evening was a valiant effort to benefit a cause that affects so many people.
For more updates, “Like” Raj Fernando on Facebook.
Some of our employees here at Chopper Trading have found a way to apply their hobby of playing video games to further a philanthropic initiative.
Chopper Trading has joined an E-Sports After-Hours League, in which participants raise money from sponsors to compete in a video-game tournament; this approach is similar to gathering sponsors for a marathon or overnight charity walk. The Chopper Trading team is comprised of approximately 10 of our traders and developers, and this season they will compete against 50 teams from tech companies around the country, including industry giants like Amazon, Google, and Twitter.
This is another great way our firm can give back to the community. Most of the money raised in sponsorships by each team will go to a charity of that team’s choice. Chopper Trading’s sponsorship money will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network. This non-profit has enabled the success of thousands of children around the country by matching them each with an adult mentor who can act as both a friend and an invaluable source of advice and guidance. Chopper already has a fantastic, established relationship with BBBS and we hope that our E-Sports program will only strengthen it.
While the E-Sports season has just started, I couldn’t be more pleased with members of the firm finding a way to make their hobby benefit the larger community!
CEO Raj Fernando believes in social responsibility and strong community involvement for Chopper Trading. Connect with Raj Fernando on LinkedIn to learn more about the organizations he supports.
While I am typically more excited about watching versus playing sports, a group of Chopper Trading employees enjoy a game of basketball every now and then, and together they participate in a basketball league organized by Chicago Sport and Social. With a team of about 15 players, these guys are veterans to the league. Their team name is “Chopper Bucket Fills,” which is a word play on a trading term. Our first game of the season kicks off this week. With seven games in the season, and potentially, three play-off games, these guys deserve kudos for making the effort to show up for games and keep the team going during this tough winter weather.
Employee participation in sports leagues is a way to raise awareness about the Chopper Trading brand in the Chicago area. When our employees go out, get involved in the community, and engage with other organizations while carrying the Chopper Trading name, it shows that Chopper Trading isn’t just a company that sits idly in Chicago; it’s a company that weaves itself into the fabric of our city and the community.
Our annual holiday party is a way to wish Chopper employees the very best for their holiday season. It brings the entire team together with friends and family to enjoy each other’s company, and to enjoy a crucial component of any holiday festivity: delicious food. We had a lively dinner, drinks, conversation and a band – Maggie Speaks – that encouraged people to get up and out of their chairs to dance.
The closing of the year reminds us to thank our fellow Chopper team members for their hard work, and tremendous growth and improvement that they have demonstrated throughout 2013 – even though their efforts have been appreciated every day. I have said it before and I’ll say it again; I am so proud to work with some of the smartest, hardest-working individuals in the industry.
Happy holidays to all!
2013 Chopper Trading Holiday Party | See more event photos on Raj Fernando’s Flickr photostream
For many years now, I have attended the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to show my support for the organization’s ground-breaking philanthropic initiatives. This annual meeting is one of the most dynamic events I attend all year, and I am always inspired by the accomplishments that are showcased.
The purpose of CGI is to convene global leaders from across the political and economic spectrum to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. To date, the initiative has spurred investments and donations for philanthropic causes valued at nearly $90 billion dollars.
The annual meeting is a time to identify priorities for the year ahead, encourage discussion between global leaders, and, to rally CGI members. Held in New York, the theme of the 2013 conference was “Mobilizing for Impact.” Lectures and meetings focused on empowering organizations to tap into their potential, as well as women as leaders, and youth through education.
This year I learned that CGI-facilitated projects will provide for two million girls around the world to enroll in school, nearly 12 million children to receive a better education, and more than $7 billion to be invested in or loaned to small- and medium-sized businesses. I’m honored to be a member of CGI and I look forward to continuing to support this organization’s remarkable accomplishments.
Chopper Trading’s sponsorship of the annual PAWS Fur Ball is one of my favorite ways to give back to the Greater Chicago area, by helping to build ‘No Kill’ local communities for cats and dogs. PAWS has had a tremendous impact in the lives of animals and humans alike, by helping the two find each other, and by setting new standards in the way that homeless animals are treated. Since our firm is named after a dog I found through PAWS – my dog Chopper – it’s only fitting that the company give back to this organization.
The Fur Ball, held at the famous Drake Hotel, is one of the only black tie events I have been to where canine guests are treated as well as – if not better than –human guests! The dogs in attendance were able to enjoy a gourmet buffet, a complimentary spa treatment, and first class pet-sitting while their owners enjoyed live entertainment and dancing. There was even a dog communicator in attendance this year, which if nothing else sparked some interesting conversations.
As part of the fundraiser, PAWS held both a silent and live auction with unique prizes to generate some much-needed funds for the organization. Every year I’m impressed by the items up for bid; the notables this year included two all-inclusive tickets to the 2014 Super Bowl, the chance to rub elbows with celebrities on the red carpet of the premiere of the film “Transcendence”, a tour of some of the best golf greens in the country, and a ski trip.
With more than 700 people in attendance – including guests such as well-known musician Billy Corgan – the gala was a successful fundraiser, and by far one of my favorite events of the year!