September 23, 2011


Toronto, ON.

Stéfan Danis, Mandrake and NEXCareer CEO, has travelled half way around the world – twice – to participate in 250 KM foot races in the Gobi and Atacama Deserts.  The first time, in the Gobi Desert, he ran alone and came in as the first Canadian and won in his age group (40-50). The second time, in the Chilean Atacama Desert, he and two other Canadians formed a team and won in the Team competition. In 2011, he's decided to pursue a third experience, the Sahara Race, another 250 KM foot race hosted by RacingThePlanet, and this time he has recruited a group of industry colleagues to join him, all the while working to raise $100,000 for NABS. At press release time, the group had raised >$78,000.

The fundraising program started in June 2009 when Danis participated in the Gobi March, a six-day, 250km foot race, which Time Magazine ranks as one of the top ten  endurance competition in the world.  Danis chose to leverage his participation in the event and  raise money for  The National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS) – (link to www.nabs.org) .   Crossing the finish line, Danis was the first in his age group and first Canadian, finishing 14th overall.  

In 2010, he continued his efforts for Nabs  through a second race, this time in the Atacama Desert in Chile, raising $65,000 in total.  October 2, Danis entered  the 3rd of the 4 legs of this punishing series,  running through the Sahara Desert

Danis describes his upcoming race: "This completes a trilogy for me; an "I-We-All" journey with two benefits: First I can support a community of 8 Toronto colleagues who will all have a transformative experience while making a big difference for Nabs. It will be the hardest thing they've ever done, and they will get that triumphant feeling of crossing the finish line after a year-long preparation. Second, with a different group of team mates, I want to see how we will come together, try to win again, against some of the best ultra-runners in the world; including last year's solo champion."

As a visited organizations in the last year and spoke about overcoming adversity, individuals started signing up for the Sahara Race too.

The list includes:

  • Alison Simpson
  • David Gibb
  • Gavin Lucas
  • Colin Nanka
  • Mariska Kempers
  • Sandy Johnson
  • Anne-Marie Tseretopoulos
  • Pat Sullivan
  • As well as Ernie Votis and Sophie Collett who will be part of Stefan's 3 person team.

Danis has written a book on his Gobi experience, focusing on overcoming adversity. The book, titled The Gobi Runner, was launched at the Ultra Supper Club on September 21, 2011. To request a copy of the book, contact Dijana Ebach (below).

In addition, Danis has captured his Gobi and Atacama experiences in an informative seminar called, 'Overcoming Adversity'.   The key themes are 'Leadership, Teamwork, Setting and Exceeding Goals'.      
The session can be customized for any organization and runs from 45 – 120 minutes – and is excellent for team building or a 'Lunch & Learn'.  For more information check the website or contact Dijana Ebach (below)

Anyone interested in making a contribution to help Mr. Danis and his runner colleagues reach their fundraising goal can visit www.running4nabs.com. Donations for as little as $20 will be accepted, so anyone working in any sector of the industry can contribute. And rather than just ask for donations, Danis has also offered career management and outplacement services to all donors who make a contribution of $100 or more.  Each donor will receive a gift voucher for NEXCareer services, which can be transferred to family or friends who have been laid off and are unable to access outplacement coverage.

For photos, information and interviews with Stéfan Danis:
Dijana Ebach – Director, Customer Experience
Mandrake Management Consultants
416-922-5600 x255 / debach@mandrake.ca