Inspiration · Singapore

Can Your Boss Force You To Be Healthy?

by On Apr 19, 2016

Success isn't just about what you accomplish in your life, it's about what you inspire others to do.

Three Corporate Leaders; One Shared Commitment to Run!

Don’t envy corporate leaders. They make good money, but the burdens they bear as a result of so much responsibility can take a toll on their lives, keeping them so perpetually busy, some say they have no time to spend the money they make!

Wise corporate leaders know they must find ways to diffuse stress and pressure, and many turn to running to do just that. We’d like to introduce you to three of Singapore’s most respected movers and shakers: James Sullivan, Olivia Chia and Stuart Haynes.

All three prove it’s possible to become role models based on something other than the amount of money and power they command!

Meet the Big Three

James Sullivan, Managing Director of Asia Equity Research for J.P.Morgan

J.P. Morgan is lucky to have James Sullivan on staff because this dynamic Managing Director of Asia Equity Research runs rings around other financial experts on the job, and he never met a distance he couldn’t conquer either.

Three Corporate Leaders; One Shared Commitment to Run!

James Sullivan, Managing Director of Asia Equity Research for J.P.Morgan.

Clocking in at 23 minutes at the 2015 J. P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge (JPMCC), he was the fastest male runner in his 40s from J.P.Morgan. Does he rely upon marathons to stay fit? Hardly. Sullivan runs about 8k to and from his office, three days a week. Once a passionate watersport enthusiast, he began running in order to make more time for his kids.

Olivia Chia, Business Development Adviser at Linklaters

Olivia is the quintessential go-getter. At age 26, she ran the 2015 JPMCC in 27:39, crediting her cross-training routines — weight training, spinning and trendy bodywork classes — for her performance. As a Business Development Adviser for the London-based Linklaters Legal Services, it’s hard to get Chia to stop once she begins to enthuse about how much running contributes to her success within Singapore’s competitive business community.

Three Corporate Leaders; One Shared Commitment to Run!

Olivia Chia, Business Development Adviser at Linklaters.

Understanding that corporate and running success are synchronistic, she believes that it's easier to deal with competition at work when one undertakes a competitive sport like running. "Both require discipline, focus, time and dedication."

Stuart Haynes, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley

Both James Sullivan and Olivia Chia are proud of their performances at last year’s Corporate Challenge, but they give due respect to the guy who won the contest — Stuart Haynes, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley.

Three Corporate Leaders; One Shared Commitment to Run!

Stuart Haynes, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley.

He took first prize two years in a row at the Corporate Challenge, and having just recently turned 40, he has added a few new challenges to his athletic performance: now that he’s advanced to the ripe old age of 40, he will have to move into the age category that’s the fastest one of all.

Haynes’ most recent claim to fame was running the Okinawa Marathon, but it matters not which race he enters, he strives to win at work and on the marathon circuit.

Their Philosophies

James Sullivan
He admits that his interest in running harks back to his teen years. At about 14, he undertook 10k races in and around his Connecticut hometown and still recalls feeling in awe of older guys he competed against. That respect has remained strong.

Now that he’s in his 40s, he considers himself a better runner than ever since he must work hard to earmark the time required to get in his conditioning runs.

Sure, he was declared the fastest 40-something male runner from J.P.Morgan at last year’s Corporate Challenge, but he credits discipline after college with making sure he literally and figuratively stays on track. His first high-profile event? The 1995 New York Marathon.

When he’s not working or running, Sullivan stays busy setting a great example for his kids at home because he has found the secret to balancing family-work-fitness by not giving any of the three short shrift.

Sullivan also believes that it is his job to motivate and inspire staff, so he sets a good example at work, too. It helps, he says, that he works with such highly motivated and incredibly professional adults in an industry that can easily consume one’s entire life. That said, when opportunities arise for staff to go home early, “I encourage it!”

When opportunities arise for staff to go home early, I encourage it!

Olivia Chia
If you ask the Linklaters Legal Services Business Development Adviser about making time to exercise, she will reply, "Nobody is too busy to work out!" She’s a planner and she’s smart enough to understand that the secret to competing on an even playing field is to set realistic, short-term goals and stay flexible, no matter what life or a race throws at her.

During a typical work day, Chia exercises as long as her time allows, aiming for from two to three sessions a week. But she's no zealot. In case a Monday evening proves an impossible time to run or exercise despite being on her schedule, she doesn’t get upset and goes with the flow, moving her date with herself to the following morning or evening.

Chia is the first to admit that there was a time in her life when she stressed about fitting in workouts because everything around her was so hectic, but she put an end to that train of thought by coming to grips with reality and declaring that she’s become the poster child for making small amounts of time work for her by compensating: 10 minutes here; a staircase there. “It all adds up,” she says.

As for her other priorities, Chia goes the extra mile to help others by supporting and sponsoring running events, including the aforementioned JPMCC and the Bloomberg Square Mile. The charitable causes on her radar are both personally and professionally important to her, which makes her a valuable firm member in all aspects of her busy life.

10 minutes here; a staircase there. It all adds up.

Stuart Haynes
Haynes is never shy about sharing his winning running strategies: Train hard and taper off the week before. He’s also a huge proponent of self-visualization, so when he hits the start line, this corporate leader keeps that vision in mind while striving to do his best.

As the winner of the JPMCC two years running, Haynes couldn't rest on his laurels even if he wanted to: Once he turned 40, he was automatically shifted into that age group of runners — the fastest age slot at the JPMCC.

Historically, Haynes' improvement is unmistakable: Finishing his first 5k Singapore run at 21:03, he rapidly began to winnow down his times to 18:55, 18:44 and 18:21. That 2015 Corporate Challenge victory time was 17:59, so he’s got something to prove to himself and others at the next JPMCC.

Despite his important corporate title, Haynes has a great sense of humour when he offers advice: “Be brave, but not daft!” He recommends repeated body checks during competitive runs — especially at the half-way point.

"Make sure you’re pushing yourself, not just holding on.” He’s a big fan of the marathon scene, from the starting gun to lively after parties. This corporate leader loves being part of Singapore’s running community and he wants the world to know it!

Make sure you’re pushing yourself, not just holding on.

What have you learned from these corporate rock stars that you can apply to your professional and recreational lifestyle?

In these stressful and uncertain times, getting updated with accurate and useful information has never been so critical. No matter how unsettled the future feels, RunSociety will remain with you, delivering high quality news for free so we can all make critical decisions about our lives and health. Together we can overcome.

What we can do to help the situation is to keep our body and immune system in peak condition. If you are allowed or able to run outdoors, please do so cautiously but not panicky. Join our free online race to motivate you and pay tribute to our frontline heroes.

Aidan is the Editor-in-Chief of RunSociety. With more than a decade of editorial and marketing experience working with over 1,124 writers. Aidan has also written for several popular websites with millions of readers. Recognised as an expert on the web, his focus is to oversee RunSociety’s Creativity Channel, spanning a wide range of inspirational and enriching topics daily to the running community.

Get in touch with him if you have something to say, or want to weigh in on an interesting topic at

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