Social Climber: Using community hikes to prep for Kilimanjaro summit

This is a story about fitness and how I will be standing on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro on the morning of Monday, August 12th, 2013. That’s a little over six months from today. But reaching my goal isn’t going to be easy. In fact, I may need your help.

Kilimanjaro Summit

The past three or four years have taken its toll. From completing an MBA part-time in the morning (classes were from 7am-9am) to becoming a new dad to two children in the span of 17 months, to starting a new job in an unfamiliar industry, certain things in my life had to give. Primarily, it was my health.

I’m approximately 30 pounds heavier than when I started my MBA program at the Rotman School in August of 2008. I could easily sit here and type out a bunch of excuses, but life is about tradeoffs and I selected family, school, work, and nights out networking over my health and fitness. It was a conscious choice.

While reflecting on my goals for this year during the winter holiday break, I decided that 2013 was going to be the ‘Year of Me’ and I was going to focus primarily on three things: Family, Fitness, and Friends. This blog post is about fitness and how I’m going to get back into shape with a little help from the community.

I’m climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for two reasons.

Firstly, I’m doing it as a representative of the campaign For All Canadians. I am a member of the fundraising cabinet that is helping Canadian Blood Services raise funds to build Canada’s new national public cord blood bank. We are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro as a team of 15-30 business leaders with the hopes of raising $750,000 towards our overall campaign goal of $12.5 million. You’ll be able to follow our progress on Twitter using #Climb4Cord.

I do this in honour of my late father, Dr. Howard Stein, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006. He died before he could receive a bone marrow transplant. I have been working with Canadian Blood Services ever since, promoting bone marrow and stem cell awareness in Canada.

For All Canadians

Secondly, I’m doing it for myself. I am determined to get back into shape and take control of my personal health. I have been inspired by friends and strangers on Twitter who are working hard to better themselves – people like Robyn Baldwin, Katie Drechsel and many others constantly serve as inspiration through their Tweets, Instagrams and blog posts.

So how am I going to achieve my goal of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro? I’m certainly not going to do it alone. I plan to include a mixture of training into each week: Ice Hockey with both work colleagues and friends; weight training on Saturdays with Marshall Tully; hitting the gym at lunch to work on my cardio. Lastly, I’m going to start going for mini hikes in the city on Sundays. This is where you will hopefully be able to help me.

I’m stealing a page out of the playbook of Richard Loat, the effervescent CEO and founder of Five Hole for Food. Richard created #30Grindsin30Days where he ran 30 Grouse Grind trips in 30 consecutive days on Vancouver’s north shore with people he met through social media. It was a great tactic for getting in shape, reconnecting with old contacts or meeting new people.

I plan to go for a 2-3 hour hike within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) each Sunday morning. I’m looking for a partner or partners to join me each week. In return, I’m willing to offer good company for a few hours. Of course, I’m also happy to provide insight on my time working in the sports industry, social media, marketing, why (or why not) an MBA is worth it, or anything else you’d like to chat about. It’s really just a chance to hang out, get fit, and learn something new along the way.

There are some great walking trails in my part of the city where we can hike or I’m happy to explore a new part of the city that you suggest. Whatever works! Have no idea where you want to go? Check out this great directory from the City of Toronto.

So what do you say? Do you want to join me?

I have set up a Google spreadsheet where you can sign up. Simply fill in the information and let’s do this. Feel free to bring friends along. The more the merrier.

Thanks in advance for helping me achieve my goal. And don’t forget to SIGN UP NOW for a #KiliHikeTO!

The #Climb4Cord features a group of business leaders who will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in August 2013 with the hopes of raising $750,000 for the campaign For All Canadians, which is dedicated to building Canada’s new national public cord blood bank. Click here to donate to my personal page or for more information on the campaign please visit:

About Jaime Stein

Jaime is the Senior Manager, Social Media at Hootsuite. He is a digital marketer with expertise in social media and content marketing. His experience stems from leading the social media strategy for two national brands. Jaime holds an MBA with a focus in Marketing and Strategy from the Rotman School of Management where he was selected valedictorian by the students of the Morning MBA Class of 2011. He is the former radio voice of the Toronto Argonauts and currently lives in Vancouver with his wife and two sons.
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15 Responses to Social Climber: Using community hikes to prep for Kilimanjaro summit

  1. Brian Wawryshyn says:

    Best of luck, Jaime!

  2. Lauren Lavigne says:

    Sounds great. Very proud of you. Maybe I can join you in Kilimanjaro? hmmmmmm……

  3. Good times and good reasons! Having comrades to keep you active and putting a goal in sight are powerful tactics and i’ll be sure to signup when in TO for NXNE in June.

  4. This is an awesome idea Jaime!!! I am going to try to make as many as I can of the Sunday walks! I have friends who did this last year – they didn’t even train for 6 months and were able to get to the top, so no doubt you will too 🙂 Happy to see this is your year!

  5. Jaime Stein says:

    Thanks for signing up for a hike, Nina!

  6. Meg Bingley says:

    I’ll join for a hike. I gained the MBA 30 as well…
    Would love to know more about the cord/marrow donor program too!

  7. Pingback: Social Climber: Overcoming the fear of the first hike | Lessons Learned with Jaime Stein

  8. Jaime, good for you! 2013 is also the year that my husband and I are making about our family’s health. Since January 1st our whole family has been eating better and staying active every day. We’d love to join your Sunday hikes, but the reality is we’re parents to 5 young children, so all-for-one and one-for-all!

    I’m sorry to hear that your father passed away before he could receive a bone marrow transplant. My husband and signed up as potential stem cell donors when the story of local Torontonian David Geneen touched us. I wrote about it here:

    I’ll be watching your progress this winter, spring and summer via hashtag ##KiliHikeTO.

    Good luck!

    • Jaime Stein says:

      Thanks for your support, Jenna. I really appreciate it. I’m glad to hear you and your husband are prioritizing health this year. It is so important. Thanks for sharing the story from your blog – it’s a good one.

  9. FMNsocial says:

    Good luck!!

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