Note from the Blog Manager: “Our Rock Stars aren’t like your Rock Stars” is a popular tag line you may have seen on some of our advertisements, but it doesn’t say anything about TV stars. Meet Christina and hear first-hand about an Intel employee’s experience on a reality TV show.
Five months ago, I took a personal leave from my day job in Intel’s Global Corporate Affairs Group, and boarded a plane to Casablanca with two of my best friends from college. Except this was not your typical girls’ trip. Our unknown adventure would take us on a 300 mile trek across the Kingdom of Morocco while living entirely outdoors and with no access to bathrooms or showers. The competition was appropriately titled “Expedition Impossible,” and required my best friends and I to sign death waivers after extensive psych evaluations and survival training. (Yes, death waivers.)
Our “Team California Girls” story started back in Winter 2010 when a casting coordinator approached me about Mark Burnett’s new show on ABC. I immediately called Natalie and Brittany to create a video with personal footage from college, work and scaling monster farm equipment on a friend’s vineyard. The concept worked and they flew us to final interviews in Los Angeles. By late March we were boarding a plane from New York City to Casablanca with 12 other teams from across the country. Our competition ranged from Pro Football Players to NYC Firemen. And YES, even a blind guy. I recognized Erik Weihenmayer (the first blind person to climb Mount Everest and all seven summits) at our hotel the night before. I naively thought that the Expedition could not be that hard if they casted a blind guy.
I was quickly proven wrong. Our first challenge included a 600ft sand mountain in the Sahara desert, and Natalie and Brittany had to alternate carrying my 40lb backpack before I could pass out. As for Erik… we became extremely close with his team No Limits. Episode 8 featured our two teams in a race to the finish with the DVR description set as “Never Give Up”. What they did not show on TV was how No Limits helped us make shelter on our first night sleeping in the Sahara or how they volunteered their tent when our plastic tarp blew away in a windstorm. I take great pride in knowing we got beat by the best people on Expedition Impossible. Ike, Jeff and Erik are truly the definition of world class.
I share my story to prospective candidates in hopes of showing you one of the many people behind a global brand. Working at Intel has not only given me the opportunity to learn from the best, but my mentors at Intel personally encouraged me to take on an epic challenge such as Expedition Impossible. My manager was incredibly supportive from Day one. She’s an avid runner so she completely understood my desire fo an outdoor adventure. Since we had to sign confidentiality agreements, I could only tell a few people that it was for a TV Show on ABC. However, when I told co-workers that I was taking an unpaid leave of absence to “travel” everyone said, “Good for you!” Intel employees get a lot of mileage out of life and there’s a healthy “Work Hard/Play Hard” culture across the company that helps with Work Life Effectiveness. Don’t just take it from me, when you walk around our campus, you are bound to see a poster that says, “It’s not what we make. It’s what we make possible.” I truly believe Intel is the best training ground for individuals who have a passion to inspire and empower the next generation of innovators. Whether you idealize playing on a team that effects positive change in the lives of billions of people or you like the idea of a paid sabbatical* every 7 years—it’s never too late to add adventures to your life story.
*Although Intel’s Sabbatical program is specific to the U.S. and Canada, we also have paid-time off options in other countries. Click here to find out more about Intel’s different compensation and benefits packages offered around the world.
Photo Credit © (ABC/GILLES MINGASSON)