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Building Connection and Resilience on the Chessboard

Brand Advocate Post 07052024 (2)

At Cox, employees are encouraged to integrate their personal passions with their professional interests. For Daniel Pohl, director of product management, this passion is chess. 

The origins of chess, as we know it today, date back nearly 1,500 years to 6th century India. By the late 1800s the game evolved into a worldwide competitive sport, requiring serious contenders to develop strategies through education, studying and training. Skills cultivated through playing chess can parallel those needed in a corporate environment.  

“You have to be comfortable with losing and learning from mistakes you made, because otherwise you will not improve as a player,” Daniel says. 

Daniel’s interest in the sport began as father-son bonding time when his now-15-year-old son wanted to try out for his elementary school’s chess team. At the time, Daniel worked for a cloud services company called Logicworks, which was eventually acquired by RapidScale (part of the Cox family of businesses) in February 2023. While at Logicworks, he formed a chess team with a few other people in the company.  

“Out of the 160 or so employees we had, we had six, maybe 10, chess players,” he said. “We even started competing in this national tournament online against other companies.” 

They competed against major players, including folks from Google, Uber and Lyft. Daniel says that despite being the smallest group in the competition, his team had a good time and learned a lot from their sessions.

After the merger between Logicworks and RapidScale, the Chess Club team welcomed new members, with 25 people participating in internal tournaments once a month. Today, the Cox Chess Club has around 75 team members — ranging from beginners to advanced players — from across the organization. 

“It’s been a great way to learn about people,” Daniel says. “I get to meet people from all across the company that I wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to talk to.” 

While Cox Chess Club still participates in the North American Corporate Chess League, which is primarily geared towards experienced players, a couple of times a year, beginners are also welcome and encouraged to join the team. During the monthly internal tournaments, beginners are paired with others of the same skill level, so everyone can learn the basics and meet new people.  

These skills are also applicable to professional experiences, Daniel says. Both in chess and at work, Daniel emphasizes the importance of being comfortable with acknowledging that we may not always have all the answers but should remain committed to finding them.  

“We’re going to improve our product to make this a better experience moving forward,” he asserts. “It’s the same way of thinking.” 

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Brand Advocate Post 07052024 (3)
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