Recognition and Circuses
Last year I was in drag for these guys as an air hostess - this year, much simpler. In case you couldn't pick it from the pic I'm a ringmaster and the theme is Carnival.
Well, actually, the theme is a celebration of achievement. The guys at Z know how to recognise their frontline staff. Gathering a couple of hundred gas station staff together in one place makes for a great night out. These guys are usually too busy working to be partying but when they let their hair down it's great fun!
It's one of the few nights I MC where the heckling comes thick and fast. And it's good natured too. I've been doing this event for a while now and some people I recognise but every year there's a largely new crowd but they just get the atmosphere somehow.
Part of it is to do with the fact that hierarchy doesn't come in though the door at the beginning of the evening. Z Energy top brass and their retailers sit amongst the frontline staff as equals. Nothing is sacred. Z is pretty much like this as an organisation but it's a great way for the staff to feel valued.
And these frontline folk work hard! Out in the freezing cold on forecourts, working the graveyard shift. It's great ot see them get the recognition and see their pride in receiving it. I love being a small part of that - even if my moustache gets a hammering.
I may have also got heckled because I paled in comparison to the super talented kids from Saintz Up Performing Arts. This is a charitable trust supported by Z and helps kids raise their self esteem and confidence through dance and music. they didn't seem to need much more confidence and completely nailed a bracket of songs and dance from "The Greatest Showman." They are one of the businesses supported by Z through its "Good in the Hood" campaign and it was really nice for the staff to witness first-hand the good that programme achieves.
I was happy to play second fiddle to them. In fact third fiddle - it was about Z staff first.