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Aug 10th 2012

NY Culture Club and AOL Marathon Celebrate the Olympics

On Wednesday, our New York Culture Club, who develop creative ideas like team activities and charitable contributions to invigorate the culture at AOL, partnered with the AOL Marathon Team to host the first ever AOLympics and raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. Participants from around the office came to support the Marathon Team and compete for the gold, silver, and bronze medals, and, of course, office glory!

The competitions included balance beam, jump rope, spin chair shot-put, mini javelin, curling, and balloon volleyball. All efforts, including a raffle and bake sale, helped raise almost $1,000 towards the AOL Marathon team's contribution to the Ronald McDonald House. They are just a few dollars shy of their final goal so if you're interested in helping them out, you can donate here.

Jul 18th 2012

Summer Interns Play Kickball for a Cause


The AOL Dulles summer interns and the NextGen business resource group (BRG), an Employee Interest Group established to empower and enrich young professionals at AOL through collaboration, social networking, and professional development, showed off their competitive spirit last Friday by hosting a kickball tournament on our Dulles campus. AOL competed against interns and NextGeners from local companies comScore and Raytheon.

The idea for the event kicked off when Dulles interns and the NextGen BRG thought it would be a great way to have fun getting to know one another. A few brainstorming sessions later, the Intern Social Ambassador Group and myself added a few local companies to the mix. After interest grew, it was decided to make the tournament a charitable event.

With the help of AOLers Blair Cobb and Sara Bennett, the tournament organizers teamed up with the Cause Marketing Team and the AOL Marathon Team to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Music Room Project. Funds will be put toward renovating the music room at the Ronald McDonald House in New York City in honor of AOLer Rory Wheeler, who died last July. For every employee who participated in the kickball tournament, the Cause Marketing team donated money to the AOL Marathon Team fundraising page for the Ronald McDonald House. AOL recently donated a media room to the house in October.

The tournament kicked off with food, music, signs, cheering squads and round-robin games among the three teams to see who would take home bragging rights. In the end, the AOL interns' skills and teamwork landed them the most points of all three teams.

Learn more about interning at AOL by visiting our careers page.

Mar 14th 2012

Christa Zambardino Talks AOL.com, America's Homepage and Giving Back


This is the second post in our series profiling incredible women at AOL in honor of "Women's History Month."

An AOLer for over fifteen years, Christa Zambardino, VP of Sales for AOL homepages, has seen it all. Over her long career at AOL, Christa has witnessed first-hand the evolution of AOL into a company and brand, but also the progression of the industry as a whole.

We sat down with Christa to discuss a wide variety of topics including advertising trends, the importance of volunteerism and her thoughts on what differentiates the AOL homepage from its competitors. "For our users, it all starts here. Our homepage is really America's homepage. By integrating our unique canvases, our video assets like the 'You've Got...' series and featuring heart-warming stories, the homepage has a more personal feel that users identify with and want to wake up to in the morning and end their days with in the evening."

When Christa came aboard AOL there was no sales strategy for the homepage and she quickly identified that a category focus was needed. By working with marketing, her team created sales materials and messaging that catered to brands in all industries.

Combined with continuing technological advancements and a focused editorial strategy, the AOL homepage has seen huge growth in revenue, and a substantial increase in video views and video content displayed since 2010.¹ Providing personalization for users with different tactics like an emphasis on local offerings has also led to growth. "We introduced the local page, which uses your zip code to pull relevant information, whether its news from your local Patch town, directions for your neighborhood from MapQuest or movie times and listings from Moviefone, we use geo-targeted data to make our users' lives easier."

Discussing advertising trends that will impact 2012, Christa cites the importance of mobile and video. "We're working with our mobile team to take advantage of these added advertising opportunities. Over the next quarter we will continue to integrate rich media into our mobile offerings and possibly incorporate targeting capabilities to create a more complete experience."

One of the things that sets Christa apart is her commitment to helping others. At AOL, "We are in the business of helping people. Period" and Christa lives this value every single day. After volunteering in 2009 at the Ronald McDonald House New York during AOL's day of service, Monster Help Day, Christa made a personal connection to the house and wanted to look for new ways to continue to support the organization. After spending more time at the house, it was clear to Christa that they needed a new media room. Suggesting demolishing the house's dated computer room and starting fresh, Christa presented her proposal to the executive team and immediately received support for her project, engaging 20 different departments from designers to engineers to assist her along the way.

One year later, AOLers celebrated the room's completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with patients, their families and Kevin Jonas. The new AOL Media Room now includes brand new computers and digital equipment set up for one-on-one tutoring, and group learning scenarios for children in treatment, as well as their siblings staying at the House. The house was so thankful to Christa for all of her hard work that they recently asked to join the house's board of associates.

This year, in an effort to raise money for her NY marathon run, Christa created an AOL team that will run under the Ronald McDonald House name. All donations will go toward enhancing the house's music room, on behalf of Rory Wheeler, Christa's AOL colleague and marathon runner, who passed away from cancer late last year.

Christa's amazing accomplishments have not gone unnoticed at AOL. At this year's sales conference, Christa was recognized in front of all of her peers when she was honored with the Rory Wheeler Courage Award for her tireless philanthropic work both professionally and personally. "Cancer has been such a big part of my life, and I love showing people that giving back is an easy thing to do and does not take a lot of time. Being acknowledged in front of my peers and the whole company was incredible. I was so honored and proud to be part of AOL."

Source: AOL Internal Data

Oct 10th 2011

AOL Unveils Media Room at Ronald McDonald House® New York



We are in the business of helping people. Period. To commemorate October's National Children's Health Month we're making a difference for children battling cancer by donating an AOL Media Room to the Ronald McDonald House® New York.

On October 7th, NY AOLers attended the ribbon cutting ceremony with patients and their families to witness the transformation of the donated room. Kevin Jonas, of the multi-platinum selling, Grammy nominated artists, the Jonas Brothers, helped celebrate the unveiling of the new AOL Media Room which now includes brand new computers and digital equipment set up for one-on-one tutoring, and group learning scenarios for children in treatment, as well as their siblings staying at the House. The room was renovated to emulate happiness and designed to accommodate the users of the room – children, those in wheelchairs, and their siblings staying at the House.



During the event AOLers got the chance to interact with the kids as they learned about journalism from Lance Gould and played in the Music Studio with David Shing.


(Photo Credit: Getty Images, Andrew Walker)

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