Marcia Barret, 31, has been a Special Olympics athlete for eight years. A swimmer, she hopes to qualify for the 2019 Abu Dhabi World Games.
Matthew Wynne, 20, has been a Special Olympics athlete for 10 years. He plays not one Special Olympics sport, but three, excelling in basketball, softball and soccer.
Katy Wilson, 38, has been a Special Olympics gymnast for 32 years and has won more than 200 medals. She was once complimented on her cartwheel by Olympic champions Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this partnership,
Becki Cedrone, director of
Aaron Uson, operations manager at Swire
Meet three of the Special Olympics athletes working with this united
Marcia Barret: Special Olympics Operations Assistant, Swire
“It has been my lifelong goal to change the world around me and this opportunity is a lifetime’s worth of work finally coming into fruition,” she says of her short-term assignment with
In her role, Barrett supports Swire
Though Barret has never before worked in the beverage industry or managed projects of this magnitude, her manager, Uson believes the leadership skills she developed through athletics lend themselves to her new role. “She’s a ball of energy – a sparkplug ready to go,” he says.
Barret’s experience as a Special Olympics athlete also uniquely qualifies her to support
Barret likes to joke that her real job is “to put Aaron in check.” She adds, “It’s so much more than a working relationship. I acquired a lifelong friend.”
Barret says, “We have the drive, passion and motivation beyond most people’s recognition. My diagnosis doesn’t define who I am. I am going to prove to the world and myself that I can do anything.”
Matthew Wynne: Special Olympics Assistant, The
When Matthew Wynne received his first paycheck at his first job, he was ecstatic.
“I’ve never had a job before,” he explains. “So getting my first paycheck really felt exciting. The best thing about working is that feeling like you’re a responsible adult earning your keep in the world while contributing to society's well-being.”
That his first paycheck came from The
“Landing my first job at
He adds, “I am so proud of my company, that they were a founding sponsor of Special Olympics and that still they are 50 years later. Both Special Olympics and
Wynne works closely with Cedrone to plan
More than a first job, Wynne sees his work with
“I’m the voice of the athletes,” he explains. “I know what they know and like. I represent the athletes’ point of view.”
Cedrone believes that as a subject matter expert on Special Olympics with 10 years of competition under his belt, Wynne provides essential insights that help
“Coca-Cola’s shared values with Special Olympics are inclusion, optimism and moments of happiness,” she adds. “I truly feel that all of these have come to life by having Matthew on our team. We are a better, stronger team because of him.”
Katy Wilson: Storytelling Talent, Brand
Cue Katy Wilson.
A Special Olympics athlete since she was six years old, Wilson has three decades worth of stories of joy, bravery and achievement to share. Alongside her mother, Jeanne Wilson, Katy sat down with
Katy explains, “I just want everybody to know my story – how I've been involved in Special Olympics for many years – because I love it so much. I love being with my teammates and my family because they are my biggest fans.”
This message of sharing meaningful experiences resonates with the Share a Coke campaign’s spirit. Indeed, in its fifth year, Share a Coke 2018 encourages fans to “share it like you mean it.”
“Share a Coke is about sharing a moment and sharing a story,” explains Jennifer Healan, group director, integrated marketing content,
Her mom agrees, “It's so wonderful to give the athletes that chance to have their own voice, to tell their story. Who better to tell the story than the athletes themselves?”
This additional platform for Katy to share her story celebrates her not only as an athlete but as a talented spokesperson for her Special Olympics journey. “Yes, Katy’s a wonderful athlete, but she's also a speaker, a worker, a volunteer, a role model,” Jeanne says. “The skills they learn in their sports carry over into their jobs and into their lives. She is able to go and to be a productive, happy, member of our community. She often says in her speeches, ‘I love my life,’ and I think she does.”
“I do,” Katy interjects. “I love my life and I always will.”
Stay tuned for more Journey coverage from the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, crafted in partnership with Special Olympics athletes.