Verzuz 5.0 is Coming!

May 24, 2024

OPS Verzuz is back for a fifth year to raise funds and awareness for the annual Federated Health Charities campaign. Click here to join OPS Verzuz 5, League of Legends live at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

Verzuz got its start during the COVID-19 lockdowns in the spring of 2020. Damion Copeland, a Senior Policy Advisor with TBS’s Centre for People, Culture and Talent, was the Federated Health Charities’ fundraising lead for his division when the lockdown went into effect.

“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I needed to figure out new ways to raise funds, and build awareness and support for Federated Health Charities,” said Damion. “I created Verzuz as a way for us to break down virtual silos, come together and leave a positive impact.”

For Damion, the inspiration for Verzuz came from Sound Clash culture: “Sound Clashes are something I grew up on and are part of my Jamaican culture. It is something I have done more times than I can remember with friends and family. I thought it would be a great way to bring us together.”

Sound Clash culture originated in Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1950s. Local crews of DJs, singers and musical artists would perform in back-and-forth song battles, attempting to outdo each other by seeing who could elicit the loudest, most enthusiastic response from the audience. Damion thought that the audience participation aspect of a Sound Clash would work well for a virtual event and Verzuz was born.

“The audience participation and engagement in Verzuz is absolutely special! Verzuz is one of the most engaging events in the OPS! I enjoy laughing alongside everyone else at the friendly, competitive banter between leaders and the enjoyable safe space Verzuz creates to connect,” Damion says.

The first Verzuz competition featured TBS execs competing against each other to see whose DJing skills and charisma would win over the crowd of more than 400 attendees. When the cheers settled, it was determined ADM Sean Twyford alias DJ Twyforce of the Soul Sonic Force was the Verzuz Champion.  Verzuz 2 was created to raise awareness and funds for SCAGO (Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario), which Damion efforts got the ball rolling to join the organization in 2020. This time the roar of the crowd crowned Deputy Minister Carlene Alexander Verzuz Champion.

In 2022, Verzuz 3 was the final event of the Federated Health Charities campaign. More than 1,600 attended as people who tuned into the Teams live broadcast shared the invite with friends and colleagues across 22 ministries. The Force came back strong, and cheered to victory, ADM Sean Twyford regained the crown and became the first and only two-time Verzuz Champion.

In 2023, three ADMs and a director pitted their best tracks for the coveted Verzuz crown. Including the defending champ from 2022, but the Mass Appeal was too strong, and they all went down to current champion ADM Michelle Gittens alias MC Ice with Mass Appeal. The champ is back to defend her crown and become the first back-to-back champion. In our next blog, we will share the names of our V5 challengers!

If you’ve never attended OPS Verzuz before, be prepared for great music, great laughs, and an overall great time. Verzuz is inclusive, engaging and culture building.  It can be used by employees to gather collectively, break isolation, and build bonds through their shared love of music. This initiative supports the Federated Health Charities campaign and is in alignment with the OPS Leadership Pledge and OPS Leadership Model.

This year, the Verzuz team hopes to exceed its goal of raising $2,500 from the event through a suggested donation of $5/PWYC.  Everyone is welcome, whether you can donate or not, but you can imagine the possibilities if each attendee donates $5! You can make your donation here and enter “Verzuz” as the event title.

In our next blog we will give you a link so you can join on June 12 and make your $5 donation (if possible) as well as new information. In the meantime, please share the date and the promo video and poster below and mark your calendars.

Federated Health Charities Logo

Federated Health Charities White Logo
Federated Health Charities White Logo

For general questions:

Sarah Wood
Executive Director
437-925-6227
sarah.wood2@ontario.ca

Address

315 Front St. West, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 0B8

Federated Health Charities White Logo

For general questions:

Sarah Wood
Executive Director
437-925-6227
sarah.wood2@ontario.ca

Address

315 Front St. West, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 0B8

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