Champions Career Centre: Diversity Champion - Modern Tool Champions Career Centre: Tailoring our services for long-term success - Frank's story Champions Career Centre: Can you say you’ve directly impacted over 40,000 lives? Lisa Moon can!

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 3 was International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) and Champions Career Centre was so pleased to join in the celebrations in Calgary at the lovely venue of the Jack Singer Concert Hall lobby.

The main reception opened with the official IDPD proclamation by Constable Patty Desormeau of the Calgary Police Department, then a compelling performance by the Momo Mixed Ability Dance Theatre, a community of artists who perform movement, theatre and dance.  They warmed up the large crowd who had braved the cold weather to attend, by inviting them to share in the performance and before too long, had everyone up dancing.

Momo Mixed Ability
Dance Theatre
This invigorating performance was followed by a presentation of short films by Picture This Film Festival. This festival features films that are either about disability or that were produced, directed and/or written by people with disabilities. The 2014 festival will be held on February 10, 11 and 12. One of the films shown was about Sue Austin and included footage of her deep sea diving using an underwater wheelchair. Her mission is to challenge preconceptions by creating quirky and unexpected juxtapositions to empower people with disabilities.

Next up was Christopher, a local artist who won many hearts with his tap dancing performance. Despite some serious technical glitches which meant that the incorrect music was played, Chris didn’t bat an eye and continued his performance without missing a beat. A definite highlight of the afternoon.

The IDPD proceedings were brought to a close by the presentation of the Premiere’s Council for the Status of Persons with Disabilities awards and Calgary Community Impact awards. While Champion’s Lisa Moon was amongst the contenders, she didn’t walk away with an award, but we are so proud that she received recognition as a finalist. We wish to congratulate all the nominees and of course, the award winners.

Champions is proud to have nominated one of our Diversity Champion employers, ATCO Structures and Logistics who won the Premiere’s Council Award for Employing Persons with Disabilities
Congratulations to ATCO Structures and Logistics

Congratulations must also go to Nicole Bourgeois, a Champions team member and the entire Calgary IDPD organizing committee who volunteered their time over the last 12 months  to organize local IDPD events and activities. As well as to the many sponsors, including Champions who supported the day. 

IDPD Community Impact Awards
Arts category
Amber H. – An artist who curated her first solo art show “POP” in March 2013. Amber has been showcased in 30 shows in Calgary and employs a variety of art forms including paint, pottery and multi-media. Amber is the recipient of many other awards for her work in 2012/13, notably the In-Definite Arts In-house Jane Cameron Art Award for outstanding achievement.

Jody R. - An entrepreneur, artist and volunteer.  Jody manages her custom art business “Wildrose Custom Art” and markets her work through social media and online, as well as exhibiting her artwork throughout Alberta.  Most notably in the fall of 2013, two of Jody’s batik artworks were selected to be part of international art competition presented by the National Art & Disability Center in California.

Education category

Matthew C. - An exemplary artist, advocate and leader. In 2012 Matthew played a key role in sharing the story of the “A Meaningful Life” project to explore issues pertaining to quality of life for disabled Calgarians. Matthew’s artwork “Independence” was featured in a documentary film that accompanied the project, and unveiled the artwork to Premier Alison Redford during a private event.

Jacob M. -  A student in the University of Calgary’s Political Sciences Degree Program, Jacob is an active volunteer, athlete and community member. Jacob is a Youth Ambassador with the Easter Seals and raised $30,500 during their “DropZone” Fundraiser by rappelling 350 feet down the side of Sunlife Tower!

Click for the winners of the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Awards 2012  

Diversity Champion - Modern Tool

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Champions Career Centre changes lives by creating inclusive workplaces and strong communities. In October, Champions assisted a Calgary-based company, Modern Tool to fill an open position in their organization.

Modern Tool Ltd. was incorporated in Calgary, as a hand tool and shop supply company employing two people. The company has experienced significant growth since then. Now with 37 employees they are the largest dealer of new and used machine tools and metalworking machinery in Canada, with offices in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. This year they celebrated their 53rd anniversary.

Champions spoke to Mark at Modern Tool who is involved in the hiring of employees. He commented that Modern Tool has always had an open-mind when it comes to its employees and believes that diversity and inclusion are important to a workplace, especially in Calgary’s competitive market.

“There’s definitely a shortage of skilled labour in Calgary. We’re seeing it and our customers are seeing it too,” he said. “If they have the right skills, people with disabilities can certainly help to fill this shortage”.

During the hiring process, Mark was impressed by the personal service that Modern Tool received from Champions.

“I was very happy with the great communication I had with Champions,” Mark says, “it was a nice personal touch when Susan actually came with the candidate to make introductions easier.”

Placing the right candidate in the right job is pivitol to the success of Champions’ work with job seekers and employers. Modern Tool is happy with the match that was made.

“He’s a good worker and that’s the main thing. He’s got the skills and he’s willing to work,” Mark stated.

Champions has a mission to shift perceptions of disabilities in the workplace. Working with inclusive employers like Modern Tool brings us one step closer to success.

If you are an employer, Champions Career Centre can assist you to find the right candidates for your workplace, call us today, 403.265.5374.

Tailoring our services for long-term success - Frank's story

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This month, Champions Career Centre is proud to highlight Frank, a recent job candidate who found employment success at Home Depot.

Frank’s enthusiasm was infectious as we spoke on a bitterly cold and very snowy day in late November. Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) early in his life, Frank, now 21 years old, has struggled to focus on reading and to remain attentive at school and on the job. But this hasn’t stopped him; his philosophy is a positive one.

“People with learning disabilities can do anything, they just need the right type of help and it just takes time,” he commented.

Frank was admittedly nervous about coming into Champions for the first time, fearing the unknown. But with the encouragement and friendliness of the Champions team, he soon opened up and became an energizing force in the office each time he came in.

“He brings a new level of energy wherever he goes”, commented Mat, his Case Manager.

Champions offers services which are tailored to the needs of the individual, which gave Frank the opportunity to be more focused. One-on-one service also helped him to be fully engaged during his career planning and job search sessions.

He was successful in his job search and secured employment as a Lot Associate at Home Depot. But his relationship with Champions didn’t end there. During his orientation period at work, the Champions team supported him through training and helped him to adjust to his new work environment.  Frank was also able take reading home when he needed more time to absorb the information.

With his permission, Champions has been following up with his supervisor and has received very positive feedback. He’s learning new skills such as cutting keys and taking inventory and,   he is enjoying the customer service aspect of his position. Additionally, Frank’s hard work and positive attitude has earned him 3 ‘Homer Awards’ which recognize employees who consistently demonstrate behaviours that reflect the company’s values, plus a nomination for a Lot Associate of the Week Award.

Outside of work, Frank has another recent achievement; he passed the Driver Knowledge Test for his Learner’s permit and is planning to take the Road Test in the future. This was another goal he had identified through his work with Champions.

“I’ll never forget that day when I got my Learner’s, it’s something I never thought I’d do. I passed and I was so happy,” he says proudly.

When asked what he’d be doing if his dad hadn’t found the Champions website, Frank admitted he’d probably still be job searching, but that he’s glad he found Champions.

We’re glad you found us too Frank, congratulations! Please come back to visit us any time!

If you are a job seeker looking for employment success, call Champions today 403.265.5374.

Can you say you’ve directly impacted over 40,000 lives? Lisa Moon can!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Champions Career Centre is proud that our fearless leader Lisa Moon is a finalist for a Community Impact Award in Calgary. Whether she is officially awarded the prize this afternoon or not, there's no doubting her winning achievements and dedication. Here is Lisa's story.

In 2000, an innovative agency was established in Calgary.  The first of its kind, Champions Career Centre was created as a PAN disability agency whose sole purpose was to focus on increasing employment of persons with disabilities. 

The first person hired as a member of the Champions Career Centre team was Lisa Moon.  Lisa came from a rich background that included working with programs for another underutilized group – youth.  Lisa’s experience in building systems, establishing effective processes, and strengthening relationships was the cornerstone of Champions.

Over the last 13 years, Lisa has been instrumental in building Champions Career Centre and helping to establish Champions as specialists creating a fundamental shift in perceptions of persons with disabilities in the workplace.  She now proudly holds the Executive Director position.

As a life-long learner and inclusive leader, Lisa’s work includes:
•       Presentations at various conferences focused on career planning, disability and accommodation requirements, and establishing a culture of diversity and inclusion.
•       Working with employers on disability and diversity policies, working to increase the presence of persons with disabilities in the workplace.
•       Coaching clients on career planning, job search, disclosure and employment retention
•       Promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the greater Calgary community through media interviews, social media and networking.
•       Chair of the Calgary Chapter of the Career Development Association of Alberta.
•       Co-Chair of the Private Career Development Contractors Association (PCDC).
•       Board Member – Persons with Disabilities Chief Advisory Board, Calgary Police Service.
•       Committee Member – Community Futures Treaty 7 Annual Disability Symposium.
•       Member – Access Calgary Focus Group.

Under Lisa’s leadership, Champions has reached number of impressive milestones – including
  • Recipient of the 2011 Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities – Award of Excellence in Employment.
  •  Helped over 40,000 individuals with disabilities with their employment goals
  • Delivered over 15,000 workshops
  •  Since 2009, 85% of clients who secured employment were still working at 6 month.
Lisa’s impact on the community knows no bounds.  The legacy she continues to leave extends with every life she touches, every conversation she has, and every hour she spends promoting the vision of an inclusive community.  The lives Lisa has impacted include, but are not limited to
•       Clients who have accessed Champions Career Centre services
•       Employers
•       Community partners
•       Champions Career Centre employees (past and present)
•       Champions Career Centre Board Members (past and present)
•       Fellow members of the various Boards and Committee’s Lisa sits on
•       Delegates at Conferences where Lisa presents
There is hardly an evening or weekend that goes by where Lisa isn’t doing something to help support the vision of an inclusive world for Persons with Disabilities.  

Help us recognize her tireless work and the impact she’s had on our community. 

Help honour Lisa through a Community Impact Award.