CBC Toronto Vision Award for Immigrant Inclusion: Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
Toronto Star Award for Excellence in Workplace Integration: St. Michael’s Hospital
Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award: Michael Bach, National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, KPMG
Congratulations to the 2009 IS Awards winners!
|Photo credit: MANSA Photography|
CBC Toronto Vision Award for Immigrant Inclusion
Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
The schools you attended, where you’ve worked and who you know can make all the difference in the legal profession. It’s never easy, and if your education, experience and contacts are in another country, it’s nearly impossible.
In recognizing the limited opportunities for internationally trained lawyers (ITL), Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC) established a groundbreaking Legal Professional Internship. The goal of the six-month paid internship was to provide candidates with relevant knowledge, skills and experience that would enable a successful transition into a professional Canadian law career.
“This program was driven by FMC’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness,” says Chris Pinnington, FMC’s Chief Executive Officer. “As a result of its success, we are in the process of rolling out the program in our other five offices across the country.”
Building on the FMC experience, the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law has developed a legal bridging program, with the support of FMC, TRIEC and others. The Internationally Trained Lawyers (ITL) program will include academic and career-related courses, as well as internships and will support close to 50 candidates starting in May 2010.
“FMC laid the groundwork for important change in the legal profession,” notes Mayo Moran, Dean, UofT Faculty of Law. “They took the initiative, and have become ambassadors, reaching out to other firms to welcome immigrants to the profession and assist their transition – ideally by taking on an intern.”
For Amrit Soar, FMC’s first legal intern, the internship was instrumental in bridging the gap between her background and the situation she faced as a new immigrant in 2007. According to a recent report from Statistics Canada, law admitted the least number of internationally trained candidates of any regulated profession in 2006. Despite Soar’s law degree and twenty years’ experience in Kenya, opportunities to practice in Canada were few.
At FMC, she spent time in key practice areas, learned Canadian legal codes and culture, and accompanied colleagues in client meetings and court appearances.
“FMC also has personal and professional development programs that helped me gather valuable information, experience and insight into the legal system here,” says Soar.
Thanks to FMC’s initiative, for Soar and the next generation of immigrant lawyers, the future is bright with possibilities.
Toronto Star Award for Excellence in Workplace Integration
St. Michael’s Hospital
Many organizations welcome interns, but few embrace and embed the idea as fully as St. Michael’s Hospital. For six years, the hospital has worked closely with Career Bridge’s paid internship program to recruit skilled immigrants, and to date, thirty five have completed full-time internships.
The partnership began through the leadership and support of John King, Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer, who dedicates part of his department’s budget to bringing six to eight interns on board each year.
“At first, our goal was to reflect the diverse urban community that we serve,” says King. “Now, with all that interns have contributed, Career Bridge is an important partner in finding new talent for special projects and our ongoing operations.”
“St. Michael’s has demonstrated a strong commitment to workplace integration through the implementation of proactive, strategic recruitment and hiring initiatives, including Career Bridge paid internships, for attracting and retaining internationally qualified professionals on a long term basis,” notes Anne Lamont, President and CEO of Career Edge Organization.
Originally introduced in one area at the hospital, Career Bridge has spread to eight departments. The influence of the program has increased, and a full time position responsible for integrating skilled immigrants into the organization has been created by Sylvia Halliday, Vice President Human Resources.
The role of Specialist, Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) is dedicated to building and expanding current strategies to source, recruit, and support IEPs at St. Michael’s Hospital.
A formal orientation guide was developed for managers and coaches, who also participate in mandatory sessions to understand the intern’s unique perspective. Career coaching is provided, and current and former interns stay in touch through the St. Michael’s Career Bridge Networking Group.
“I was a new immigrant to Canada two years ago, and an intern for one year before being hired full time,” says Libo He, Web Developer at the hospital. “St. Michael’s gives opportunities to newcomers, and provides resources for interns and alumni.”
Future initiatives include development of “Advancing Your Career in the Canadian Workplace” and “Working with Internationally Trained Professionals – Culture and Cultural Differences” workshops to enhance the experience for both intern and employer.
RBC Immigrant Advantage Award
At Pitney Bowes they like to keep track of things. Whether it’s the mail and document mailstream technologies they create, the customers they serve or the employee talent they develop, measurable results must be achieved.
As part of the company’s commitment to diversity, Pitney Bowes has developed a Talent & Inclusion (T&I) plan to align with key business priorities. The plan focuses on attracting, retaining and developing talent into leadership positions and succession planning. This plan is a blueprint to build diverse talent capabilities to sustain and grow the business.
The company’s results against T&I objectives are measured for performance ratings and compensation. That commitment extends to everyone, including Deepak Chopra, President, Pitney Bowes Canada and Latin America, whose performance is measured against the successful implementation of the T&I plan, among other business objectives.
“Pitney Bowes strives to be positioned as employer of choice for diverse and skilled talent,” says Chopra, who is an immigrant himself. “Attracting new talent is integral to the success and competitiveness of our company, and in future, we see a workforce that is increasingly comprised of skilled immigrants.”
Fostering a diverse workforce has provided numerous benefits for the company. Pitney Bowes has witnessed firsthand the power of “diversity of thought” and collaboration to solve business issues and create solutions.
Immigrant talent have been successful at front lines and up to executive levels. Several sales representatives are immigrants, who have been selected to the “President’s Club” for their stellar sales performance. They have also been able to secure new business opportunities with the diversifying local communities in which the company operates. One senior-ranking, internationally trained IT professional has leveraged outsourcing knowledge and international best practices, driving critical cost savings for the company. And there are more examples.
“What started as a diversity initiative has evolved into a corporate strategy, embedded within business plans,” notes Guilherme Dias, Director Strategic Talent Management, who is also one of the company’s immigrant success stories. “We track the progress of the T&I plan every quarter.”
More than half of the company’s high potential leaders are diverse employees, while 15 per cent of senior leaders are immigrant talent. Measurable results, indeed.
At Samtack, thinking globally isn’t just a program, policy or initiative – it’s the way they do business every day. The company sources, packages and distributes hard drives and other technologies, working with international suppliers to serve the Canadian market. With more than 90 per cent of its workforce internationally trained, the company’s diversity is a distinct competitive advantage.
“We hire for quality and attitude first, and if a candidate can bring international experience and know-how to the table, even better,” says Royson Ng, President at Samtack, whose leadership team includes executives from China, South Asia, the Middle East and beyond. “We’re always looking for creative problem-solvers, so new ways of thinking learned in different parts of the world is an asset that sets us apart.”
Parts come from all over the world before being packaged and distributed to Canadian customers, so having team members who speak different languages and understand diverse cultures is critical.
For example, in the major supply markets of Taiwan and China, Samtack staff with experience in those countries can inspect factories and negotiate deals. In Africa, a Samtack employee is researching new opportunities through their own networks and understanding of local business practices.
For a relatively small company – little more than 100 employees – Samtack’s success is remarkable. With $130 million revenue last year and 27 per cent of Canadian market share, the company counts heavy hitters such as Wal-Mart, Future Shop and Best Buy among their mass merchant clients.
“We can change production lines in as little as four hours to meet our clients’ needs for customized product at the right price,” notes Operations Manager Fouad Jazouli. “And because of this flexibility, we can serve smaller clients as easily as the big boxes. Many independent shops are run by new Canadians, and Samtack has the advantage of understanding their unique perspectives.”
Samtack works with TRIEC, the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs and others to identify candidates for all aspects of operations, from sales and sourcing to engineering, accounting, and graphic design. Recently, Samtack also initiated talks with Seneca College for an internship program.
It’s no wonder that employee retention at Samtack is close to 97 per cent – and there’s plenty of opportunity for new immigrants as the company continues to grow.
Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award
Michael Bach, National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, KPMG
They say change comes best from within, and at one of Canada’s leading professional services firms, it originated with Michael Bach. Several years ago, he approached KPMG‘s head of human resources with an idea to bring positive diversity practices together under one umbrella and make it a company priority.
“Michael told me that if we were serious about diversity, we needed to put full time resources in place to focus on the work – and he wanted the job. He wrote a business case, and it was unanimously approved by our management committee,” recalls Mario Paron, Chief HR Officer at KPMG.
Now the firm’s National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with a team of two and a half , Bach has introduced a broad spectrum of initiatives and programs that are designed to find, attract and develop diverse talent, including that of skilled immigrants.
“KPMG has traditionally welcomed diverse groups, but hadn’t really formalized policies to entrench those beliefs and create a truly inclusive workplace. I saw an opportunity for us to become a leader in workforce diversification and employer of choice,” recounts Bach.
Under Michael’s leadership, KPMG has been named one of the Best Employers of New Canadians in 2008 and 2009, and one of the Best Diversity Employers in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It’s the only professional services firm to receive recognition in both categories, in consecutive years.
Initiatives include reaching out to immigrant communities to identify professional candidates through career fairs, and participation in the Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) conference. Bach has worked closely with recruiters and hiring managers to ensure KPMG has a truly open recruiting process.
He also developed diversity training that touches on cultural differences and is now mandatory of all new hires. All performance managers receive training in cross cultural communication.
KPMG is one of the leading partners in TRIEC’s Mentoring Partnership, with Bach himself among the mentors. Today, almost 15 per cent of KPMG’s GTA workforce received post secondary education outside Canada, and nearly 40 per cent were born outside of Canada.
“Nothing fills my heart with more joy than when someone tells me that I made a difference in their worklife at KPMG,” says Bach.