Monday, February 28, 2011

CPA Ski Day: A Great Team Building Event

What happens when you throw your staff into a dangerous winter sport for the benefit of the greater community? Team building, bonding, cooperation, enthusiasm, and laughter.

Every February we invite our staff and their significant others to join us at the CPA Ski Day (Canadian Paraplegic Association). It's a surprisingly popular event considering that only the owners are regular skiers.

Months before the big event we retell stories from last year's CPA Ski Day. Like the time that Ryan's wife fell on top of the boss's son while getting off a chairlift. Or when Joanne froze at the top of a blue run and got yelled at by a stranger. Or that horrible cross country trek we endured while trying to find a green run called the Northwest Passage, and Lorraine towed Ryan with her ski pole.

In spite of these past traumas, our staff was totally stoked about participating in this year's CPA 2011 Ski and Snowboard Day. Joanne and Michelle enrolled in ski lessons and gave us regular reports on their progress. We planned our outfits. We planned our après ski dinner.

Bottom line: Participating in the CPA ski day is more than a one day event. It's an event that brings us together for the entire winter. Why is it so compelling for all of us?

  1. It feels great to support CPA Ontario with their Track 3 Ski program. It is so beautiful to see the Track 3 volunteers give people with disabilities the chance to ski. Check out these amazing pictures of the 2011 CPA Ski Day.
  2. Skiing is dangerous, but not too dangerous. And it's super fun. That makes for lots of entertaining stories. It also gives us lots of opportunities to bond and help each other out.
  3. Skiing is social. Even if you're not a skier, it's really fun to sit in the ski lodge, share a beer and onion rings and have some laughs.
  4. It’s really fun to learn a new skill. Participants in the CPA Ski Day get free rentals, a lesson, lunch and delicious après ski snacks. They also get to ski at Craigleith, one of the best private ski clubs in Ontario.
I want to thank Donna Ha who encouraged us to go to our first CPA Ski Day about 5 years ago. Donna uses a wheelchair and worked for CPA Ontario before joining our staff. The first CPA Ski Day we participated in occurred during one of the worst snow storms of the season. I drove Donna up to Craigleith in whiteout conditions. When we finally arrived we were greeted by a warm buffet lunch and caring colleagues. Donna even got to ski that afternoon.

I also want to thank CPA Ontario and their key sponsor The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company for hosting this amazing event and for supporting the Track 3 Ski program.

And of course I want to thank our amazing staff for embracing this event and making it so much fun. Now we are all brainstorming ideas for a community outreach activity where our staff could volunteer weekly for a few hours.

Do you have any suggestions for a volunteer program our staff could participate in? Do you have any teambuilding events that you recommend?

Laura Upcott
Stafflink Solutions Ltd.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Diversity Works: Recruiting, Integrating and Hiring Persons with Disabilities

This video is an extremely condensed 5:30 minute version of a workshop that Tim Collins and Donna Ha presented to CGI last month. They've delivered versions of this training to IBM, CIBC, Microsoft and many other clients. It contains the key messages and tips that might be useful to you if your company is interested in hiring, integrating and retaining persons with disabilities.

Stafflink is an IT staffing agency. So you might wonder where our interest in accessibility comes from. Like most people, we have close relationships with with people who have physical challenges but that's not what defines them because they are also exceptionally talented in their work. One of the biggest tragedies I've seen is when someone has excellent skills and loves to work, but their career is suddenly siderailed by an illness or an accident. One of the things I love most about Stafflink is that our owner, Tim Collins, has connected many people like this with jobs.

A few years ago we hired Donna Ha, a person who uses a wheelchair. Donna taught us all about accessibility and was our Diversity Hiring Coordinator for several years. She facilitated many job connections between our clients and qualified persons with disabilities.

Donna moved on to a new job and we love to keep in touch with her as her career develops. We were thrilled when Donna agreed to come back for an afternoon and help Tim Collins deliver this diversity training workshop to CGI.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interview Tips for Jobs: Why Should We Hire You? The Great Answer

Here's a video created by one of my LinkedIn buddies, Katherine Moody. Katherine is a Job Search Consultant and Recruiter. In this video she demonstrates how to ace a job interview by answering one question: "Why should we hire you?" Katherine offers a step-by-step plan to craft a succinct and memorable positioning statement that will make you stand out from other job candidates.

About the Author
Katherine Moody is a networking guru and job search coach. For more tips on navigating the hidden job market go to Katherine Moody's website Follow Katherine on Twitter @justathought99.

Further Reading: