The UnTapped Gala – Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion Champions

Leaders are celebrated for being intentional about making positive changes in their communities.

On Thursday, June 2, 2016, the UnTapped Series wrapped up with the UnTapped Gala and presentation of the 2016 BC Workplace Inclusion Awards. The Gala celebrated businesses and industry leaders in British Columbia that embody inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Morever, these leaders have been intentional about making changes in their communities.

Awards Gala

The UnTapped Gala, June 2nd, 2016

Open Door Group hosted the awards ceremony for a fourth year with a record 48 nominations from across the province signaling the event’s growth. Nominees came from several communities, including Vancouver, Quadra Island, Merritt, and Kamloops, and ranged from small cafes to international organizations, from community advocates to senior managers. They were recognized for dedication to workforce diversity and inclusion, each sharing a commitment to access and support untapped talent pools. A list of all award nominees can be found below.

The BC Centre for Employment Excellence (the Centre), a partner in this year’s UnTapped Series, drew attention to six local disability confident companies – companies that have a competitive edge over others because they have widened their pool of job applicants to target people with disabilities. It is an expansion in talent acquisition that embraces applicants who are often overlooked even though they bring with them a range of skills, talents, abilities and enthusiasm to the workplace. The Centre spotlighted six organizations that have challenged themselves to become more disability confident by moving from intent to action. It is with these actions that businesses will have the most impact on establishing exceptional inclusive workplaces.

Along with the awards presentations, attendees were treated to performances by renowned cultural hoop artist James Jones and musical acts The Elliot Langford Trio and Digger Dan.

A keynote interview with Tamara Vrooman, CEO and President of Vancity, by Journalist and Social Media Coach, Jaeny Baik

A keynote interview with Tamara Vrooman, CEO and President of Vancity, by Journalist and Social Media Coach, Jaeny Baik

Journalist and Social Media Coach Jaeny Baik moderated the evening, which culminated with her keynote interview with Tamara Vrooman, CEO and President of Vancity. Already an award winner earlier in the evening, Vancity is no stranger to success as a diversity champion. Vrooman emphasized that change making innovation takes place at all levels within an organization, most especially at the senior management level where leaders must address unconscious biases to truly change an organization. Vrooman further underscored the importance of collaborating with community partners for knowledge sharing and to create links with the community. She closed the interview with important advice for creating a successful inclusive workplace: “Don’t smother!” rather, “It is management’s duty to provide coaching and support, fostering confidence within their employees and workforce.”

A Final Recap of the 2016 UnTapped Series: Inclusive Talent Solutions for Tomorrow

Randy Lewis - Lunch Launch

Randy Lewis, keynote speaker at the UnTapped 2016 Business Lunch

The UnTapped Series kicked off in March with a business lunch that featured keynote speakers Kerry Jothen of Human Capital Strategies and Randy Lewis, former VP of Walgreens. Over 200 attendees heard Jothen underscore the demographic shifts and rising demand for skilled workers facing BC’s economy. Lewis followed with the story of his revolutionary campaign to hire 200 people with disabilities at a Walgreens distribution centre. His risk paid off when it became one of the most productive warehouse distribution facilities in the company. His willingness to invest in the abilities of an underutilized talent pool epitomizes the raison d’etre of the UnTapped Series.

Two power breakfasts, “Tapping into Talent” and “Engage and Retain”, followed in April and May. They expanded on themes that surfaced in the Business Lunch and provided employers, business leaders, and service providers a gathering place to engage with leaders from diverse workplaces. “Tapping into Talent” explored creative recruitment tactics for accessing traditionally untapped talent pools and strategies on creating inclusive environments while “Engage and Retain” delved into specific practices business leaders have implemented to enhance engagement, strengthen workplace culture, and increase productivity in the workplace. A full recap of the Engage and Retain event can be found here.

2016 BC Workplace Inclusion Awards Nominees and Winners

Award for Small Business (< 50 Employees)
Urban Digs Farm
Coco Cafe
Eco Service Canada
Fabriclean Laundry
Greens Organic + Natural Market
Jules CafeWinner
Merritt Movie Experts
Solly’s Bagelry
Buy Social Canada
Valley Acrylic Bath LTD

Award for Individual Champion
Arley Cruthers of BC Wheelchair Basketball Society – Winner
Chef Matt of April Point Resort & Spa
Garry Marks of Club Intrawest
Henry Mwandamere of WestPark Parking Services

Strong Voices Award
Jenny Magenta

Award for Non-Profit Organization
Burns Bog Conservation Society
Canucks Autism Network
City of Vancouver 311 Program
Cleaning SolutionWinner
Garth Homer Society
Habitat for Humanity
Immigrant Employment Council of BC
Launch Academy
Mission Possible
Quest Food Exchange

Award for Leadership Champion
Ronnie Bouvier of Kamloops Graffiti Task Force
Jasmine Marchant of Edgewater Casino – Winner
Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia & Sergio Cocchia of CREW Management
Valerie Meaney of North Island Employment Foundations Society
Deepaj Ghandi of Comfort Inn & Suites
Andrew Piper of Rona Home Center
Naseer Khwaja of White Spot Restaurant
Julia Tanaka of Jules Café

Award for Large Business (> 50 Employees)
BeFresh Local
Canadian Tire
Capcom Game Studio Vancouver
Craftsman Collision
Edgewater Casino
Fly Over Canada
Vancity Winner
London Drugs
Tim Hortons
University of the Fraser Valley
Whole Foods

Vancity Staff Celebrate their 2016 BC Workplace Inclusion Award for Large Business (> 50 Employees)

One of the night’s winners, Vancity, celebrate their 2016 BC Workplace Inclusion Award for Large Business (> 50 Employees)

Congratulations to all of this year’s award recipients!

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