If you step back and look at your organization, at the people, their roles and the myriad of projects and day to day activities taking place under your roof – it’s truly amazing! More so when you have a culture that lends to an enthusiastic, engaged and motivated team – then, almost anything is possible!
Earlier this year, I was invited to participate as a Selection Committee Member for the OMAFRA BRAVO Awards. I will admit that I wasn’t familiar with this prestigious award but was certainly very open to participating to the best of my ability. This opportunity if anything led to a deeper appreciation and respect for the wide variety of services, of support, of projects, of teamwork, and of genuine personal giving that the many employees of our Ministry strive for every day – all fostering a culture of excellence and gratitude!
BRAVO - Building Recognition and Value at OMAFRA
OMAFRA began the BRAVO program in 2001 to recognize and pay tribute to the various projects, work and capabilities of team members within the organization. The program has continued to grow and this past year saw 38 very worthy submissions! After a full review by the Selection Committee, 14 nominees were put forward. The BRAVO Team was thrilled to have 425 staff cast their vote to determine the five finalists!
The implementation and backing of this program has fostered the development of a culture that supports and nurtures both formal and informal recognition in daily activities. The Awards and day of celebration for those selected is “designed to recognize and thank the individuals and teams whose special contributions and accomplishments have set new standards of excellence for OMAFRA”.
Projects, teams or individuals nominated for a BRAVO Award must emulate OPS Values around trust, fairness, diversity, excellence, creativity, collaboration, efficiency and responsiveness. Submissions also take into account value to Colleagues and/or Clients and to the Government and Ontarians.
On the special day of celebration, the BRAVO Awards Committee opened with a tribute to this year’s upcoming Pan Am & Parapan Am Games that are being held in Toronto from July 10th through 26th, 2015 and August 7 – 15th, 2015. Opening comments spoke to the pride of having the finalists go above and beyond to do their very best similar to our Canadian athletes. Recognizing the contributions of employees is very important to the Ministry. To kick off the official presentations and in keeping with the theme, Nate Hunter who participated in the 2014 Canadian Ultimate mixed Champions, ran in with the first award! A great way to begin celebrating outstanding achievement!
Christine Primeau, CAO/ADM, Research & Corporate Services Division, and Executive Champion of BRAVO, addressed the excited audience and mentioned that in OMAFRA’s bid to strive to be the best and to represent everyone equally, that new standards of building a culture of excellence have been set. She also suggested that with the Pan Am & Parapan Am Games theme “united we play” in mind, OMAFRA’s could be echoed as “united we serve”!
This year’s finalists are listed below – and I can assure you that each of these recipients are extremely worthy of this prestigious award and that I personally admire the contribution they have made together with all of the submissions received:
- Jeff Schieck – Tireless contribution and commitment to OMAFRA’s United Way Campaign
- Susan Pharand – Providing exceptional service and building community at OMAFRA
- Don Hilborn – Distinguished and innovative career in engineering, extension and regulatory development
- Greenhouse Nutrient Feedwater Registration Team – Reducing burden and enhancing the environment for the greenhouse sector through collaboration, excellence and responsiveness
- Public Health Inspection Training Team – Training for Public Health Inspectors on preventative controls for high risk meat protection (159 inspectors were trained)
The final recipient received the special Deputy Minister Award which was selected and enthusiastically presented by Deputy Minister, Deb Stark:
- Ag Maps Team – Making useful information more accessible to farmers through new, innovative technology
It was a pleasure and an honour to serve on this Committee and without a doubt it broadened my perspective on the services, the projects and the people behind scenes at OMAFRA. It has undoubtedly left me with an appreciation for the myriad of ways in which we can work together to accomplish great things! More importantly, involvement has underscored the importance of employee recognition for any organization regardless of size, sector or service whether via formal awards, processes or small informal opportunities of quiet thanks. Creating a culture of excellence that promotes our desire to be and do the best we possibly can for our businesses truly could make anything possible!
Congratulations to the 2015 BRAVO Award Recipients and to all of those who strive to emulate OPS values and do their very best every day!
Cheers and have a great day!
Bren de Leeuw, Director - EMC Food, Beverage, Bio & Ag Program Canada
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