Client Success: Rhonda Kottusch

Central client Rhonda Kottusch shows off the certificate she received from Gibson Energy.
Central client Rhonda Kottusch shows off the certificate she received from Gibson Energy.

Central Team client Rhonda Kottusch has much to be proud of. After starting as an administrative assistant with Gibson Energy in 2006, she has recently celebrated her 10th anniversary with the company.

Working two days a week, Kottusch takes care of duties such as refilling paper in the printers and copiers around the office, stocking supplies in the locker rooms and mail rooms, and delivers mail around the building.

In her daily work, Kottusch uses an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device to speak with her co-workers. Her AAC device is a tablet with a touchscreen where she can select messages to be read by a digital voice. Outside of work, she uses her device for social interaction in the community, which has enhanced her quality of life.

Described as almost always smiling and having a positive attitude, Kottusch’s coworkers value the effort and dedication she puts in at the office each day.

When not working, Kottusch likes to stay busy by being involved in sports, music, and drumming classes.

Client Success: Eileen McLachlan

South Team client Eileen McLaughlin is recognized by her manager at Canyon Meadows GoodLife Fitness.
South Team client Eileen McLachlan is recognized by her manager at Canyon Meadows GoodLife Fitness.

South Team client Eileen McLachlan is celebrating a proud anniversary this year; she has just reached her 12th year as an employee with GoodLife Fitness.

In her role at the Canyon Meadows location, McLachlan is described as diligent, positive, and enthusiastic when it comes to her work.

Kelsi Foreman, general manager at the gym, has worked alongside McLachlan for the past year, and said she feels it is “an honour” to be her co-worker.

“She is a light in our club,” Foreman said. ” I have seen so much growth in her ability and willingness to learn and adapt. Our club would not be the same without her.”

Community Resource Worker Diwani Tan Aparis said that working with McLachlan is fun and fulfilling. “I admire her desire and love for work,” she said.

“Her positive attitude, dedication, and hard work have garnered her lots of praise.”

Another Wonderful DEAM

We are thrilled to say that this year’s Disability Employment Awareness Month was a huge success! With a variety of great events focusing on the importance of inclusive employment, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Among the events was the DEAM Employer Awards, which recognized local businesses and corporations for their inclusive hiring practices. We were excited to see 120 guests at the event!

The DDRC was proud to nominate three businesses:

Men in Kilts
Canyon Meadows Golf Club
United Active Living Communities

Men in Kilts sent us the following message:

“I wanted to reach out and formally thank you for nominating Men In Kilts for a DEAM Employer Award. It was truly a great honor to be in attendance with all those great employers. It was exciting to see the number, size and diversity of businesses at the gala. Overall the event left me with a great sense of pride in what’s been accomplished so far, but also hopeful and excited for the future. Thank you again.”

Take a look at the images below to see some of this year’s DEAM highlights:

Client Success: Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside shows off his selections for Chapter's "Staff Picks" table.
Stephen Whiteside shows off his selections for Chapters’ “Staff Picks” table.

Not everyone gets to work at their dream job, but South Team client Stephen Whiteside has been in his dream job for nearly two decades.

As an avid reader, working at Chapters was a natural fit for Whiteside, who has been at the Macleod Trail location for about 18 years now. Recently, he hosted his own “Staff Picks” table, where Chapters employees get to select a number of their favourite books, and put them out on a table as a recommendation to customers. Some of the selections from Whiteside include parts of the series for Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Star Trek. He said that he hopes readers who visit the store will enjoy these books as much as he did.

During his breaks and after his shift, it is not unusual to find Whiteside browsing the store to find his next title for the “Staff Picks” table.

A DEAM Come True


October is Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM), and we’re thrilled to be working with the Calgary Employment First Network (CEFN) again to let everyone know all about it!

The CEFN is hosting three great events this month to celebrate inclusive employment:

Wednesday, October 12: Let’s Talk Employment – Inclusive Leadership

What: Calgary Economic Development and the CEFN will discuss best business practices for creating a culture that embraces diversity. A panel of employers will share their experiences, challenges, and successes related to creating an environment where employees with disabilities can thrive. Register here.
When: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Where: Global Business Centre, Terrace View Room, 5th Floor; 136 8 Avenue SE

Wednesday, October 19: DEAM Film Festival

What: Bow Valley College, in partnership with the CEFN and Picture This…Film Festival, are pleased to offer a unique one day film festival focusing on employment and individuals with disabilities as part of the workforce. There will be a broad selection of films highlighting local and international perspectives on this important issue, with opportunities for discussion. Register here.
When: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Bow Valley College, North Campus Theatre, Room N124; 345 6 Avenue SE

Thursday, October 20: New Conversations

What: This unique seminar is ideal for Calgary HR Professionals, Managers, and business owners.  ‘Workplace Diversity Strategies: Utilizing Universal Design to Build an Inclusive Organization’ will provide Calgary Employers with insights, information and tools to build their capacity to engage in inclusive recruitment and create inclusive workplaces.
When: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Register here.
Caffé Artigiano; 5010 Richard Road SW

Wednesday, October 26: #DEAMEmployer Awards Gala

What: Calgary has so many incredible employers, and it’s time to celebrate them! Nominations are rolling in, and will be accepted up until October 16, 2016. Join us as we celebrate DEAM and recognize this year’s DEAM Employer Award recipients. Contact Prospect Human Services’ Alexi Davis to register.
When: 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Engineered Air Theatre; 205 8 Avenue SE

Looking for more information? Visit the CEFN website.