Enterpreneur of the Year - Design Revolution
Sunny Gervan is a graduate of the ODSP Employment Supports funded BIZ Futures Self-Employment Program for People with Disabilities delivered at the Toronto Business Development Centre.
Growing up knee-deep in her parent's home-based renovation business, Sunny Gervan's lifelong interest in home design began early. Later, she also developed an enthusiasm for environmental issues and is a devotee of the creative arts. By combining her passions, Sunny looked to create a full-service architectural and restoration company. She did just that and is a true inspiration to all entrepreneurs with disabilities. Through the BIZ Futures program, Sunny was able to create a comprehensive business plan and develop the confidence to believe that she could be a successful entrepreneur and support herself despite health challenges. Sunny's path had not been without struggle, having faced debilitating fatigue and illness. But through her love for Moksha Yoga and a true passion for her work, Sunny has overcome the obstacles and today runs a thriving "revolutionary" home design business.
With a focus on sustainable design and eco-friendly home renovation products, Design Revolution's services include architectural plans, building permit procurement and project management. Recently she expanded her business into custom kitchen design which has led to even more projects for her firm and an even brighter future. For further information on Sunny's business, please visit www.designrevolution.ca
Small Employer of the Year - On The Park Events and Conference Centre
On the Park have communicated with partner agency Ontario March of Dimes in working together when accommodations have been needed. They repeatedly addressed and implemented easier solutions in efforts to help clients with their tasks. OTP continually contributes to most of the funding campaign events held at their establishment.
They have also been a contributor to organization such as Providence Health Care, Justin Eves Foundation and The Brazilian Ball to name a few. Have provided flexible staffing OTP has always met and exceeded accommodations and needs. On the Park has continued to have a social conscience thanks to John Neretlis whose family has been touched by a person with a disability. John has taken on a big role in being active in creating an inclusive workplace.
Midsize Employer of the Year - Mark Wafer Tim Horton's Franchise Owner
Mark's first connection with CLT was 12 years ago. He was taking co-op students from Maplewood High School. He wanted to hire an individual in the co-op programme. The teacher introduced him to our Job Placement Dept. This individual has been employed ever since. Mark has donated bicycles, coffee makers, gift baskets to our fundraisers and always has our United Way Golf tournament on his schedule.
This began his commitment to our individuals and support of our programme. Mark's generosity and advocacy has been immense. He believes in promoting our individuals.
Mark saw the growth and confidence in the individual, and started a successful and meaningful relationship with CLT. He currently has 18 of our individuals in his stores. All are paid positions. He introduced our programme to many other franchisees, which are now involved with CLT. They also have hired many of our individuals. Mark recognises their abilities.
He has asked his staff to modify positions to accommodate our clients. His staff is trained to respect and nurture our individuals. He has always felt that their growth and abilities must come first. He has opened the door to their involvement in Health and Safety committees as well as social committees. He feels their contributions are very real.
Mark realises our clients have difficulties. When they have acted out or encountered problems, he has always asked CLT staff to help in the problem solving to make sure it works for the individuals. He will modify job/hours to accommodate our individuals. He provides free lunches and snacks for our clients. The uniforms are also provided for free whereas the other staff has to pay for both.
Large Employer of the Year - Loblaw Company Ltd
Julie Raso has been a long-time supporter of Project Work and our participants. Over the years, Julie has employed over 15 participants from Project Work as Front End Service Clerks. Julie's patience, support, understanding and accommodations have allowed many of our participants to succeed in securing and maintaining paid employment.
The main focus of Project Work is to help our participants find paid employment and to provide on-site job coaching in order for them to succeed in the workforce and within their communities. Julie has been an advocate and a partner in the relationship between Loblaw and Project Work.
As the Front End Manager, Julie has welcomed the opportunity to allow each Employment Consultant to provide job coaching in all areas of the hiring process. Employment Consultants have provided job coaching during interviews, orientations, job trials, training and any other necessary areas of concern.
Julie's open door policy is a confirmation that she is dedicated to the overall continued success of our participants as well as her on-going relationship with Project Work.