More than 600 accomplished HR leaders gathered Thursday evening to celebrate their successes – but who took home a coveted trophy?
Sponsored by KPMG, the gala evening saw 19 awards handed out at Toronto’s historic Liberty Grand.
Those tributes spanned the breadth and scope of the industry from individual commendations to company-wide honours but perhaps the most notable accolade went to DST Consulting’s Philip Wilson.
“It’s a wonderful acknowledgement from my peers, and it came as a total surprise,” said Wilson, who was presented with the Queens University IRC Award for Lifetime Achievement in the HR Industry.
“For 35 years, I’ve been giving to the profession and to the community, and maybe this is a way for the profession to give back to me. I’m really, really humbled by that.”
The award is an acknowledgement of Wilson’s innovative approach to people management strategies and his stellar leadership in a variety of HR initiatives and roles.
The second-annual black-tie ceremony, dubbed the “Oscars of the HR space,” also saw Sherri Wright-Schwietz pick up the coveted KPMG Award for Canadian HR Leader of the Year.
Wright-Schwietz, head of talent and mastery at ATB Investor Services, described the win as a reward for her team’s collaborative efforts.
“It’s just validation – that you can be innovative in your people practices and you can be a best place to work without being a cutthroat organization,” she said. “It’s all about teamwork and collaboration. None of our programs are a one-woman program.”
The final selection in each category was the result of an exhaustive adjudication process, with the judging panel vetting hundreds of nominations before extending final nods. Sponsors of the event were as varied as the winners, from leading law firm Aird & Berlis LLP to Venngo.
“Wow! – that’s really the best way to describe this our second year for these awards,” said Tim Duce, president and CEO of KMI Publishing and Events, organizer of the awards and the media company behind HRD magazine and HRMonline.ca. “The event has garnered such industry support, something reflected in the calibre of our winners but also in the number and diversity of our attendees.
“Thanks to our sponsors for joining in the celebration of HR’s diverse and growing achievements.”
Winners of the 2015 Canadian HR Awards:
The Cotton Candy Award for Best Reward and Recognition Strategy – CIBC Mellon
The HRD Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for Best Industry Service Provider – KPMG People Services
The Kids & Company Award for Best HR Strategic Plan – Empire Communities
The Cisco Award for Most Innovative Use of HR Technology – Traction On Demand
The IBM Gherson Award for Next Generation Employment Initiative of the Year – Amec Foster Wheeler Nuclear Canada
The Personalized Prescribing Award for Best HR Communication Strategy – Rogers Communications
The Accompass Award for Best Employer Branding – Fibernetics Corporation
The Venngo Award for Best Employee Engagement Strategy – Great Wolf Lodge (Jim Pattison Group)
The Queens University IRC Award for Lifetime Achievement in the HR Industry – DST Consulting Engineers – Philip Wilson
The WMC (Western Management Consultants) Award for Best Talent Management Strategy – Hydro Ottawa’s Prime Time Program
The HRM Online Award for External HR Consultancy of the Year – Inspired HR
The Winds of Change Consulting Award for Best Health & Wellness Strategy – David Suzuki Foundation
The Directors College Award for Best Learning & Development Strategy – MD Financial Management
The Beyond Boardrooms Award for Canadian HR Rising Star of the Year – Colliers International – Dawn Farahani
The MaxSys Staffing & Consulting Award for Most Effective Recruitment Strategy – Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority)
The Beneplan Co-Operative Award for HR Team of the Year (fewer than 500 employees in Canada) – Artis REIT HR Team
The Aird & Berlis LLP Award for Canadian HR Champion – CEO of the Year – The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Ltd. – John Sullivan
The McLean & Company Award for HR Team of the Year (500 employees or more in Canada) – Pelmorex Media HR Team
The KPMG Award for Canadian HR Leader of the Year – ATB Financial – Sherri Wright-Schwietz