Showcasing excellence in people-first thinking, the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon (CPHR BC & Yukon) has announced the winners of its three annual awards: the Award of Excellence: 2017 HR Professional of the Year, the Rising Star Award and the Keeping People First: CEO Award.
Award of Excellence: HR Professional of the Year
This year’s winner was Ilka Bene, associate vice-president of HR at Island Savings and First West Credit Union. The award is given to a member who contributes by improving her organization’s bottom line, achieving business results and demonstrating leadership, and who serves as a personal and professional role model.
Bene has long provided strategic counsel to senior leadership, according to the association. Regarded as nothing less than a “guardian of equity,” her HR career spans 32 years, with the last 15 at Island Savings Credit Union.
Maintaining that equity was top of mind during the three years surrounding the merger of Island Savings and First West Credit Union.
“Bene’s experience and exceptional leadership skills were integral to effectively managing the transition and its impact on the employees. Strongly influencing the communication of each people services decision impacting Island staff, she in turn influenced the implementation of dozens of change projects to ensure as smooth a transition as possible,” said CPHR BC & YK.
Rising Star Award
Created to recognize and publicly honour a member who is “lighting the HR community on fire,” the Rising Star Award was given to Courtenay McKissock, senior HR advisor at Omicron Canada.
Having joined the HR function at Omicron in 2012, McKissock was thrust into a new leadership role three years later with a major restructuring, becoming senior HR advisor for the Vancouver-based architecture, engineering and construction firm and its Victoria and Calgary locations.
“Stepping up without hesitation to embrace a strategic level of responsibility, McKissock’s greatest contributions can be found at both ends of the spectrum and throughout, driving higher levels of employee engagement, anchoring HR as a key advisor and partner, and developing a positive culture companywide,” said the association.
Key to this success has been a redesigned performance management program, as well as a series of initiatives, including engagement surveys, manager skills training, mini-pulse checks, and an organization-wide career path program.
Keeping People First: CEO Award
Jim Lightbody, president and CEO of the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC), was presented with the Keeping People First: CEO award, created to recognize a CEO for outstanding leadership in people practices and supporting innovative HR.
Growing better business through people has been a hallmark of Lightbody’s leadership since stepping into the BCLC leadership position in 2014, according to the association.
“Since then, he has drawn upon his 15-plus years’ experience with BCLC —and a firm belief that “If you take care of the people, the people will take care of the business” — to forge a strategy grounded in empowering and developing BCLC’s team of 900 non-unionized employees,” said CPHR BC & YK.
Lightbody implemented a “build versus buy” strategy and made a firm commitment to talent as one of BCLC’s four core areas of focus. His impact is seen in the number: 73 per cent of all 2016 job posting were filled internally and the corporation has an employee engagement score of 83 per cent.
“As approachable as analytical, while always thinking about the business through the lens of people, Lightbody embodies the open, collaborative culture which he so strongly supports,” said the association. “Whether empowering employees to bring forward new ideas for improving the BCLC business and culture at their Advisory Committee of Employees, or reaching out to staff with his weekly emails or quarterly town halls: Lightbody has doubled down on talent and the win has been shared throughout the ‘house’ of BCLC.”
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