November 30, 2016
St.Amant wouldn’t be where it is today without their staff and nearly six decades of commitment to supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities and autism. With their hard work, the organization has grown from one building in St. Vital to supporting 1,600 families in over 100 locations across the province. Over 1,800 people are employed by St.Amant across the city and in rural Manitoba in full and part-time positions. Many take on new responsibilities each year.
“This past year has been very rewarding. Our organization has experienced a lot of growth and continues to respond to community needs and fulfill our strategic goals. We’re extremely grateful for the dedicated, passionate and innovative staff who work for St.Amant. It’s not every organization that could thrive during the significant evolution we’re experiencing right now,” said John Leggat, President & CEO.
One way the organization continues to grow is with programs like the Emergency Foster Services, which provides temporary support for youth in crisis. Kristen Maddison, a supervisor in that program says, “Working as an emergency foster provider gives a person skills that are invaluable; managing difficult or crisis situations well, giving unconditional care, and experiencing the joy of a child who is achieving successes, perhaps for the first time. They’re all part of the adventure.”
St.Amant supports managers, like Julie Desrochers (left) and Anne-Marie Gzebowski, to earn their Health Services Leadership and Management certificate from Red River College. Photo by Darcy Finley.
St.Amant continues to improve their work environment. The organization’s cultural awareness week featured meals prepared by staff from their home country, sketches by newcomers on workplace communication, plus a panel discussion with staff about their immigration experiences and challenges. The sketches and the panel created awareness and enlightenment among St.Amant staff and helped open up the door to new and candid discussions related to intercultural communications. It also gave newcomers to Canada the opportunity to share their culture and feel appreciated for their contribution to St.Amant.
Newly established this year are weekly huddles held with executive and managers, sharing brief updates on what’s happening in each area and identifying risks. This quick sharing format has improved communication and team work. St.Amant continues to hold large town halls that are live streamed and then archived on their YouTube channel. Off-site staff can submit questions through the online suggestion box or via text message. St.Amant has seen their engagement scores increase in their annual engagement survey.
Next year St.Amant hosts the Canadian Conference on Developmental Disabilities and Autism for the 25th time, providing staff an exceptional professional development and networking opportunity. The 2-day conference brings experts to Winnipeg to address the latest trends in the field of developmental disabilities and autism without the expense of leaving the Province, ensuring all 1,800 staff have access to quality development. In addition to the annual conference, St.Amant provides generous professional development for all areas of the organization. St.Amant has begun training at executive, managerial and supervisory level in leadership coaching.
St.Amant employees are generous and definitely care about the people they support. In fact, St.Amant has one of the highest staff engagement rates in fundraising to support the St.Amant Foundation. Every year, staff volunteer at the St.Amant Foundation’s signature fundraising event, the St.Amant Free the Spirit Festival.
“Money raised at the Festival has lasting effects all year long, from new connections made through the St.Amant Leisure Guide, to people attending hockey games and receiving new customized wheelchairs or equipment. Staff see the benefits of their donations and volunteer efforts.” said Juliette Mucha, Director of the St.Amant Foundation.
Staff are truly part of the community and also support other local charities such as Christmas Cheer Board, Winnipeg Harvest, Manitoba Marathon, Dragon Boat Festival and Movement Centre Bike Race.
St.Amant is proud of their work environment and their dedication to continually improve the culture making them one of the top employers in Manitoba for a sixth year.