The Fath Group – 2020 Years of Service Awards

WRITTEN BY KELSEY WILLIAMS | JANUARY 2021

A long-standing career with the same organization has become rare and the average length of time someone stays is 4-5 years. We’ve had the pleasure of working with The Fath Group for close to 10 years and we have always admired their support and appreciation of their staff.

Annually they host a Years of Service Awards event and every year they have people being recognized for 25, 30, and 35 years! This is a high impact and important event for the team, their culture and the staff being recognized.

There are a number of simple touches that make this event special. The invitations are personalized with staff names and award recipients receive a unique stamp on their invite showing that they are an honoured guest this year. At the event, award recipients are recognized one by one by the owners of the company and are presented with a plaque and gift certificate based on their number of years of service. Recognition starts at 10 years and goes up in 5 year increments. Photos are taken with management and the owners and everyone gets in on the cheering and congratulations for their fellow colleagues. 

You would think that working with people for this many years you would know everything about them, but we try and have a little fun with an interactive trivia game during the program where guests use their phone to vote on which award recipient matches the trivia fact. The best trivia facts are the most obscure things that their colleagues might never know about them and it makes for great conversation starters at the tables during the meal.

Although this event is a short 1.5-hour luncheon, the focus is on the guests of honour and sharing in their success. Not all events need to be grand productions with large budgets and lengthy programs.  Find what is of most value to your employees and recognize them in a way that is meaningful to them. That’s a successful event.

Canadian Western Bank HR & Corporate Communications

Surprise Appreciation Event 2021

Theme: Yearbook 2020

Many people say there are few surprises in life but we are happy to share that the majority of the Canadian Western Bank HR & Corporate Communications team was truly surprised when they joined what they thought was their regular weekly team meeting.

As you can imagine, working in HR & Communications during a pandemic was especially challenging. This CWB team worked tirelessly to make sure everyone was supported and had what they needed to succeed. With the emphasis always being on taking care of other people, the leadership team wanted to ensure their staff knew how vital their work is and how much the organization appreciates them.

A surprise event is always a nice change from doing the typical invite list, invitations and RSVP reminders and all of the pre-event guest work. Instead, we went into stealth mode and were only able to correspond with select people that knew about the planning of the event and had to make sure all of our communications emphasized that it was a SURPRISE, SO DON’T RUIN IT!

We developed a Yearbook 2020 theme for their appreciation event to commemorate the past year and the challenges they overcame but also to graduate and mentally ‘move on’ to the next chapter. The short 1-hour virtual program consisted of a commencement address, a year in review and yearbook messages from the CEO, Executive, and numerous colleagues across the organization that benefited from the team’s work.

As you would find in a yearbook, the MC shared about some of the social clubs within the group, for example the Pets Club who always had their pets in view on Teams calls and the Travel Club who was struggling to find new stories this year. Using online live polling, the Most Likely To winners were also crowned in areas such as most likely to hug a teammate when COVID is over and most likely to use a GIF during a Teams call.  To add to the fun, the MC was a great sport and wore a gown and cap and used the custom-made Teams background we supplied to make it look like he was on a graduation stage. We even used their corporate values as the symbols on the banners of the stage!

Although graduation and a yearbook are more of an annual occurrence, recognition and appreciation is best shared regularly amongst the team and the entire organization. Going forward, staff were challenged to add a calendar reminder every Friday to send an email or two of appreciation to a colleague. Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams

Shoes for the Shoemaker’s Wife…. Finally!

There’s an old proverb that can be traced back to the mid-1500s ‘the cobblers wife/children have no shoes’. It is referenced in some variation in German, French, English, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese and it even transcends industries – the cobbler and his family are shoeless because they focus all their efforts, product and knowledge onto their customers and, in a more modern version, the plumber’s house has a dripping tap. I feel many an entrepreneur can relate to these sayings, the ED team included.


The proverb aptly describes what has been happening in ED’s digital life for at least the last 7 years if not longer. The shoemaker’s wife has long been poorly shod in the digital world – our ED website was a great investment…in 2010 and has been in dire need of updating and attention for at least the last 8 years. In the proverb, the shoemaker’s wife spends her days surrounded by beautiful, well-crafted shoes, meant for other’s feet. The ED team has always been hard at work on behalf of others and we rarely make the time and space to work on our own ‘shoes’ (aka brand). We have worn the outdated shoes of the cobbler’s wife long enough!


Like was the case for many in the event world, the pandemic put a heartbreaking hard stop to all our work in the Spring of 2020. The ED team stumbled along like everyone else stubbing our toes in the dark as we tried to comprehend the incomprehensible. For a bunch of planners, it was torture (and very hard on our toes!)

Standard issue pandemic foot wear


After a few laps around the pandemic dance floor, we found the joy of a slower pace; bike rides and family time, close-to-home stay-cations and five star take-out. Through the summer we consulted on the important projects of a few brave clients but we were still wearing our worn out shoes, standing on the sidelines at the dance.


As September came, the leaves turned and began to fall, we found our bearings in the world of virtual events and have again begun to thrive. We found our groove – and the old, worn out ‘digital’ shoes just could not keep up anymore.


We are so excited to introduce you to our new, beautiful, shoes…I mean website!


Thanks to a lot of hard work of the incredible Kelsey and Jen we have a brand new website that, in this humble ‘shoemaker’s’ opinion, beautifully captures our passion and work with our amazing clients. We invite you to have a look around, let us know what you think and we can’t wait to dance the night away with you again soon.

The shoes I can’t wait to wear after the winter and pandemic!


Also connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram – yes, those shoes also got some much needed attention.

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