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Annual Diversity Awards Gala

Leadership in Immigrant Recruitment - Small Enterprise

2020 Winner: Sinewy Construction

Sinewy Construction specializes in large commercial projects and operates in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia. Sinewy Construction’s inclusive hiring strategies increase the possibilities for recruiting immigrants. Management is passionate about offering employment opportunities to newcomers based on their skills. Sinewy values international and Canadian experience equally, providing a chance for new immigrants on the basis of their practical knowledge. In the past year, it hired 12 job seekers referred by the Saskatoon Open Door Society. Newcomer employees and job candidates receive individual support and mentorship for professional integration into the construction industry. Working shoulder to shoulder with SODS, Sinewy Construction sends newcomer workers to various safety courses and encourages workers in pursuit of trade-based apprenticeship programs.

Leadership in Immigrant Recruitment - Large Enterprise

2020 Winner: Vendasta Technologies

Vendasta provides an end-to-end platform used exclusively by companies who sell products and services to small and medium businesses. Through their platform, SMB-serving companies generate recurring revenue with the sale of SaaS productivity and martech solutions. They can instantly provision, market, sell, deliver, bill, and produce reports for their SMB clients. Vendasta is known as a leader in inclusive hiring. Its People and Operations team sees education and experience as valuable assets, whether acquired locally or abroad. In Vendasta’s vision, diverse knowledge and best practices are given the priority. Vendasta Technologies shares job postings and application information with agencies serving immigrants, accepts their referrals, and participates in many pre-employment hiring events and employer showcases to help the newcomer job seeker prepare a strong application and land the job.

Leadership in Immigration Integration

2020 Winner: riide

riide provides local transportation seamlessly via a simple online app. Safety and ease of use make it a leading consumer choice. With ongoing mentorship and training for both novice and veteran drivers, riide helps them adapt to the workplace culture. Core values of communication and respect mean the company, its members reflect and honour the histories, languages and traditions of all cultures, while valuing and embracing different capacities, and abilities riide creates an inclusive work environment, free from discrimination, with ongoing training to promote and support diversity. It accommodates the cultural and religious practices of its diverse team, placing respect at the core of its code of ethics and encouraging open, respectful communication about diverse cultural behaviours.

Employer Partner of the Year

2020 Winner: Travelodge Hotel Saskatoon

Owned and operated by Airline Hotels, the Travelodge Hotel Saskatoon boasts over 45 years’ experience in the local hospitality industry. Employees appreciate its family-run environment and its culture of Respect, Integrity, Teamwork and Entrepreneurship. Travelodge has been collaborating with the Saskatoon Open Door Society for over a decade to promote successful immigrant employment. An example of our productive partnership is the Entry to Executive Hospitality Program. It helps newcomers gain entry into the hospitality industry and advance to supervisory positions. In 2019, Travelodge participated in two program intakes. Travelodge provided valuable input at all stages – facilities for classroom sessions and on-the-floor training with knowledgeable staff as trainers and mentors. It also accepted most of the program participants for paid work placements, and hired them for permanent positions afterwards.

Individual Achievement in Newcomer Employment and Integration

2020 Winner: Hongsen Zhao

Hongsen Zhao demonstrates a personal commitment to supporting new Canadians in their cultural and labour market integration in her work as a principal of Bright Horizons Chinese School and a manager of the Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot Restaurant. In both positions Hongsen engages in many cultural heritage and mentorship activities, with frequent meetings to share her insights and help newcomers find success in their employment. She provides job referrals, takes part in employment training sessions and hiring events, and supports instructors who help participants and their families adapt to their new environment. Hongsen has made a significant contribution to newcomer integration, leading sessions on skills for adapting to the workplace and helping employees understand their role in different job cultures.

Newcomer Entrepreneur

2020 Winner: Little Einstein’s Learning Centre Inc.

Little Einstein's Learning Centre Inc. offers high-quality babysitting and nanny services to the families of Saskatoon and area. All babysitters are thoroughly vetted and handpicked to provide short-term, long-term or last-minute service. The owner, Sam Zariwala, is a role model for newcomer entrepreneurs, demonstrating commitment to workplace diversity and giving back through community involvement. An enthusiastic volunteer, she invests a lot of her time in different causes. The Little Einstein’s staff is truly diverse, with no single ethnic group dominating. Together, Sam and her team provide mentorship to newcomers interested in entering the field and help them to realize their full potential. Little Einstein’s also contributes to many not-for-profit organizations through volunteering and in-kind donations.