For many Albertans (and the rest of the world), 2020 cannot end soon enough. COVID-19, economic downturn, social and racial inequality – there’s a long list of tribulations we want to forget.
For us at CarePros, 2020 has been a year we will remember forever.
In October 2020, we debuted at #13 on The Canadian Business STARTUP List 2020, and shortly after we received our Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation. Our very own CarePros Founder & President Charles Wong is also the recipient of this year’s Alberta Business Awards of Distinction Young Entrepreneur Award.
But out of all the praises, accolades, and awards that we as a company have recently won, perhaps no award represents who we are more than receiving the 2020 ABAD Diversity Award.
“This is the award we are most proud of,” smiled Clara Bouhamou, Manager, Strategy, People & Culture.
Diversity is not a simple trophy to be won, but an acknowledgement that our approach to creating an inclusive and safe space is also creating a culture of openness, creativity, and success. Our recent success has everything to do with how we treat one another. To some companies, diversity and inclusion are modern-day corporate buzz words or a marketing gimmick to appease millennials. But since our inception in 2016, inclusion has been ingrained into our very DNA. It is even etched into our core values:
We Are One
“We are proud to be a diverse and collaborative team – we value all perspectives when finding solutions to provide the best care.”
As we at CarePros are committed to innovating how to provide best-in-class youth and children behavioural care services, it is also just as essential for us to lead the way to create the best diversity and inclusion business practices. After all, care is for everyone. From our clients with mental and behavioural disabilities to the people employed here, we at CarePros are about treating everyone with dignity and respect.
“For me, the starting point of diversity and inclusion means anyone can come to our space and feel safe,” said Clara, “they don’t have to be afraid of sharing their life story and can be proud of being themselves.”
People and Culture Are at Our Forefront
CarePros’ employees aren’t just labourers punching the clock every morning, and that’s why our human resource department changed the department name to People and Culture.
“People aren’t resources, but people we care for,” grinned Clara. “We added culture [to the department title] because we want to make everyone’s lives better.”
It seems like a simple revelation, but it is also something that our staff has put much time and effort into engineering. It starts by hiring talented staff members that not only contribute their technical skills, but their own human experience and perspective. After all, we serve many diverse population groups with many needs, and our company staff needs to reflect those we care for. Between all the staff members here at CarePros, we can provide service assistance in 15 different languages.
Walk into our new CarePros head office on Calgary Trail, and you’ll find that all of us come from a wide range of race, background, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender identities, and sexual orientations. It’s only fitting that hanging in the common area of the office is a seasonally inspired chalk-drawn mural that simply says “Welcome.” The mural designed by local artist Georgina Campos serves as our daily reminder that within the walls of CarePros, we create a safe space for all.
When you meet us at CarePros for the first time, do not be surprised if we introduce ourselves by stating our preferred gender pronouns. All our preferred pronouns are even displayed proudly on our business cards and email signatures. We pride ourselves on being a safe place for the LGBTQ2IA+ community. You will even notice that our gender-neutral washrooms are right next to our meditation and multi-faith prayer room. While we have a physical space for diversity, it is our culture we all embrace here that makes the workplace an inclusive one.
“My goal for CarePros is to be a leader in Diversity and Inclusion in our community. We care deeply, and we want to make a difference in the world,” said Clara.
Partners in Diversity
As Albertans and businesses alike face the uncertain potential of another COVID-19 lockdown, we have been very fortunate to provide employment opportunities while expanding our best-in-class respite, group home, and childcare services. With so many businesses in Edmonton struggling financially during a time of economic downturn, we feel strongly about supporting small businesses who are more than just entrepreneurs, but community leaders advocating for social change.
“When we choose a vendor, we meet with those who share our core values,” said Clara.
At the forefront of all the decisions we make, we consider how to add value to the communities and businesses we work with. When we had to entrust a business with the task of providing our company with quality COVID-19 PPE masks, we looked no further than the appropriately named local business, The People’s Mask. Owner Martha Tessema started The People’s Mask when she realized her new mission of keeping our frontline workers and our city from COVID-19. The People’s Mask was one of many local businesses that participated in Edmonton’s first black-owned outdoor market, and exemplifies what it means to add social responsibility and diversity into our local economy and communities.
At CarePros, it’s not enough to only have a diverse workspace for our CarePros’ employees or to have best inclusion service practices for our clients. We have a responsibility to use our platform to advocate for social changes outside our office and that includes who we partner with.
With all the trials the year has brought us, 2020 has in many ways brought our diverse team even closer. Yes, at times we are separated due to our social distancing practices, but we are still one collaborative team using all our different perspectives to find the best care solutions for our valued clients. As 2020 comes to a close, we realize how influential our unique voices, together as one, really are.
“What can we do next year? What can we do in five years? What can we do in ten years? Maybe all of us together can make a huge difference,” said Clara.
Whatever the future brings, CarePros is shifting the conversation on diversity. It’s a conversation we hope that you will join us for.