Recognition Stories

Communications Awards of Excellence - Government of Canada’s / 2021

Unsung Heroes – 2020 Recognition Stories 

Countless volunteers take on the role of supporting the campaign year after year. They give their time and their talent to make a difference to those in our community - and to give hope and dignity to those who need it most.

The following stories showcase the “unsung heroes” of teams and individuals who have gone above and beyond in the 2020 campaign. 


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Harrow Ontario

Elaine Incitti has spearheaded GCWCC for 13 years. She began by continuing the traditional distribution of donation forms. Soon she realized she could do more - fund raising activities in October grew to include raffles, used book, pretzel and candy gram sales. The events ended Halloween with a barbeque & United Way guest speaker. 2020 was a challenge in raising funds virtually, but she was not letting a little thing like COVID-19 stop the giving, either. This year, to keep the fun going even at a distance, she organized an email Bingo & a gift card raffle to keep all engaged.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), National Capital Region

These folks seem to be the driving force for the AAFC GCWCC Pet Contest. They did something similar at the branch level last year and when called upon, quickly burst into action and took care of essentially everything. I bet this was one of the items for this unusual GCWCC campaign (re: COVID-necessitated virtual) that drew the most attention and that helped to draw people to the campaign and perhaps contributed significantly to the campaign's success.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), National Capital Region

As the campaign lead for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Daryl Nearing led the GCWCC team to success. His resiliency and creativity proved to be a tremendous asset when pivoting to a completely virtual and national campaign. Not only did AAFC surpass it's fundraising goal, but also proved to be the most successful campaign in years. His enthusiasm, generosity, and team spirit was contagious, propelling others to get involved, make donations, and spread kindness. Thank you Daryl for all of your hard work.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta

The Agri- Foods Campaign continues to be one of our strongest campaigns in Southern Alberta. It is largely due to the dedication, hard work, ingenuity, and leadership that Michele continues to demonstrate in her role as workplace champion. This year Michele Frick leaned into our virtual reality and ensured that her staff was still able to engage with their local United Way by arranging two virtual Lunch & Learns that expanded on issues her staff was interested in; “Supporting our Seniors” and “Supporting our Youth”. We are thrilled and grateful to have such a strong champion in Michele. 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Winnipeg

Debbie Leaman has been a strong and active supporter of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s GCWCC for years.

In 2020, Debbie served as Lead Ambassador for AAFC's GCWCC in Winnipeg. She canvassed staff virtually, and led other Ambassadors to ensure they had the information and tools they needed. She also helped plan events and worked closely with the campaign Lead in Ottawa.

Debbie's dedication, experience, energy, and support for the 2020 campaign were instrumental in helping AAFC staff in Winnipeg reach a participation rate of nearly 30% - far higher than the Departmental average participation rate. She is a genuine Unsung Hero!

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), National Capital Region

Natalie Rocque was the driving force behind this year's GCWCC CBSA Organizing Committee. She went above and beyond to ensure strong and regular communication between the organizers, comms team, ambassadors, volunteers, and special events coordinators so that the unprecedented virtual-only campaign went as smoothly as possible given the pandemic restrictions. She even somehow found time to volunteer as an ambassador for our branch, sending out hundreds of personal messages to staff. Through Natalie's tireless efforts during this campaign, we saw amazing levels of participation from our employees across the agency and even exceeded our original fundraising goals. 

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), National Capital Region

Within weeks of joining the CBSA, Director Khatera Akbari was nominated as this year’s Campaign Leader, supporting CBSA Champion VP Scott Harris, also new to the Agency. Together, they joined forces in establishing the campaign priorities, setting the tone for a successful campaign. Rather than focusing on the financial results, they prioritized compassion, humanity and genuine communication adopting a story-telling approach centered around shared experiences and caring for one another. In a pandemic year marked by hardships and challenges, they focused on community impact and changing lives which consequently motivated, inspired and led their peers towards a truly outstanding campaign.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), National Capital Region

Within weeks of joining a Director’s Office, Courtney Jacobs learned that the Executive she was supporting had been nominated as Campaign Leader. Having only recently joined the Public Service, Courtney’s first experience with GCWCC was from the perspective of supporting the Campaign Leader. Not only did she rise to this immense challenge, but played a pivotal role in its success, dedicating countless personal hours to GCWCC. Courtney’s meticulous attention to detail, her willingness to go above and beyond in order to find the right answer and her calm demeanor under pressure greatly impacted CBSA’s ability to deliver a successful campaign. 

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), National Capital Region

In support of CBSA’s overarching commitment to being a unified team, this year’s campaign prioritized greater national integration amongst HQ and the Regions, focusing on collaboration, sharing knowledge, lessons learned and experiences, while also respecting the individuality of each regional campaign. Regional and Branch Ambassadors, supported by their dedicated planning teams, rose the occasion. They each led campaign centered around honest story-telling, highlighting personal experiences and genuine connection with our peers. This year, for the very first time, CBSA set a national goal of raising $720,000, combining the HQ and regional goals. The team’s leadership allowed us to raise $872,449.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Edmonton

Edmonton’s CRA campaign was chaired by Crystal Scott. Her community spirit was evident by how she inspired others to give back. She raised awareness of local issues, encouraging employees to donate items and time to local charities. Through her steadfast commitment and ongoing support to her committee members, despite the challenges faced with the pandemic, she was able to energize her team and convert events and pledge drives to a virtual platform. This resulted in an increase of e-pledges and donations in support of our local campaign and community. Well done and Thank you Crystal for your strong leadership!

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Ontario Region

Ontario Region of the Canada Revenue Agency faced many challenges in our new, virtual work environment. These volunteers listened, learned and they pivoted. They re-connected us as a work family and shared their genuine desire to support those in need. They increased participation rates and electronic pledges through the use of new tools to reach out to donors. Their actions impacted our results and set the building blocks in place for future GCWCC success. In 2020 the Ontario Region raised over $946,000 and changed 3817 lives. They exceeded expectations and increased wellness, building a stronger community of people who care.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Victoria & Prince George

As fundraising events for the VINTSO (Vancouver Island and North Tax Services Office) GCWCC campaign, Michael McKay and his wife created Virtual Escape Rooms themed for Halloween, Remembrance Day, and the holidays, and contributed over 75-100 hours to developing each room. The local uptake on these fun, interactive team-building games, as well as several offices in our region, has been nothing short of astounding and the Committee was able to raise an additional $1,919.00 with by donation participation. The success of the Virtual Escape Rooms expanded to the recognition of the Western Region Assistant Commissioner.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), National Capital Region

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) Branch never turns down an opportunity to serve the community. Despite challenges that COVID-19 presented, our team of volunteers kicked into high gear by swiftly adjusting existing GCWCC plans to a new virtual world. For the first time, events were open to all employees Agency-wide. Ultimately the CPA team was able to capture the spirit of the campaign by connecting staff across the country to come together and support our communities. Contributions exceeded our goal of raising $275,000 Agency-wide with close to 900 donors making it possible.
Canadian Heritage, National Capital Region

In this Campaign Robert Crampton has clearly demonstrated conscious leadership. He led by example with hard work, passion, compassion, engagement, kindness, accountability and care. With authentic vulnerability, Robert recorded 8 funny, heartfelt videos (vlogs) to raise spirits during the pandemic, open hearts and create a sense of community. Based on science and data, Robert saw his Campaign vision through. He researched and educated us, so that we truly understood the impact of our contributions. He made each person on the team feel valued, acknowledged and heard; which resulted in team mobilization, contagious energy, inspired action and results beyond our expectations.
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), Yellowknife

Nazim Awan has been a tireless and enthusiastic ambassador for the GCWCC in CanNor’s Yellowknife office for the past several years. His support for his community extends beyond the GCWCC, and he demonstrates the spirit of generosity of the public service throughout the year. Shortly before the holidays, he was part of a group of volunteers who helped to prepare care kits containing toques, mitts, thermal socks and blankets providing the gift of warmth to families in need across the Northwest Territories. He truly is deserving of the title Unsung Hero.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), National Capital Region

Karine Marcoux continuously radiates kindness. Her enthusiasm and positivity ensured wide participation and appreciative colleagues. An inspiring, tireless team member, Karine was everywhere - weekends working to make the Valentine’s Day fundraiser a success, collaborating with a designer to create beautiful CNSC facemasks then processing hundreds of orders, contributing to a successful virtual campaign launch and Halloween party, helping with the creation of a CNSC Cookbook, drafting and sending all-staff emails, coordinating guest speakers, helping staff plan their events, updating the intranet page and organizing team meetings. Her inexhaustible enthusiasm fueled our campaign’s success. We cannot imagine anyone more deserving.

Communications Security Establishment (CSE), National Capital Region

Communicating about the CSE Charitable Campaign despite the pandemic was difficult. We were fortunate to have Breann Albert and Chloe Proulx on our committee as they brought many ideas on how best to communicate with employees in an effective and timely manner despite being in a work-from-home situation. Both worked many extra hours into the off-hours to ensure our campaign messages were getting out and read. They worked tirelessly in preparing video, electronic and print material to encourage as best a campaign as could be run through a pandemic and we we highly successful as a result!

Communications Security Establishment (CSE), National Capital Region

Alix Packard shined brightly as our Events Coordinator during this very difficult virtual campaign. She was instrumental organizing CSE's highly successful Virtual Events and was the key driver behind utilizing a popular e-commerce site managing event ticket sales, order fulfillment electronic payments in an effort to maintain social distancing and reduce building access. Most of the work done by Alix was done after-hours as she carried out her regular office duties daily. She has set the bar extremely high for future campaigns and we are so happy to have her on our campaign team here at CSE.

Employment and Social Development Canada  (ESDC), Atlantic Region

Alison Bryan was the employees responsible for communications for our campaign. The expectations were that she was developing only the communication plan but she did a lot more than that. She attended all of our meetings and was an active member in the campaign. She made sure that each provincial representative had their communications approved, she shared the processes and she even made sure that all our products met the standards for the accessibility and readability of the documents used. Her work was of excellent quality, always on time, and she made sure that the campaign had maximum visibility using different tools available.

Global Affairs Canada, National Capital Region

Iryna Grechko est la chef de campagne pour AMC depuis trois ans. Sa persévérance et son engagement envers la campagne et les communautés qu'elle sert sont inégalés. L’édition 2020 de la CCMTGC d’AMC a débuté tardivement et Iryna continue à travailler sans relâche pour trouver des moyens d'encourager les employés à faire leurs dons, même si les retenues à la source ne sont plus une option (elles représentent généralement 70 % des dons). Son attitude et son dévouement font d'elle la véritable championne de cette campagne!

Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSSG), National Capital Region

OSSG relies on special events annually to reach beyond the organization to support GCWCC. These include a silent auction which raises thousands of dollars annually. Anna Laperle has been a cornerstone of the auction - collecting donations, preparing them for bid, and making deliveries to winners.
2020’s challenge … replacing public events in a virtual campaign as COVID-19 left Rideau Hall closed.
Anna’s solution … take the auction online.
With extraordinary commitment, generous donors, a can-do approach to problem resolution and hard work, Anna and her team delivered OSGG’s first-ever virtual auction, raising over $3,000 and inspiring the organization through this innovative effort.

Parks Canada Agency, National Capital Region

Marlene Zaluski is an icon in the GCWCC. She has been involved on the committee for her directorate for as long as Parks Canada has been actively participating in the GCWCC. She is often the nameless and faceless person behind the scenes who's tireless work and efforts go unnoticed. She may not like the attention - but she absolutely deserves the recognition! She rose to the challenge this year and helped out not only with new tasks, but as the memory of the GCWCC at Parks. Without her, we could not have had the success that we did. Thank you Marlene!

Parks Canada, National Capital Region

Cydney Banton was not an official part of our campaign this year. Cydney is the EA for our Champion and VP, Christine Loth-Bown. That said, she went above and beyond to make sure our campaign was a success. Not just the minimum of managing Christine's calendar and so forth, but in coming up with ideas for events, and providing unwavering administrative support and guidance whenever needed. Though her position with the VPO involves many changing priorities, she moved heaven and earth to make sure that this campaign was the top priority, even sacrificing her email account for all-staff emails!

Parks Canada, Winnipeg

Amanda Harding has taken on the role of Regional Coordinator in Winnipeg for Parks Canada for many years. She has run her campaign from the Winnipeg Satellite office with far fewer resources and assistance than we have here in the NCR, but in spite of this, every year she runs multiple events, recruits ambassadors and raises the spirits of all those around her -- and all this while continuing her full time position as a textile conservator. This year, she was ready, willing and able to work with the National events, promoting them to the utmost and raising an additional 1200$!

Parole Board of Canada, National Capital Region

As with all departments, the Parole Board of Canada (National Office) had to conduct a virtual campaign & get creative! Fortunately, we had the energy, creativity, & dedication of Sarah Byron. Our office is small with about 170 employees & we were worried that we wouldn’t be able reach our campaign goal of $20,000, however, we greatly exceeded our goal by raising $25,171! Our success was a direct result of Sarah who is one of the campaign’s unsung heroes, & from PBC’s perspective, she deserves a “shout out” for all of her hard work that contributed to our success.

Service Canada, Cornwall Ontario

Glen McKiver has been the ambassador for the GCWCC at his Service Canada call centre in Cornwall for many years. Each year Glen meets with his co-workers and rallies them to plan special events and donate through payroll to the campaign. He has made the local campaign successful year after year. He understands the importance of giving back to his community and that those in the position to give, should give. Despite the Centre being closed due to COVID, he still contacted everyone to ensure that they signed on to payroll for another year! Thank you Glen!

Shared Services Canada (SSC), National Capital Region

The task seemed insurmountable with the branch target set at $50,500; last year, only $35,707 had been raised. Afterall, how could Mia Beisheim, a fresh face to the GCWCC campaign do what hadn’t been done by the veterans before? She started early, July 23rd to be exact and had her group of canvassers, selected and trained, before the summer ended. With 1,241 employees to canvass, volunteers chose to invite 10 employees to each MS Team canvassing meeting. A GCWCC branch newsletter was drafted along with prize incentives during blitz periods. The results spoke for themselves: $62,654.12 raised with 10.31% participation. 

Shared Services Canada (SSC), National Capital Region

Mike Goudie was the GCWCC Branch Coordinator for SSC’s largest Branch - Networks, Security and Digital Services, with 2400 employees. Mike was late joining the campaign therefore, he was behind in recruiting volunteers and canvassing. This however, did not deter Mike. No matter how busy Mike was he continued to recruit volunteers, give GCWCC presentations, assist with the running of events and canvassing his fellow co-workers. Failure was Not an option! In the end, Mike and his team not only met their target but they exceeded it by 65%.

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