By NICOLE JOBES
The breakfast featured bacon and eggs with a side of hard work and genuine passion.
Literally a “breakfast of champions,” the sixth annual Employer Recognition Breakfast was held on Oct. 25 by the Employment Facilitation Network of Cambridge and North Dumfries.
At some point in your career, you’ll more than likely have a boss you don’t like; the bosses at this event were the ones you wish you had. The recognition breakfast celebrates local employers who go above and beyond by helping people in their community. This includes helping people obtain work experiences, and providing training and employment opportunities.
The early morning ceremony was co-ordinated by a team of executives from different organizations, under the Employment Facilitation Network. Charlie Matjanec, an employment adviser at Conestoga College, was a member of the planning committee.
“The event itself is really a way of saying thank you to those employers for the work that they’ve done with us,” said Matjanec. “The message we try to capture is ‘you’ve done a wonderful job, come on in, we’d like to honour you through this reception.’”
The event’s master of ceremonies was Greg Durocher, president and CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. Among the dignitaries was Ken Seiling, Waterloo Region’s regional chair. According to Matjanec, Seiling has been a part of the event for the entire six years they’ve been serving coffee and celebrating the efforts of local employers.
Not all was business as usual, as keynote speaker, Neil Aitchison, took the podium. A former Conestoga College graduate, Aitchison is a well-known broadcast executive and radio personality.
Despite the foggy day, Aitchison lightened the mood with his colourful humour. He spoke of people in a hurry to retire, and the importance of employers like the ones recognized in the community, while adding his two cents and a few jokes.
“It’s an initiative we should all keep in mind … because we’re a long time dead,” Aitchison said about the employers being recognized. “We should live every day as it’s our last, and one of these days you’ll be right.”
Aitchison said he had to quote Aristotle, as he jokingly noted that every public speaker must quote a Greek poet. “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
Even the awards themselves were a celebration of local artistry. Ron Keachie, an artist born and raised in Cambridge, employs computers, cameras and woodworking to create his art. For the recognition breakfast he produced photos of the communities of Cambridge: Galt, Hespeler, and Preston. Utilizing his woodworking skills, Keachie then handcrafted each frame to complete his vision. The results were a one-of-a-kind piece that were given to every employer recognized.
Established in 2004, the recognition breakfast is planned by the Employment Facilitation Network of Cambridge and North Dumfries. The EFN is a local network of employment and training agencies that work together to assist in reducing the barriers to employment and training services for locals. The members of the network seek to increase awareness or employment and training services and to facilitate communication between the network and other employment groups or agencies.
As Aitchison ended his speech he gave those in attendance one more piece of advice: “For every mile of road there’s two miles of ditch, stay out of them.”