BC HRMA Announces 2013 Professional Award Recipients

On May 1, 2013, the BC Human Resources Management Association (BC HRMA) announced the recipients of its annual awards – the HR Professional of the Year, Innovation and Rising Star. BC HRMA’s Professional Awards are sponsored by The Vancouver Sun and The Province.

Award of Excellence: HR Professional of the Year

cindy-dopsonCindy Dopson, CHRP, the director of Human Resources at the BC Cancer Foundation, was announced as the recipient of the Award of Excellence: HR Professional of the Year.

With minimal resources Cindy has transformed Human Resources at the BCCF and in fact acted as a transformational leader for the organization and its business results and her efforts are considered an essential part of turning around key aspects of this not-for-profit foundation.

Brought on board during a time of extensive restructuring and executive change, Cindy’s professionalism and dedication helped guide the transformation process and firmly align the HR budget with the Foundation’s primary mandate—to raise funds for cancer research.

The real story here is that her work is a great example of a partnership between the CEO and HR to transform an organization – a partnership which achieved phenomenal business results.  Revenues per full time hire, a key metric for a fundraising organization, are up 17 per cent, employee engagement is up significantly, and employee sick days are down.

Cindy also takes her energy beyond the BCCF and her extensive volunteer work includes co-leading the Vancouver Non-Profit HR Roundtable. This has allowed the spread of HR expertise and positive change in a sector that is always constrained in terms of its resources.

By setting a standard of professionalism that both permeates and extends beyond the workplace, Cindy Dopson embodies both the business mind and people best that HR has to offer.

Nominated finalists alongside Dopson were Rob Cutler, CHRP, vice president of Human Resources at the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC and Deborah Maynard, CHRP, vice president of Human Resources and Training at Cascade Aerospace in Abbotsford.

The Award of Excellence: HR Professional of the Year is given to an individual who contributes to an organization by achieving significant business results and by demonstrating exceptional leadership both as a personal and professional role model.


Award of Excellence: Innovation

kal-tire_marlene_natalieThis year’s innovation recipient is comprised of a team of individuals represented by Marlene Higgins, CHRP director of Human Resources at Kal Tire in Vernon and Natalie Michael, CHRP, principal at The Karmichael Group in West Vancouver. Kal Tire’s BEST Careers Program and Learning Culture was the program that was nominated.

Over the course of the past 60 years, Kal Tire has built its reputation on the strength of its customer service. With 5,000 employees spread over 240 store locations in 19 countries, the company’s growth has been exponential in the past five years. Adding one new store every year, the company faced growing challenges of management leadership, retention, and career opportunity while maintaining their level of customer service.

With strong support from the president and internal partners, the team developed and implemented leadership programs to grow their global and retail needs. Partnering with Harvard University and The Karmichael Group, they developed a series of management certification programs that were launched in 2008. A peer panel certification approach ensured that even with a flexible program format, the quality was consistent.

These multi-lingual management certification programs led to a pipeline of skilled managers qualified to run their network of stores. Coupled with a ‘pay for knowledge’ structure which awards team members on a career track for management and  certified managers with compensation increases, the ‘mentoring’ store also receives compensation for every manager certified and placed in a new role.

What really makes their approach innovative is that the incentives create store and organizational-wide commitment to learning. Ensuring participation is supported, makes stores happy to be the training ground for leaders, and proud when their leaders move on to the next challenge. Additionally, making the program accessible, whether leaders are in Vernon or Mozambique, while creating structures that ensure some consistency and rigor, take ‘innovation’ to the next level.

The Award of Excellence: Innovation recognizes an individual or team that has successfully implemented an innovative and progressive program and/or project to a new or ongoing HR challenge or opportunity.


Rising Star Award

sabrina-mowbraySabrina Mowbray, CHRP is the Human Resources advisor at Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd in Prince George and the winner of the Rising Star Award.

After working in both the hospitality and aviation industry, Sabrina discovered her true passion—human resources. Eager to begin her new career in HR, Sabrina joined Sinclar Group, initially on a part-time basis. On April 16, 2012, she accepted the company’s offer of a full-time HR coordinator.

One week later, disaster struck and Sabrina faced a crisis few face in a lifetime of HR. At 9:45pm the evening of April 23rd, 2012 an explosion followed by a massive fire destroyed the company’s Lakeland sawmill. Two long-term employees died of their injuries and many others suffered catastrophic injuries. With the HR director position vacant, Sabrina stepped up and took charge of the HR response to the catastrophe.

In the days and weeks that followed, Sabrina made herself available 24/7 to everyone who needed support. She worked with injured employees and WorkSafeBC to manage claims and coordinated with the company’s EFAP provider and others to put the necessary emotional supports in place. To this day, she oversees efforts to assist 160 displaced employees find alternate employment.

Above, beyond and throughout the call of duty, Sabrina’s efforts were both extraordinary and all this while managing her many other responsibilities including being part of a small group tasked with bringing a strategic, professional and coordinated focus to the HR function within the Sinclair Group.

Alongside Mowbray, nominated finalists included Nilesh Bhagat, CHRP, rewards analyst at Best Buy Canada and Sarina Ram, CHRP, Human Resources administrator at Western Potash Corporation.

The Rising Star Award recognizes and honours a BC HRMA member who, at the early stages of their career, is making a significant positive impact both within their organization and their community.


Additional information on all award finalists is available on bchrma.org/awards.

Congratulations to all award recipients!





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