Staff Development Day draws over 300
It’s hard to imagine the kind of development sessions that would have inspired staff a century ago. But as Wilfrid Laurier University celebrates its 100th anniversary, it’s clear that employees at Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses were eager to learn about project management, writing, event planning and a number of other topics at the first-ever Staff Development Day.
“Staff development is a key element for anyone who thrives for success,” Max Blouw, president and vicechancellor of Laurier, told staff in his opening address. “Companies and organizations are only as good as their people.”
More than 300 staff members registered for the May 4 event, which kicked off with a keynote lecture on generational diversity by consultant Nora Spinks. Spinks spoke about why each generation communicates and works in its own unique way.
“Each generation brings their uniqueness to work,” said Spinks. “Understanding where they are coming from makes life easier.”
Following the keynote address, participants spread out into individual sessions such as project management best practices, event planning 101, and the multi-campus environment.
“There are a variety of topics, but there are some common trends,” said Beth Noble, a development officer on the Waterloo campus who attended the writing, event planning and multi-campus workshops. “Some of them are outside of my role, but they do relate to what I do.”
Noble added that the day was a nice break from the usual routine.
“Today is also a chance to meet people from other departments and learn from other departments.”
The event was organized by a committee led by Jennifer Porritt, manager of Learning and Organizational Development, and Kate Konopka, manager of Employee Relations. Porritt and Konopka had heard of this type of event being held at other institutions and thought it would be a good addition to centennial celebrations at Laurier.
“We really wanted to do something fun for staff,” said Porritt. She said they were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who came forward with ideas for sessions. Volunteers from various departments and campuses helped to keep the day running smoothly, including a barbeque lunch in the quad.
“There were a lot of people who helped and participated in the day,” said Konopka. “It’s really indicative of the community here at Laurier.”