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Connecting to our communities: Developing Professionals Groups

March 17, 2021

Looking back at what a few of our DPGs accomplished in 2020

A Developing Professional Group (DPG) gives employees a chance to connect to their peers, leadership, professional development opportunities, and to connect with our communities all over the globe. Our DPGs plan events around four pillars:

  1. Connecting developing professionals to their peers;
  2. Connecting developing professionals with senior staff;
  3. Connecting developing professionals with development opportunities; and
  4. Connection developing professionals with our communities.

While this year felt different for our DPGs throughout the company, they were able to adapt and continue their chapters with little interruption.

The Louisville, Kentucky DPG participated in several events in December 2020 that benefited their local Salvation Army’s winter initiatives. The month started out with a DPG Digital Watercooler Event where holiday cards were made and delivered to the residents of the Salvation Army shelter. They also hosted a very successful virtual warm clothing drive as part of an event we called Cards, Coats, and Cookies.

All totaled, the DPG delivered 100 cards, 100 sweet treats, and 50+ pieces of warm clothing to benefit people in Louisville’s houseless community this holiday season. These events were a great way to continue connecting the group with their community and their peers through safe and virtual means.

In Edmonton, Alberta, the DPG successfully created a cookbook. This brought our Stantec family together by sharing personal recipes and photos to create their very own cookbook. Colleagues were asked to donate to a local food bank, and in exchange for their generosity, they were gifted a digital copy of the cookbook.

It was a passion project that has sparked a lot of creativity and sense of community even through our virtual world. Since this cookbook highlights the cultural diversity we have within the office, they are in talks with local Employee Resource Groups to collaborate on a future event together.

DPG India organized several virtual events throughout the year. Luckily, they were able to start out the year with two in-person events: a blood donation drive within the office which saw a collection of 74 pints of blood—which is a great number according to KEM Hospital Blood Bank, and a face painting competition to celebrate Holi, an ancient Hindu festival to mark the beginning of spring.

Once lockdown began, employees were missing lunch time catch-ups and teatime talks and were eager to see each other again. This led to the DPG organizing a fun selfie competition where employees would post their work from home selfies to the teams Yammer group.

Over the year, DPG India kept their employees connected and engaged through Sustainability Bingo, celebrating Independence Day in August with their in-house musical group preparing a video performance for everyone, starting a reader’s club taking place every two weeks, and creating a fantasy league for the Indian Premier League of cricket.

In the UK, the DPG evolved rapidly and established an extensive group of 400+ members located across six regions and 22 offices. The DPG created fun events like Christmas Karaoke, supported the World Kindness Day campaign, and continued the climate change workshop series from years past which involved influential thinking from organization, collaborative research, engagement, and thought leadership projects.

The DPG Forum occurred virtually every four weeks over the course of 2020 and covered a wide range of topics of actuality. Topics such as: Life and Work with COVID-19, the 4th Industrial Revolution which discussed clean economic growth and energy transition, Climate Change & Social Value Framework, Geotechnical Engineering, and Road to Chartership.

In Australia, the DPG looked for new ways to achieve the four DPG pillars. In doing so, the DPG facilitated connection with their peers by launching a National Coffee Connections program, randomly pairing employees for monthly 30-minute virtual catch ups. This program has grown to include New Zealand and currently has 80 participants. A Global Coffee Connections program was launched in February 2021 off the back of this success – which already has an incredible 784 participants.

They also connected with their community by raising $3,891 for WaterAid, participated in Clean Up Australia Day, volunteered with Engineers Without Borders to review university student project submissions, purchased the Indigenous Australia map to put in Stantec offices, and developed an Acknowledgement of Country PowerPoint slide.

How much can happen in one year? In Belgium, the DPGs achieved quite a bit. Implemented in January 2020, every new Stantec employee has been matched with a mentor which helps newcomers feel welcomed. This has resulted in 19 new mentor/mentee teams. Also ongoing are virtual yoga classes and online coffee breaks that take place every week since April 2020.

For International Women’s Day, the DPG invited Anna Koj, member of the Board at Professional Women International Brussels, to approach the matter of gender equality in the professional world. Eco-friendly office actions were also sought out by the DPG: reducing printing, sorting waste, filtering tap water instead of plastic bottles, healthy snacking, and vegetarian catering events.

In Italy, the pandemic did not prevent the DPG from organizing events and activities remotely in 2020. Special attention was paid to new hires: DPG facilitated connection with their peers by launching a Welcome on Board program. New employees were randomly paired with DPG buddies to make them feel welcomed and daily 30-minute virtual catch ups were organized with all members of staff. Also, DPG helped the Culture Manager organize monthly calls during quarantine about health and safety topics related to working from home.

In December, the DPG launched Climate Collage: a team building workshop about climate change. Around 20 members worked together to highlight the causes and consequences of climate change and share their reflections on collective solutions to propel future action.

Finally, to end the year with a boost in morale, the DPG organized a virtual Secret Santa for Christmas.

Together our DPGs are continuously making a positive impact at Stantec by working together while staying apart. We look forward to seeing what they accomplish in 2021.

Learn more about our Developing Professionals Group (DPG) at Stantec.

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