Match­ing job seek­ers with em­ploy­ers, char­i­ties

Calgary Herald - - FINANCIAL POST - David Parker ap­pears Tues­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day. Read his col­umns on­line at cal­gary­her­ald. com/ busi­ness. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at info@ david­ DAVID PARKER

On July 1, Sid Mark, pres­i­dent and CEO of Fri­day Pro­fes­sional Group, as­sumed the role of pres­i­dent of Ro­tary Club of Cal­gary — Down­town. Two weeks later, he ac­cepted a cheque in the amount of $200,000, rec­og­niz­ing the work of his club and more than 800 of their vol­un­teers or­ga­niz­ing the Stampede Roundup at Fort Cal­gary.

That was at the Wed­nes­day Kiss con­cert. But at 2 p.m. on July 15, the de­ci­sion was made to not let the Ox­ford Stomp take place; there was so much wa­ter un­der the stage it was deemed dan­ger­ous, and the field was a sea of mud.

But Ro­tary had com­pleted its prepa­ra­tions. Af­ter a quick meet­ing with the com­mit­tee, a call was made to the Cal­gary Drop-In Cen­tre and 3,000 pounds of food from its world-fa­mous beef and bun din­ner, in­clud­ing more than 100 cooked roasts, were do­nated to sup­ply the cen­tre's guests with a sump­tu­ous meal.

It was just the kind of of­fer one would ex­pect from the Ro­tary Club, which, with an ac­tive mem­ber­ship of around 200, raises and dis­trib­utes more than $1.5 mil­lion an­nu­ally to lo­cal and global char­i­ties, thanks to its 65 hard-work­ing com­mit­tees and fel­low­ship ac­tiv­i­ties.

And just the kind of de­ci­sion Mark would en­cour­age, as a man who cares a lot for the less for­tu­nate — in his busi­ness as well as his com­mit­ment to Ro­tary.

Fri­day Pro­fes­sional Group is a staffing and re­cruit­ment agency that has been in busi­ness in this city for 30 years, and has been owned by Mark for the past 10. It ser­vices all in­dus­tries in pro­vid­ing tem­po­rary and per­ma­nent staffing for pro­fes­sional and of­fice work­ers.

But Mark was con­cerned about the can­di­dates who were not ac­cepted to po­si­tions they had ap­plied for, and sought a so­lu­tion to their needs. He worked with staffer Steve Mix and de­vel­oped soft­ware that would help job seek­ers find vol­un­teer work un­til they were able to get paid po­si­tions.

To­gether they founded WeEm­ploy Inc., an on­line re­cruit­ment com­pany that matches em­ploy­ers and char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions with in­di­vid­u­als seek­ing em­ploy­ment and vol­un­teer ac­tiv­i­ties.

There is no fee for job seek­ers who com­plete their de­tailed pro­file on­line, and the ser­vice is also free for char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions.

And com­pa­nies seek­ing staff can post an un­lim­ited num­ber of po­si­tions on WeEm­ploy for $99 per year, a big help to those who need peo­ple but do not have the bud­get to use con­ven­tional agen­cies.

The “Min­strel with a Mes­sage,” Tom Jack­son, says, “We live in ex­tra­or­di­nary times of stress for many and it will take ex­tra­or­di­nary com­mit­ments for us to work through our dif­fi­cul­ties.” A strong ad­vo­cate for so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, Jack­son is lend­ing his weight of in­flu­ence, ex­pe­ri­ence and pro­file as an Am­bas­sador of WeEm­ploy.

Launched just one year ago, the site has at­tracted 150 char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions and has al­ready pro­vided more than $250,000 in ser­vices to them both in Canada and the U.S.

Deeply rooted in col­lab­o­ra­tion and com­mu­nity build­ing, it has be­come a cen­tral­ized ac­cess point be­tween in­di­vid­u­als seek­ing var­i­ous so­cial ser­vices and the agen­cies who pro­vide them.

It has spread across the coun­try and south of the bor­der, and a quick check on its web­site shows vol­un­teer po­si­tions posted range from a gar­dener at Carewest and a cri­sis line vol­un­teer at the Dis­tress Cen­tre in Cal­gary, to a board mem­ber for An­duhyaun Shel­ter for abo­rig­i­nal women and chil­dren in Toronto.

Help­ing re­build peo­ple's lives is catch­ing on, and Mark and CEO Mix plan to fran­chise WeEm­ploy with a goal of two of­fices per prov­ince across Canada, and 120 lo­ca­tions in the U.S.

Af­ter many years of con­tri­bu­tion to the game of ten­nis, Mar­cel La­touche, pres­i­dent and CEO of MLG As­so­ciates and found­ing mem­ber and pres­i­dent of the In­sti­tute of Pub­lic Sec­tor Ac­count­abil­ity, will be in­ducted into the Ten­nis Al­berta Hall of Fame on Aug. 6.

La­touche has served as pres­i­dent of both Ten­nis Al­berta and board mem­ber of Ten­nis Canada, dur­ing which time he worked tire­lessly to pro­mote ju­nior de­vel­op­ment of his sport.

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