͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌     ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌     ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌     ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌      ͏ ‌     
About Us


Thank you Pero for walking us through some of the DEI survey results and introducing the Belonging for All concept at this week’s town hall. Virtual town hall presentations are odd experiences, as you talk to no one and everyone at the same time. Add to that a topic that most find uncomfortable, and it requires some courage to accomplish. Bravo Pero.

It is not surprising that discussions around belonging make most of us uncomfortable. It is largely subjective and calls for a great deal of empathy. We don’t belong so much as we feel we belong. Or don’t. And in a company with a lot of business, topic and technical expertise, there are precious few experts in DEI, and none that work at Annex. We’re not used to being amateurs. But we must get used to it if we are going to improve all our experiences.

And it is a world where intent can count as much as results, and where perception is reality. That perception is based on how we feel and how we are made to feel over time. I used the word “feel” twice more in that sentence than I’ve used it in the last month.

As a very relevant example for our roles, women or employees of colour in less progressive sectors like construction or public safety feel or see sexism or racism that their white male colleagues do not. In 15+ years in forestry I found loggers to be decent, respectful folks. Jennifer E or Maria C before her may have different stories to tell. The experiences can be completely different and completely real. It needs to be understood and addressed, but how? If managers feel they are listening, yet some employees feel unheard, what’s the solution?

It’s neither straight-forward nor simple to correct, as Annex plays in the larger theater of society. For example, how do we address clear survey results showing that people that look a lot like me (except with less fashion sense) rate their experience lowest in the company around fairness of opportunity, career path and voice. This group objectively does very well on the seniority of their roles and in overall compensation. How do we address those seemingly conflicting feelings, and in so doing improve the overall DEI score Pero introduced?

I suspect - in order - that bias training, more regular and open discussion, and tackling ageism head on will help mitigate the three above examples, but I don’t have the answers. That’s why Pero is rustling up a Belonging for All volunteer committee that will reflect our wider community. If you want to make Annex a better place to work and likely improve yourself in the process, consider joining.

As Pero and the new Belonging Committee dig into the details, we’ll continue to work away. For starters, many in the executive team are taking Covey courses on identifying bias. Self education on this topic was in fact an Own It goal of myself and many of my direct reports the year before last, so it will be a refresher and fresh perspective for some. You might have a look yourself – it’s well done and uncovers some surprising biases among us all.

We will also make the call on the mobility of our two Annex Gift Days to observe non-Christian faith holidays in Monday’s executive team meeting. There is something fitting, or perhaps ironic, on making that call on Easter Monday.

On that note, for those who celebrate or like my family at least gather for the long weekend, Happy Easter and safe travels.

As I’ve said before, belonging is not the flavour of the month. It’s in fact key to doing good work and being good to work with.

Scott Jamieson, CEO 
sjamieson@annexbusinessmedia.com; mobile: 519-410-4000


Virtual Trolls

For more electronic elves, and from people not named Stacy, visit The Wall!

To Alex R, for Going Beyond
From Stacy – “A live podcast from the CMPX Trade Show floor streamed live for virtual attendees via Zoom? Complete with multiple camera angles, an intro and outro for the sponsor (IBC), and recorded as both video and audio? No problem for our webinar wizard, Alex. He worked with Doug, the HPAC team, and the venue's AV team to pull off this multi-media feat!” Editor’s note: I found the whole project very groovy, so hats off to Alex and Doug P for putting it out there.

To Adam D, for Owning It
From Stacy – “For years, Adam has worked with the CCE team on continually improving the CCE Awards application and judging platform. The 2024 Notice of Intention to Enter, which has evolved into a user-friendly submission form complete with online payment, closed with 96 submissions. That's over $40,000 in top-line revenue for CCE already captured via Stripe.”

To Azeemah, for Working Together
From Tara – “Minutes before the OHS VE went live, when testing a sponsor video, we found the sound didn't work (for me or Todd). I asked Azeemah to try. She jumped right on and the sound worked when she played the video! Thank you for saving the day Azeemah, staying to play the video and ensuring the sponsor's commercial played perfectly.”


What's Working

Live webcasting
Doug P and the HPAC team do a regular webinar called 30 Mechanical Minutes. When the team found out that a live podcast area would be set up at the CMPX plumbing show they jumped on the chance to record this live. They generated $8.5K in sponsorship, had some fun, and created some welcome buzz. So Doug, what’s life in a fishbowl like?

Doug P, far left, hosts our mechanical experts for a live 30 Mechanical Minutes

Printing’s future
Thanks to Bob and Michael M who met with Adam R, Michelle S and me to map out the next three years for the print plant. While manufacturing is not new to me, the specifics of printing are, and Bob and Michael patiently walked us through the process from production files through to shipping and billing. We covered required staff additions, training plans, equipment and computer investments, marketing, scheduling coordination with the media side and more. It’s not Annex if you’re not learning.

Finding the next gen
Security • Police • Fire Career Expo was held in Toronto on Wednesday with a record turnout of approximately 450 participants. Hosted by Canadian Security, Blue Line and Canadian Firefighter, the expo showcased a wide variety of police and fire agencies, security companies, and others allied to the field, including a very popular K-9 unit, looking to recruit and hire. Mentors representing police, fire and security disciplines were also on hand to conduct mock interview sessions with attendees and offer advice on resume-writing and how to impress recruiters. Next up for Career Expo is a stop in Vancouver in May, followed by a visit to Edmonton in October. In the end, the Toronto event generated more than $91k in revenue and a ROR of 60%. This event also created great community buzz on LinkedIn. Editor’s note: Thanks to Neil for sending me this recap.

Protection for all
Yesterday’s ProtectHer OHS virtual event was enthusiastically embraced by our community and illustrates the role we can have as brands in advancing industries where all belong. We had 806 registrants with over 426 attending live from across Canada and the world. Sponsorships proved a tougher nut to crack, but we secured two gold totalling $10,550 and hope the warm industry response helps attract more sponsors next time. Here is a testimony from one of our presenters. “It was amazing, it was my pleasure to be part of such an empowering event. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas. All you are incredible leaders breaking barriers and contributing significantly to the industry’s growth and innovation. This symposium event has been a testament to the growing presence and influence of women in construction. I greatly appreciate all the efforts.”

Blue Line Expo
The third annual Ontario Association of Police Chiefs (OACP) and Blue Line Expo was held this past Tuesday in a brand-new location: Ottawa. Moving to a new city after so many years in the Toronto area had some challenges, but the event was a great success. It featured 61 booths, more than 220 pre-registrations and 28 walk-ins — in addition to all the sponsors and exhibitors. In the end, the OACP & Blue Line Expo generated more than $121k in revenue and an amazing 72% ROR. Congratulations to the Blue Line team and thanks to Maria in our events department for all her hard work, energy and insights on facilitating this event. Editor’s note: Thanks to Brittani for sending this report.

Some of our Blue Line Expo team, from left – Brittani, Janice and Adam S.

For Your Benefit

Time is something that you can’t always put a price on. Annex Gift Days are a way to give more time to our colleagues to spend with family, friends, or to have time to themselves. In addition to the ten statutory holidays, Annex offers its employees three paid days off during the year (two Gift Days currently in December and our Care Day in the spring). This works out to a total of thirteen paid days off during the year or just over one day per month. Annex Gift Days are another example of Annex’s focus on the well-being of its employees. However you choose to spend these days, enjoy!