Hi There! I am Jim and I am the Chief Operating Officer and COR. I have been with COR since our inception in 2009, and technically even a little bit longer. I was hired by COR’s “sister organization” Saskatchewan Alternative Initiatives (SAI) in 2008 to provide support to the first individual COR would serve (Andrew). When COR officially launched in July 2009, I was hired as one of the original Support People at COR. I was here before its official creation. However, I heard about being a Caregiver and Gentle Teaching from a former co-worker at a previous job who was working with SAI as a Team Leader.
I have worked at all levels of the organization, but my current role as COO has me doing several things. The biggest part of my role is overseeing our teams and all aspects of support provided to the individuals we serve at a high level. I directly supervise our Director of Youth Supports and The Director of Support Services (Adult Supports) and I work with their team of Coordinators to keep my finger on the pulse of all things going on within the organization. I also supervise our Outreach and Mentorship Team, as well as oversee our Aspiring Team Leader Program. I work alongside our CEO and Board of Directors to help with the strategic vision of the organization and with other members of our Senior Leadership Team to guide decisions and direction in our day-to-day operations. One of the parts of my role I particularly enjoy is being able to help others learn and grow. I like to spend time with colleagues sharing my experiences, knowledge and any bits of advice that I feel I have to give.
I have grown tremendously both personally and professionally with COR. I came to the organization with an education in finance and have worked in the financial sector. This was a career path that I did not find fulfilling. When I started working in the disability sector, I had no idea it was going to become my career. However, once I started doing this work, I fell in love with helping others as I could see the impact I could have and it provided me a great sense of pride and purpose. As the years went on and COR became larger, I grew with the organization. I was promoted from a Support Person to a Team Leader, eventually to a Home Supports Coordinator and eventually into my role as COO. I have learned so much about life over the years from the individuals we serve, my fellow employees and our colleagues in the Gentle Teaching community around the world. Formally, COR has invested in my professional development tremendously year after year. I received countless training and professional development opportunities that helped me build the skills to be a better person, caregiver and eventually a better leader. I love that we are all continuously learning and growing together, regardless of our experience or position.
In 2021 I completed a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University. This Degree was the culmination of years of Leadership courses and study. In my final research project, I received permission from the University to partner with COR and engage with employees in order to conduct research and gather data. Since one of the most impactful classes I took during my Master’ Program was in Values-Based Leadership, I decided that I wanted to explore and define trust as a value within COR. Through this project I was able to understand through our employees’ lens, what trust means at COR and how we can build higher levels of trust across the organization. The fact that I was able to benefit COR with my research findings, while simultaneously attaining my Master’s made this my favourite project.
I have had many proud moments at COR. Probably what makes me the most proud is the growth and positive change that many of the individuals we support have made in their lives. So many people we support, and especially those who came to COR in our early years were not in a good place in their lives. They were the people who had been bounced around within the disability services sector and never had the opportunity to allow them to be successful and reach their full potential. Some of those individuals have been supported by COR for over a decade now, and have been able to blossom into the truest version of themselves. I believe this is due to the resiliency and ability of those we serve, and also to the philosophy that COR adheres to and the culture of gentleness that we have nurtured within the organization. This culture has allowed people to feel safe and valued and live the life that they want for themselves. COR does not have clients, consumers or participants, we are supporting and serving valuable human beings in their lives. I am so proud to have been a small part of this organization’s growth from the ground up and to have been along for the ride. We are truly making a change in our city, province, country and beyond.
If I had any advice to give to people who are interested in joining COR is to come for the right reasons. If you are simply looking for a paycheck or easy money, you are in the wrong place. This job can be tremendously difficult emotionally but is also tremendously rewarding. If you care about people and are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to truly get to know people, then you will flourish.
Fun Facts about me:
I do enjoy my TV. The best two-drama series of all time is Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. The best two sitcoms ever are Seinfeld and The Office. I’m not entirely sure of the order, but their greatness is not up for debate! Lol
My favourite quote, and something I regularly say to our employees is “It’s only a mistake if you don’t learn something from it”. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. I think the best thing you can do is admit them, own them and hopefully you have people around you that care enough to help you learn and grow from them.
Due to Jaws being my favourite movie growing up, I am terrified to swim in the Ocean.
I don’t seem to have a lot of free time these days. I love to spend time with my 2-year-old daughter Aubrey and my partner Kelsey. In the summer I love to get out and play as much golf as I can. I’m an avid NFL fan, the Green Bay Packers are my favourite team. I like to watch as much football as I can on Sundays.