Since 1979, the Mount’s co-op employer partners have been fostering environments for students to develop professionally and personally. As a way to recognize these critical contributions, the Mount Co-op Employer of the Year Award was established in 2009. Ten years later, the awards were expanded to include two distinct categories: New Mount Co-op Employer of the Year and Longstanding Mount Co-op Employer of the Year.
Each year, students are invited to nominate employers on the selection criteria of work environment, leadership and mentorship, the supervisor’s demonstrated support of student learning, and the employer’s commitment to co-op. By meeting and exceeding this criterion, the following employers have been selected as the 2020 Mount Co-op Employers of the Year.
New Public Relations Employer of the Year
Mary Acton-Bond, Executive Director – Family SOS Association – Halifax, NS
Nominated by: Cassidy Shatford, BPR Co-op Student
Cassidy Shatford started at Family SOS Association – a local non-profit organization focused on building strong and healthy families – with an interest in the non-profit sector but limited knowledge of the industry. When her supervisor, Mary, found out about Cassidy’s aspirations to work with non-profits, she took the time to explore various aspects of the industry to enhance Cassidy’s learning.
“On my first day at work, Mary took the time to sit down with me and ask me what I wanted to learn from this co-op. She didn’t simply list me my tasks, she genuinely altered the job description to a certain extent so I could spend time learning the things I was interested in and working on things I felt I needed more work on. This showed me from day one that Mary understands that not only are students there to help her, but she is an active mentor in those students’ lives. Her values surrounding family, her openness with feelings and anxieties, and her overall knowledge of the sector helped me to have the most positive co-op experience I have had yet.” – Cassidy Shatford, BPR Co-op Student
Since becoming a co-op employer partner with the Mount in 2019, Family SOS Association has demonstrated commitment to the program and to the development of students. We are proud to recognize them as the 2020 New Public Relations Employer of the Year.
Longstanding Public Relations Employer of the Year
Erin MacDonald, Senior Communications Officer – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) – Sydney, NS
Nominated by: Chauntelle Brewer, BPR Co-op Student
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) has long been recognized as an incredibly engaged Mount co-op employer. Staff at ACOA have demonstrated longstanding commitment to student development, which was aptly reflected in Chanuntelle Brewer’s work term.
“From day one, ACOA displayed a positive working environment focused on employee growth and goal attainment. The communications team strived to ensure open and honest communication channels, fostered collaboration and encouraged the use of available resources throughout the agency. As a student, my co-workers treated me as a valued member of the team and gave me tasks equivalent to their workloads. This provided me with a challenge that allowed me to build my individual skills, while also shining a light on my strengths. The professional atmosphere the agency has created propelled me to produce each of my projects at the highest possible quality. Despite not being in an office environment, it was easy to connect with my co-workers and they each made me feel welcome.” – Chauntelle Brewer, BPR Co-op Student
Chauntelle has lauded her former manager, Erin MacDonald, for playing an active role in her growth and introducing her to a network of local communications professionals. The dedication of both ACOA and Erin has solidified them as the 2020 Longstanding Public Relations Employer of the Year.
New Tourism & Hospitality Management Employer of the Year
Yuchen Ji, Owner – Sugar Bakery Halifax – Halifax, NS
Nominated by: Yu Hang Chen, BTHM Co-op Student
Yu Hang Chen started at Sugar Bakery Halifax with limited knowledge of baking. Over the course of her four-month work term, she went from baking bread to creating desserts, and ultimately doing some managerial work. Yu Hang was so happy with her experience, she decided to return to Sugary Bakery Halifax for her second work term.
“The working atmosphere in the store is very friendly, but at the same time ambitious. Fortunately, my efforts were seen and encouraged. The shop taught me the knowledge and skills of making bread and desserts, provided me with the opportunity for promotion, let me discover one of my interests, and gave me a clear direction for my future career choice.” – Yu Hang Chen, BTHM Co-op Student
Since partnering with Sugar Bakery in 2020, the Mount Co-op Office has been impressed with the dedication to student growth and development that they’ve demonstrated. It is our pleasure to name Sugar Bakery the 2020 New Tourism & Hospitality Management Employer of the Year.
Longstanding Tourism & Hospitality Management Employer of the Year
Elliott Isenor, Director of Golf Operations & Human Resources – Fox Harb’r Golf Resort and Spa – Wallace, NS
Nominated by: Dylan Walsh, BTHM Co-op Student
Dylan Walsh got more than a glimpse into the tourism and hospitality industry at Fox Harb’r Golf Resort and Spa – he also got a crash course in leadership. In his nomination, Dylan spoke at length about Elliott’s excellent management style and the resulting low staff turnover rate. Elliott showed Dylan how to effectively navigate your organization through a time full of uncertainty.
“The work environment at Fox Harb’r Resort was better than I could have imagined. From day one, all co-workers in the golf department were friendly and made the effort to introduce themselves and make me feel like part of the team. My supervisor, Elliott, personally trained me on my first day and made it very clear to me that he was going to be there to help me succeed. If at any time I needed help or had any questions, I knew that he was going to be there and willing to help. This year, there were so many unknowns for the hospitality industry. However, throughout the months, Elliott was calm, cool and collected. It was clear that he not only wanted the business to succeed, but also his staff. It was an environment we were all happy to work in all season long.”– Dylan Walsh, BTHM Co-op Student
Fox Harb’r Golf Resort and Spa has been a steadfast partner of the Mount co-op program, posting numerous positions each summer since 2015. The organization’s commitment to students and leadership excellence has earned them the title of 2020 Longstanding Tourism & Hospitality Management Employer of the Year.
Congratulations to these four incredible employers! Thank you for your continued dedication to the Mount’s co-operative education program. You, along with our many other fantastic employer partners, make enriching work-integrated learning opportunities a reality for our students.