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Win4Youth 2017 | The Year of Opportunities & Challenges

As the weather gets warmer outside, Win4Youth nestles deeper into the hearts of all colleagues at Adecco. For the eighth year in a row, colleagues all over the globe will be taking part in sporting events and individual athletic pursuits — united behind a great cause of giving disadvantaged youth around the world a brighter future.

And to celebrate Canada150, we’re encouraging each and every colleague to complete 150km this year. It’s ambitious, but with the dedication of Adecco’s colleagues, clients and associates — we know we can reach it!

To champion the cause, each country elects a deserving ambassador to organize athletic events, encourage teammates and eventually participate in in the Gavà Triathlon in Spain this September. We are thrilled to announce Canada’s 2017 Win4Youth Athletic Ambassador: Genevieve Ferlatte, Branch Manager – Montreal!

Genevieve will spend months training for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and will document her progress and journey here on Lēad Blog. We are confident that she will apply the same tenacity, dedication and winning attitude to her Win4Youth ambassadorship as she does to her branch.

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One Young World Summit 2016: Young Leaders Committed to Making Change

Last week, our Director of Strategic Partnership Accounts—Rezowana Islam—got the opportunity to attend the world’s premier young leaders forum: the One Young World Summit, held this year in our nation’s capital. As an Adecco Delegate, Rezowana was amongst 1,300 attendees from 190 countries. She got to brush shoulders and hear inspiring speeches from other young leaders, Presidents, Nobel Prize Winners, Global business leaders and extraordinary humanitarians. Among those addressing the themes of Environment, Education, Human Rights, Peace & Security, Global Business and Mental Health were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, actor and Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson, Cher, Sir Bob Geldof (the founder of Live Aid), Former Irish President Mary Robinson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus. Below are Rezowana’s reflections on her stirring experience and the role that young people have to play in implementing solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

rezowana-islamTo say that the One Young World 2016 summit in Ottawa was invigorating, inspiring and encouraging would not suffice. I don’t even know where to begin describing the myriad emotions that ebbed and flowed through me in those 3.5 days at the conference. The Summit took place on the cusp of summer transitioning into fall, and I couldn’t help notice the parallel to the transformation taking place within me.

Prisoners of Hope

The idea behind One Young World is to gather together young people aged 18-30 from all around the world to learn, listen and share their experiences with each other. Co-founded by UK-based Kate Robertson and David Jones, the goal is to make the world a little bit better than it was yesterday, or even a few hours ago. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has referred to himself as a “prisoner of hope” and I think the term is fitting for David and Kate as well.  They truly believe in young people and their ability to make positive changes—and felt compelled to do something about it.

Close to Home

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the crowd

This year, Ottawa played host city to the annual Summit and I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend as an Adecco Delegate. I was among thousands of young Delegates, Counselors and speakers from the worlds of business, politics, entertainment and non-profits. We each came from different walks of life and with different creeds, cultures and languages but all shared the same desire: to make this world a better place today—both for us and for our future generations. At a time when the world appears to be on the brink of catastrophe and hope is desolate, the Summit restored my faith in humanity and lit a torch with a flame that will burn eternally. This Summit made me believe that not only can we create the change we want to see in the world but we can be the change we want to see!

Sages on Stages

The 3.5 days were jam packed with information, talks, breakout sessions and networking opportunities; it felt like the days were never-ending. But the paradox is that our time together was still too short. We listened to stories of ordinary individuals making extraordinary changes and fighting for things they believe in—from climate change to gender equality and fighting extremism. The line of Counselors who took the stage (and in some cases—dedicated one-on-one time) to share their wisdom, encouragement and just to listen to us was nothing short of astounding. Some of this year’s Counselors included Kofi Annan, Sir Bob Geldof, Muhammad Yunis, Mary Robinson, Thuli Medonsela and Emma Watson—to name a few.

(L) Public Protector of South Africa,Thuli Madonsela | (M) Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson discussing the HeForShe Campaign | (R) Former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa

(L) Former Public Protector of South Africa Thuli Madonsela | (M) Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson discussing the HeForShe Campaign | (R) Former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa

The stage was filled with amazing individuals who had the courage to share their stories, trials and tribulations with all of us. I have even started to view the word “courage” differently. To me, courage is no longer about being fearless; it is about feeling scared to death of something but doing it anyway. It’s when you feel that your heart is beating so fast, your throat is closing in and a part of you is saying that you can’t do it—but there is another part with a voice just a little stronger that whispers “you can and you will!”  That is courage!

A Look to the Future

I formed some friendships that will last forever and some connections that will bind us to work together for the causes we hold dear to our hearts. I have reached out to some of the attendees from different countries and time zones to start brainstorming ideas on how we can work to counter extremism—a personal initiative we felt passionate about. I will also be connecting with Adecco’s global HQ in Zurich in the hopes of sharing some ideas that came out of the conference and implementing them into our extensive Corporate Social Responsibilities for all Adecco Colleagues around the world.

Rezowana (middle) with other global Delegates

The ultimate challenge I walked away with is one I want to extend to all Colleagues, Associates, clients and readers: stand for whatever you believe in and work to make the change you want to see. To those who have not found your cause—I urge and encourage you to find what it is and stand for it because “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.

Win4Youth 2016 | 2 Weeks Before Ocean Lava

Tracy Rocca—Adecco’s VP of Partnerships— learned in April that she was selected to represent Canada as our Win4Youth ambassador for 2016. Before starting her journey, she had never completed a triathlon and could barely swim. But it was Tracy’s passion, tenacity and commitment to the cause that made her the frontrunner for this year’s ambassadorship.

In just 2 weeks, Tracy and 72 other Adecco ambassadors from across the world will be participating in the Ocean Lava Lanzarote Triathlon in Spain. The event will mark the finale to the 2016 Win4Youth Initiative: a 10-month long journey in which Adecco employees, Associates and clients across the world run, swim and cycle to accumulate mileage towards a collective kilometer goal. Once the goal is met, Adecco makes a substantial donation to various global foundations that support disadvantaged children and their families. This year, we’re jogging, swimming and biking towards an ambitious 3,500,000km goal!

Below are Tracy’s reflections as she gears up for Spain.


It’s hard to believe that in 2 short weeks I will be competing in the big event for which I have been training for over 4 months: the Ocean Lava Triathlon in Lanzarote, Spain.

The last 4 months have been an absolute whirlwind of activity. In addition to my kids, concentrated training schedules and daily life, this is also the busiest time of year in Partnerships, as—for the most part—our clients ramp in Q3 and Q4.  Finding the time to fit in intensified training has been challenging as I need to make sure I am available to our onsite clients, support my staff and continue my Win4Youth responsibilities.  I’m not sure how, but so far—I’m right on track.

It’s the support I receive from my friends, colleagues and family that keeps me committed to the program. One of my favorite moments throughout this journey was when I first rode my bike on the road and I could hear loud music blasting behind me. As I was trying to stay on my bike, I thought “turn your music down!” Then I heard a familiar voice:  “GO MOM GO!” It was my son following me in the car playing the Rocky theme song…Gonna fly now!

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After the Belgium training camp and my last post, the other Global ambassadors and I were given a 6 week training schedule (to start).  As intensive as it seemed, I was still unsure about how I was going to be truly ready for this huge event in 4 months. Well, I approached it like any large project: breaking it up into baby steps. I started with cycling for an hour, running for 30 minutes, learning to swim—and gradually increased each activity and intensity level.

As my endurance and time has increased over the last 4 months, so has my confidence…for the most part.  But I have also had a few dips in the road.  There have been some practice triathlons (which I call baby tri’s) that I have entered.  The first one was in August. I was so confident going in but after about 5 seconds in the open water, I had a panic attack.  However, I was able to lean on my mental training, calmed down and swam the whole thing! I was one of the slowest people that day—based on my doggy paddle and back crawl—but I proudly made it out!  The bike and the run were pretty awesome but that swim was tracy_hockeymy wakeup call. I went the very next day to the Caledon Triathlon Club and chatted—well, pleaded—with their head coach to give me some lessons.  It’s funny how the same message stated in a different way can change everything.  I now can swim in my new 2,000m “pool” (the quarry in Caledon) at a very leisurely and relaxed pace.

Not only can I swim 2,000m (in just over an hour), but I can also ride my bike on the hills in Caledon for 3 hours or more (and amass 70km in W4Y mileage) and run 10km in just over an hour.  That is where training has gotten me today. Every week I take part in about 10–12 hours of training and have added hockey recently as well!

I leave in a week for the journey of a lifetime. Our North American team is 11 people strong and I have become so close to all of them. I am filled with pride at my accomplishments and am overwhelmed by the gratitude that I feel for Adecco in supporting me through all of this.  I get goosebumps every time I realized that every single kilometer that my colleagues, clients, Associates and I take gives dollars to our supported charities that provide better lives and opportunities for youth around the world. And that’s what this is all about.

I can’t wait to see all the other ambassadors in Spain and run this amazing race with them…Let’s go Win 4 Youth!

About Adecco’s Win4Youth Initiative:

Win_4_Youth_RGB LogoNow in its seventh year, Win4Youth supports foundations giving children and families in need a better start in life. Since its inception, Win4Youth has raised over $2 million USD for youth charities through sports events organized in more than 60 countries, involving thousands of Adecco employees, Associates and clients around the world. In 2016, we will be swimming, cycling and running to reach the goal of 3,500,000 kilometers. The combined kilometer count will be converted into a donation to 9 foundations, supporting abandoned, orphaned or sick children, helping families from disadvantaged communities and assisting civilian victims of natural disasters, wars and economic collapse. Adecco employees will also be volunteering at the foundations, helping them in daily operations and learning first-hand how Win4Youth supports their work.

More about Adecco’s global Win4Youth initiative and how you can get involved can be found at: www.win4youth.com | https://www.facebook.com/win4youth/

Win4Youth 2016 | Part 1: Ghent, Belgium Training Camp – “We rode bikes without any brakes!”

Tracy Rocca—Adecco’s VP of Partnerships— learned in April that she was selected to represent Canada as our Win4Youth ambassador for 2016. Before starting her journey, she had never completed a triathlon and could barely swim. But it was Tracy’s passion, tenacity and commitment to the cause that made her the frontrunner for this year’s ambassadorship.

Tracy and 72 other Adecco ambassadors from across the world will be participating in the Ocean Lava Lanzarote Triathlon in Spain this October. The event will mark the finale to the 2016 Win4Youth Initiative: a 10-month long journey in which Adecco employees, associates and clients across the world run, swim and cycle to accumulate mileage towards a collective kilometer goal. Once the goal is met, Adecco makes a substantial donation to various global foundations that support disadvantaged children and their families. This year, we’re jogging, swimming and biking towards an ambitious 3,500,000km goal!

Our ambassadors spend months working with trainers, improving their strength and endurance, running in marathons, and organizing Win4Youth fitness and fundraising events. The training sessions intensify with a spring boot camp where ambassadors are put through a series of challenges and track their growth. This year, the kickoff training camp took place in beautiful Ghent, Belgium where Tracy made her country proud by successfully crossing the finish line and treading in open water just weeks after learning how to swim! Tracy jotted down her wide range of emotions throughout the boot camp in a journal.  Excerpts are below:


Training Camp Reflections:

My role as a Win4Youth ambassador is only just beginning yet I already feel like it has been quite a journey! When friends, family and colleagues learned that I was selected as the ambassador and what it would entail, I was met with some puzzled faces and a whole bunch of questions: “Why are you doing this?”, “Do you own kettle bells?”, and “Have you completed a triathlon before?!” Their alarm was somewhat warranted:  I barely knew how to swim and you’d never find a marathon number stapled to my back (although I have completed the 60km walk for women’s cancers 7 times)!

Growing up I was very active and into sports, and still play competitive hockey and soccer to this day; I just rarely participated in solo sports.  Well, the triathlon I signed up for is sure to change that now that I will be competing in three individual sports merged into one!

But before I’m able to get to Lanzarote in October, I had to get through this kick off training camp— which was an amazing experience and very humbling! It took place in the picturesque and historic city of Ghent, Belgium.  Arriving in Ghent, I was surprised to see how many people used bikes as their primary mode of transportation and how natural it seemed to them— they were speeding by and maneuvering Europe’s winding cobble-stoned paths with ease.

The rest of the day was dedicated to getting to know my 72 colleagues from 37 countries— each being a Win4Youth ambassador from their respective country. Before long we formed an incredibly unique and supportive bond amongst each other, driven by our shared goals of getting through the training and making a real impact through Win4Youth.  Within the group, only a small number had completed triathlons before, while the rest were novices like me. I was relieved!

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Training began at 7am and lasted until 8pm every day. We had 4 very long days of non-stop physical activities, sandwiched in between fitness seminars and various health and stamina tests:

  1. On the first full day, we made our way to the velodrome where we rode bikes without any brakes! Most of us were more than a little frightened when we saw them, but we were expecting to be taken out of our comfort zones that week. No injuries for me to report!Velodrome
  2. The second day began with a “dip” in the crisp pool at 7am followed by a visit to the Energy Lab for our individual meetings with the doctor, physical testing and a trip through body scan machine. The amount of detail those machines can show you are both impressive and alarming, and truthfully— the body scan machine and I are not the best of friends! The day wrapped up with a few sessions on mechanics such as clipping our shoes into the pedals of our bikes, along with a 20km bike ride.
  3. The third day consisted mainly of classroom learning and lessons about transition zones, nutrition and much more. Like every other day, there was a form of physical activity included. Well, that day it was…a mock triathlon! We went to a gorgeous lake and were fitted with wetsuits. In I went. Not only was the water a chilly 10 degrees, but the open water came as a real shock to me! Did I mention that I had just learned to swim a few week earlier?We all made it back to shore and hopped through the transition areas from the water to the road.  Once there, we moved straight into our 20km bike ride, followed by the transition to our 3km run!  It was VERY challenging, but I couldn’t slow down and give into self-pity. Besides, I reminded myself that this was only a fraction of what we will have to complete in Lanzarote in October which will consist of a 1,500m swim, 40km bike ride and a 10km run!
  1. The final day began in the pool once again, but this time, we videotaped our swim technique to review later and went on a 10km city run with 3000 other people from Ghent. This was my first ever 10km race. I wasn’t fast but I did make it across that finish line!

That night ended with a special dinner, celebrating our new friendships and our successful training over the last 4 days.  The support for each other on social media and through emails has been incredible.

My ambassadorship is just starting out but has already benefited me in so many ways. It has given me pride in myself and my company, a sense of accomplishment and a new set of skills. Our training plans are loaded and I am ready to go.  I look forward to joining my fellow Adecco colleagues, clients and associates in running, walking, biking and swimming over the next few months as every kilometer really does count!


The above is only the first step of Tracy’s ambitious journey.  She will continue to track all the highs and lows leading up to Lanzarote this October. Check back in on this blog over the summer for Tracy’s complete Win4Youth ambassador experience.

All the exciting highlights from the training camp can be seen in the video below:

About Adecco’s Win4Youth Initiative:

Win_4_Youth_RGB LogoNow in its seventh year, Win4Youth supports foundations giving children and families in need a better start in life. Since its inception, Win4Youth has raised over $2 million USD for youth charities through sports events organized in more than 60 countries, involving thousands of Adecco employees, associates and clients around the world. In 2016, we will be swimming, cycling and running to reach the goal of 3,500,000 kilometers. The combined kilometer count will be converted into a donation to 9 foundations, supporting abandoned, orphaned or sick children, helping families from disadvantaged communities and assisting civilian victims of natural disasters, wars and economic collapse. Adecco employees will also be volunteering at the foundations, helping them in daily operations and learning first-hand how Win4Youth supports their work.

More about Adecco’s global Win4Youth initiative and how you can get involved can be found at: www.win4youth.com | https://www.facebook.com/win4youth/

Occupational Health and Safety for the Mind

Until recently, occupational health and safety referred only to physical health and safety, and company policies reflected that. But in January 2013, after years of growing awareness and concern over the way work can affect people’s mental health, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, which was developed with the cooperation of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Bureau normalization du Québec (BNQ). According to the commission, one in five people experience mental illness in their life. It contributes to stress, absenteeism, lost productivity, and it has become the leading cause of disability claims in Canada. In fact, the commission projects that mental health issues in the workplace will cost the Canadian economy nearly $200 billion over the next three decades.

The standard was created to help employers ensure that their workplaces are psychologically safe. But what is a psychologically safe workplace? Essentially, it’s one that prevents mental illness and promotes mental health by creating and sustaining an atmosphere of belonging, respect, recognition, and support, and that includes reducing, if not eliminating, the stigma associated with mental health issues. But why now? Why wasn’t the commission’s standard created years ago? What exactly is causing people to take notice of occupational health and safety as it relates to mental wellbeing? Read more

Cultural Competence & Diversity Management

As touched on in our April 7, 2013 article, “The Power of Diversity in the Workplace”, despite being one of the most multicultural countries in the world, Canada still presents significant obstacles to those who are not of the longstanding western European, particularly British, heritage that characterized the country for much of its history.

Such cultural prejudices prevent organizations from having diversity in the workplace, which means they can’t take advantage of the benefits that come with it, such as appealing to more demographics in what is obviously an increasingly cosmopolitan marketplace. But what about when a new immigrant is hired, particularly one who’s from a very different culture? Are they over the largest hurdle? Or do they face even higher ones once they’ve entered the Canadian workforce? Read more