2020 Rising Star Award
The Rising Star Award recognizes HR professionals who are ‘lighting the HR community on fire.’ These young HR trailblazers hold the future of the HR profession in their hands and are the lifeblood of many CPHR BC & Yukon volunteer committees.
Get to know the three finalists for the 2020 Rising Star Award, sponsored by LoganHR.
Alexandria McMechan, CPHR
Human Resources Manager
Alexandria McMechan’s contributions to the Cintas team in Kelowna have been anything but uniform. In a company that depends on a highly engaged workforce, Alexandria has risen the ranks, shown genuine care for her employees, and spearheaded multiple projects to help Cintas deliver for their clients nationwide.
A graduate of Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration program, Alexandria completed a major in Human Resources. It wasn’t long after she joined Cintas in Kelowna that she was crowned “Chief of Snacks and Fun” around the office. Her warmth, humour, and generosity were apparent from the beginning, but she was just getting started. After less than a year, she was promoted from HR Representative to HR Manager.
Alexandria has taken action to add data-driven objectivity to the attendance policy for Cintas partners (employees). After thorough research and internal consultation with HR, legal counsel, and her counterparts in other cities, Alexandria developed a points-based attendance system that has since been adopted company-wide for Cintas partners across Canada.
With safety a key commitment within Cintas, Alexandria has been a leader in improving safety culture at the Kelowna location and beyond. In her time with the company, she has brought incident rates down though a focus on proactivity and training. She also led the charge with her provincial counterparts to ensure compliance with new training requirements legislated by WorkSafe BC.
With a vast region that stretches across B.C.’s southern interior, Alexandria has shown compassion and care for the Cintas partners she is responsible for, many of whom are recent immigrants to Canada and in the process of building new lives for themselves and their families. Not only has she offered strong mentorship, but she has gone beyond by engaging her team’s spouses and connecting them to others that share their native language. Alexandria also gives back in the community with guest lectures at Okanagan College and active involvement with CPHR in Kelowna.
With HR professionals like Alexandria at the helm, Cintas can offer stable employment for new Canadians, fulfill their promise of safety, and improve their internal processes all at once. It is no wonder they have ranked Alexandria #1 HR Manager in the region for multiple straight months.
Olivia Phua, CPHR Candidate
Human Resources Advisor
Trevali Mining Corporation
Olivia Phua has been an invaluable addition to Trevali Mining Corporation since she joined three years ago. Together with the Chief People Officer, she manages a spectrum of broad-reaching functions for the Canadian metals mining company.
Olivia completed her Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Simon Fraser University in 2016, focusing her studies in HR and Marketing. She joined Trevali’s HR department shortly after finishing school, and has precociously developed initiatives for the clusters of staff across international mining sites.
With her contributions to Trevali’s Performance Management Framework, Olivia showed signs of maturity and competence far beyond the norm for a recent grad. She was instrumental in the development and roll out of the new performance management framework and incentive pay plan design that aligns to the company’s pay-for-performance philosophy and focus on values, and has been appointed the global go-to lead of this program. It is no surprise that Olivia has been promoted multiple times in her short tenure with Trevali.
Olivia interfaces frequently with the management team, the Board of Directors, and the Compensation & Human Resources Committee. Her conscientious preparation of materials for these groups has provided sharp clarity for decision makers on trends, risks and opportunities. In addition, she has written the Group HR Standard that has been implemented company-wide, and formalized a global mobility program for connecting Trevali’s sites and employees.
With the company’s new operating model and diverse agile workforce, Trevali identified the need to implement a company intranet for centralized internal communication, which Olivia has co-led. In addition to designing the intranet’s architecture, curating content and driving adoption, Olivia was integral in orienting the Internal Communications Specialist who was hired to manage the new platform upon implementation. Her skillful mentorship and management prowess were on full display during this project, which is now entering its second phase.
Olivia has risen quickly and demonstrated the beginnings of an exceptional career in HR. Her efforts at Trevali have been impressive to the many senior professionals she has worked alongside, with many forecasting precious yields from Olivia for years to come.
Sharde Long, CPHR Candidate
Human Resources Manager
Victoria Women’s Transition House
Sharde Long found herself off to a quick start in her HR career. While she was still a student of Camosun College’s HR program, Sharde started a role with Victoria Women’s Transition House. As the only onsite HR professional for close to 80 people, she had no option but to snap into action, providing valuable educational programming internally and making a strong impression externally in Victoria’s HR community.
Stepping into a first HR role can be daunting for anyone, even with a support system of senior professionals on your side. For Sharde, there was no such luxury. From the jump at Victoria Women’s Transition House, the demands on her were immense and complex. There were investigations to conduct, collective agreements to administer, jobs to classify, and employees to train. Sharde did not hesitate and handled it all with professionalism and competence, tackling the role of a much more senior HR leader in a complex, high-risk workplace.
Sharde has made a measurable impact on reducing staff turnover with her innovative Respectful Workplaces training program. After thorough research, pitch, and approval, Sharde leveraged her training skills to develop mandatory curriculum for all employees. The program established common understanding of what a respectful workplace looks like and the behaviours that are condoned and not condoned. It also confirmed for employees that the organization was committed to maintaining a workplace of respect and safety.
Conscious that a team of highly-skilled, educated staff would be receiving the training, she ensured the experience was collaborative and dialogue-driven for participants. Since implementing the program, Victoria Women’s Transition House has seen a 55% drop in turnover for casual staff and 80% drop in turnover for regular staff.
Outside of what is now her full-time HR Manager role, Sharde is generous with her time in the community. She leads the Victoria Roundtable for CPHR and acts as the Vice President on Leadership Victoria’s Board of Directors, where she contributes to strengthening the HR processes for the organization.
As a young HR professional, Sharde has risen to the challenge at every step, making a difference for the employees that in turn make a difference for marginalized women in Victoria at any hour of the day or night.
The 2020 Rising Star Award is sponsored by:
Learn more about CPHR BC & Yukon’s Professional Awards