A true champion is what we call Carol Logan, Director of Human Resources for Cambridge Suites and Prince George Hotels in Halifax. Her connections with the organization go back over 20 years. “ISANS has a full team of professional resources for the employer. They care, and they’re passionate about what they’re doing.”
The mother of five began working at the Prince George 33 years ago while studying arts at university, intending to teach. “I fell in love with hospitality,” she says, starting as a food and beverage server, managing housekeeping services, and eventually becoming a certified human-resources professional. Carol says when the hotels started hiring people whose first language was not English, it became obvious they needed ISANS. “That’s where it all started, giving people the resources and help they needed to be successful in their jobs. The relationship just blossomed.”
She especially appreciates the English in the Workplace Program where instructors come to the hotels and teach workers job-specific language. “It is very beneficial; staff take great pride in it.” Current staff are from the Philippines, India, Tibet, Japan, China, US, Scotland, and Greece. They have participated in the Workplace Culture Program which, as Carol says, “helps people work together with people who aren’t like you.” She points out that a third party can initiate useful conversations that otherwise might not happen.
Hotel management is delighted with the newcomers they’ve hired. “Our goal is to find the best people with the right talent and work ethic.” They received a 2016 Employer Award for Refugee Employment from the federal government in recognition of the extra support they provide. “Where there’s a need, we try to help people out. We’ve helped set up apartments and pick people up at the airport.” The federal immigration minister once visited the Prince George kitchen, meeting staff, and donning an apron to help out.
The hotels have also participated in the Professional Practice Program, a six-week work placement, sometimes leading to future employment. They have also hired through the Bridge to Work Program. And Carol has for several years been on the ISANS Employer Advisory Council that helps ISANS staff to recruit employers for programs.
Carol worked with ISANS on a professional development day for employers called Hiring Immigrants for Success. “Others in the hotel business are now catching on,” she says. “We’re paying people to learn about cultural awareness, welcoming workplaces, and resolution as it pertains to diversity.” Carol was invited to speak at the national 2019 Metropolis conference, held in Halifax—another opportunity to spread the word of her successful approach to employment. “The diversity of our employees is also the diversity of our guests,” says Carol. We’ve called our employees who speak Spanish to come and speak to our guests.” And employees share their culture through storytelling, food, and dance at a special annual day at each hotel. It’s an attitude and commitment that is paying off for the hotels, and for the new arrivals assisted by ISANS.