Teamwork Excellence: PD Day crew went big and had fun

The secret to putting together a great event team is all about the mix of people. 

There should be a variety of different personalities and character traits so all aspects of planning are covered. Each team member should bring a set of unique skills and strengths. And it doesn’t hurt if the group has a good sense of humour. 

That’s Leah Lyon’s philosophy, and why the UFV Teaching and Learning events assistant says her 2019 Professional Development Day team worked so well together.

And it’s a big factor behind that crew winning this year’s UFV Teamwork Excellence Award for their efforts to bring UFV employees together in a day of learning, interaction and conversation.

PD Day team acceptance video

“It’s important because collaborative efforts need to be recognized to showcase the hard work we accomplish together to bring something unique, inspiring and innovative to UFV,” Lyon says, with her third PD Day now complete and behind her. “Everyone on the team wanted to ensure we offer something valuable, educational and inspiring to the community at UFV — and for the event to be fun and enjoyable.”

Every PD Day takes a lot of work from the organizing committee, with Lyon and her colleagues putting in time for event logistics, budget, and other factors.

“In 2019 we invited the biggest speaker that UFV has had for PD day, Duncan Wardle, a former VP from Disney,” says Mark Pearson, senior advisor of human resources. “We didn’t think we could pull it off, but through some creative fundraising and event management the event was a success.”

Booking someone with such a high profile and as sought-after as Wardle felt like a milestone for the PD Day team, according to Pearson. And once they had him secured as the guest speaker, the team’s excitement “exploded.”

Wardle led the inspirational charge of the innovation-themed day, which was delivered through engaging group facilitation.

“Feedback on the day was extremely positive and employees continued to talk about it weeks after the event,” says nominator Maureen Wideman, AVP of Teaching and Learning. “Some of our faculty members were already using these design thinking activities in their classes, sharing what they had learned with their students.”

Under the award-winning organizing committee’s guidance, the annual Professional Development Day increased in size to 350 participants in 2019.

Recognizing that Wardle’s notoriety would be beneficial to a wider audience, invitations were sent to the cities of Chilliwack Abbotsford and Mission. Each municipal office sent staff, had representatives act as facilitators, and provided funding for the PD Day.

According to Wideman, this team’s efforts epitomized the UFV mission and vision: “Engaging learners through a day of collaboration, transforming lives by embracing learning strategies to approach issues in a different way, and building community by working with each other and with our city partners.”

The spirit of innovation was present from the initial days of planning through to the event and beyond. 

“I learned that innovation was required to make this event happen,” says Pearson. “In the end, the ideas our committee had were rewarding: we saw the results of our own innovative thinking bear fruit.”

UFV’s Professional Development Day committee recognized for this year’s UFV Teamwork Award includes: Mark Pearson, Wendy Gracy, Ruby Ord, Navneet Sidhu, Karen Giebelhaus, Gayle Ramsden, Brittany Grewal, Michelle Johnson, and Leah Lyon.



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