The Employment Opportunities List

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When You Win an Award, Remember to Thank Your Family, the Award Sponsor, and the Judging Committee

It is generally known among EO List members that I recently won the Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year award at the HR Summit Awards. It was a huge honour and I wasn’t expecting it, and therefore had not properly prepared a speech.

When it was announced that I was the winner, in my acceptance speech I had a lot of people to thank. There was Kelly Perrow who wrote the nomination, and Dinesh Sharma who was an incredible behind-the-scenes facilitator. There was Usha Surrao who is the backbone of the EO List who handles all the administration. There was my business partner David Chondon, and my staff member Sherri Rossi who support me to do all that I do at The Employers’ Choice. By the time I was through thanking everyone, I had mentioned about two dozen people.

In the stress of the moment however, I forgot to thank my husband, the Toronto Star for sponsoring the award and the HR Summit judges.

There are all sorts of back stories about the Oscars and how missed thank yous turned into divorces, lost parts and withdrawals of funding.

To avoid this, I’d like to make a more visible show of gratitude, even if it is belated.

To my husband John, thank you. In our marriage, you keep our busy and complicated ship running. You never complain about having to put together dinner most nights because I’m teaching, or attending board meetings, or off at a fundraiser. You accept the fact that sometimes “date night” means sitting next to me at a rubber chicken dinner listening to a speaker on some narrow issue in HR. You came up with the EO List website design and have helped me to keep it current. You ensure my Blackberry is getting a charge at night, and you make sure my car always has gas in it. I would be nothing without you.

To the Toronto Star, thank you. I was so thrilled that you chose to sponsor this award. I want you to know that I have appreciated all the articles you’ve published in the last few years that focus on the growth and evolution of the HR Profession. You have a great career section on the weekends often using local talent. I will make a greater effort to ensure my colleagues know about all that you offer.

To the HR Summit judging team, thank you. When the finalists were announced in December, I won’t lie, I went and read up on them, and both of them are major contributors to our profession. I feel humbled that you chose me. I hope that you continue with the Summit, including continuing to bring on new and innovative awards.

While the HR Profession is very rewarding, there are few awards. When I went to add this award to my LinkedIn profile, I realized that the last time I had received any formal recognition was more than twenty years ago. So often, HR folks are in small teams, working on things to better their companies and in that way can be invisible. It is nice to know that now and then there is an opportunity to receive something splashy.


  1. Congratulations Bonni, you deserved it! Even though I do not know you on a professional level, I have read about you on linkedIn and I wish you all the best for future.

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