Recognizing our colleagues: It’s nomination season at VIU

Kendra Stiwich 2021 President’s Award for Service Excellence Award for Early Impact/Emerging Leader recipient

Kendra Stiwich receives the 2021 President’s Award for Service Excellence Award for Early Impact/Emerging Leader from Dr. Deborah Saucier, President and Vice-Chancellor.

April 2, 2022 - 2:00pm

By Aly Winks

At VIU, there are five sets of internal awards presented by the President and Provost on an annual basis. Each set recognizes the exemplary work of our colleagues in an area of importance to the function and reputation of the institution. In each case, an individual or team is nominated by one or more colleagues.

The VIU People Plan formalizes our promise of recognition and celebration. This was included in the Plan because our employee community made it a priority. We reinforced this during the consultation process for the Strategic Plan, People, Place, Potential. Included in the themes of People and Potential are commitments to help our people reach their greatest potential and honour them in this pursuit. In pursuit of this, each year we come together as a community of employees to hold up some of the best and brightest amongst us. For the nominees and recipients, it is a public acknowledgement of their hard work.

“I remember the day I received the email,” says Kendra Stiwich, 2021 President’s Award for Service Excellence Award for Early Impact/Emerging Leader recipient. “I was having one of those ‘hard days’ – not so much related to work, but life was a little chaotic. I remember stopping and just feeling really grateful in that moment that my colleagues, whom I have immense respect for, took the time to see me. It was more than a ‘pat on the back’, it was a dose of support delivered at a time I really needed it.”

Stiwich is the Student Research Engagement Coordinator responsible for such major institutional initiatives as CREATE, where students have an opportunity to share research, design, creative activity, and much more.

One of my favourite annual projects is my work as a member of the selection committee for the President’s Awards for Service Excellence. Reading the nominations is an uplifting experience that fills my bucket and reminds me of all the incredible people who work here, putting their best effort forward each day in service to our students, employees, and the wider community. Selecting just one nominee to vote for in each category is difficult with so many deserving individuals and teams. However, it’s a challenge I enjoy. Like choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream.   

“Our work happens in creative, hectic, team environments,” Stiwich says. “However, for many of us our day-to-day job actually takes place in little silos trying to support the ideals of an institution we believe does great work. VIU attracts amazing people. These awards reflect individuals and teams in celebration, but they also recognize the larger ideal of gratitude. When you take the time to nominate a colleague, it is not only the accolade, but the appreciation your colleague takes away. A culture of gratitude and appreciation is always something to strive for and promote.”

The awards ceremony takes place in the fall of each year, with the nomination period for most of them either open or opening soon. The ceremony has hosted all five categories since the last set – the President’s Awards for Service Excellence – were added in 2020. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is drawing to close (fingers crossed, salt over my shoulder), we hope to be able to maintain and grow the celebration in person.

The awards categories are as follows:


Tags: In the Community