The HIO Ambassador Awards Crystal

June 29, 2023

Welch LLP has been awarded the Ambassador Awards Crystal at the virtual 2023 Employer Awards and Learning Forum on June 29, 2023, hosted by Hire Immigrants Ottawa.

Accepting the award on behalf of Welch LLP is Jessica Zhang-Chapman, Senior Manager and visionary at the forefront of Welch LLP’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion program.

“I am so honored and excited to accept this award on behalf of Welch Partners and Staff,” said Jessica during the awarding ceremony. “We worked very hard in the last few years, and we are very pleased to be one of the recipients of this award. I can truly tell you that in the last 10 years, the workforce at Welch LLP has become more diverse. In the last two or three years, we are really opening the doors for immigrants.”

This year’s Employer Excellence Awards recognized three local employers for their innovative workplace policies and practices around the recruitment and integration of skilled immigrant employees into their organization. Alongside Welch LLP, the award recipients are: Tylynne Pichie on behalf of Distiller SR, and Jehan Jamaluddin on behalf of Giatec.

“We are so grateful to have community partners such as Hire Immigrants Ottawa, always behind us to support us through the journey,” said Jessica. “We are very thankful for this opportunity, and we are determined to work harder on this EDI journey with the focus on Immigrants.”

Jessica Zhang-Chapman, Senior Manager at Welch LLP, accepting the award on behalf of Welch LLP at the virtual Employer Awards & Learning Forum, hosted by Hire Immigrants Ottawa

Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) is an initiative that brings together employers, immigrant agencies and stakeholders to enhance employers’ ability to access the talents of skilled immigrants in the Ottawa area. The initiative was launched in 2006 as a response to a growing need to identify and address barriers and challenges employers face in attracting, hiring and integrating skilled immigrants into the labour force.

HIO’s mandate is to increase the capacity of employers in the Ottawa region to more effectively attract, hire and integrate skilled immigrants into skills-appropriate positions.

Since Welch LLP’s establishment of our formal Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) program in 2020, Welch has implemented several strategies to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace, especially for newcomers and immigrant employees. This includes the following initiatives:

  1. The removal of Canadian experience requirements from the recruitment process, resulting in the hire of 20 new immigrant employees;
  2. Support for the recruitment of newcomer and immigrant talent through an internal immigrant referral program and community collaborations;
  3. Enhancing our onboarding process with the addition of the new hire newcomer committee, which pairs an immigrant employee with a new hire;
  4. Establishing a dedicated budget for newcomers to improve their English language skills as needed; and
  5. Implementing EDI training for new staff and unconscious bias training for all staff on a biannual basis.

Chris Meyers, Partner at Welch LLP, works closely with Jessica and is extremely proud of the work Jessica has put in place for the EDI program. “I think we need to take time every now and then and reflect on our values as a firm,” said Chris. “This is an outcome that we can tie back to care, impact and empower on a number of different levels both from a client and staff perspective.”

Chris believes this award is a testament to Jessica’s personal contribution to the firm and our community. “I feel a lot of pride in Jessica and admiration for her taking this on and doing so really on her own accord,” he tells us. “Congratulations – your contributions are making an impact at the firm and within our community. Not sure it gets much better than that!”

Thank you, Jessica, for your commitment and passion in EDI, and for always keeping it top-of-mind in all that you do. Welch LLP’s EDI program has come a long way in such a short time thanks to all the efforts of you and your team.

Alexei Vidal
Marketing Specialist

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