I have been thinking a lot about our values lately, and how they are – or are not – expressed through action. Perhaps this was a natural outcome of the mid-year reviews we have all been working on. Maybe it was because of the content prepared over the past couple of weeks for this newsletter. Whatever the origin, reflections on our value action statements impacted discussions Advancement Leadership Team (ALT) had at our last quarterly full-day meeting Dec. 1.  

The ALT spent the entire morning Dec. 1 having a difficult, but honest, discussion about how we are all working together. It was an opportunity to own our actions and the actions of our teams. It was an opportunity to understand how our actions impact or are perceived by other teams across Advancement. 

To be clear, I have also contributed to our current working environment. I count on and challenge every member of ALT to be strategic leaders in their areas. I want members of the ALT to empower their teams, and I want everyone to drive forward advancements in our business. I will even confess to finding myself sympathetic to concerns expressed by different members of the ALT – even though they are sometimes contradictory positions. I clearly had a role to play in our current team dynamic.

Our conclusion - we haven’t got it right. And we are holding ourselves accountable to make change.

Every member of the ALT is committed to our success. We acknowledge the professional skills and expertise that all staff bring to bear on our business. And we sincerely want Queen’s Advancement professionals to work collaboratively towards shared objectives. 

This will be a continuing discussion – but I can commit that it will also be a priority discussion. In the short term, the ALT is making some organizational changes to our own meetings and communications. You will also learn more details in the coming months about a fundamental overhaul to how we approach planning. 

We all need to demonstrate our values through actions – so ALT will keep working and trying new things until we get it right. 

Ensuring sufficient time for planning

To permit sufficient time for planning, the 2022 Quarterly In-Person weeks have now been scheduled for the weeks of Mar. 21, June 13, Sept. 12, and Dec. 5.

The full staff and leadership meetings to be held during these weeks will be booked in our calendars before the holiday break. Additional scheduled events/meetings will be confirmed by leaders within each area/team as planning unfolds in the new year.

Workplace Mental Health Leadership Certificate Program

In "The importance of wellness", I reported that managers in the Office of Advancement participated in a Workplace Mental Health LeadershipTM Certificate Program – the first university-certified program dedicated to developing practical, empathetic, solution-focused leadership skills for managing performance and promoting mental health. I am pleased to report that all members of ALT– and 84% of all managers in the Office of Advancement who began that program June 10 – have now completed the program and received a Mental Health Leadership Certificate.

We remain committed to doing what we can to support mental health in our workplace. This training will therefore continue to be a focus for managers’ professional development.

ALT PDP mid-year review feedback 

In the "ALT mid-year review" article, Steve invited Queen’s advancement professionals to provide mid-year feedback on the ALT PDP. Feedback received by the Nov. 29 due date is now available.

The opportunity to provide mid-year input into the 2021-22 ALT PDP is now closed, but the ALT PDP is still available on QUIRC. 

Feedback on the ALT performance is also welcomed throughout the year. You can always share feedback through your manager, your ALT member, or Advancement Human Resources. Anonymous comments, questions, suggestions, and concerns can also be shared through Advancing Your Voice – also available via QUIRC. 

Staff recognition and service practices

Advancement professionals at Queen’s have a variety of perspectives on what should be recognized and how we should celebrate personal milestones. What we do know is that in March 2021, Advancement Managers affirmed that recognizing staff for their service to the Office of Advancement was a priority. At least three recommendations from the Building a Better Workplace Wellness Working Group and the Culture Working Group also related to this topic.

I am pleased to confirm that ALT has now finalized formal recognition and service practices, to begin in January 2022:

Staff gatherings

  • We will hold two formal social gatherings per year – Advancement Enhancement Day in June and the Holiday Gathering in late November/early December.
  • These events will include all casual, part-time, and full-time staff.

Service awards 

  • Staff will be recognized annually for five, 10, 15, and 20 years of service to Advancement at the Holiday Gathering.
  • These anniversaries will be recognized from the employees’ start date with Office of Advancement.
  • These milestones will be marked for full-time permanent employees.  

Note: Queen’s celebrates staff members who have given 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 years of service to the university (see Celebration of Service).

Gifts to employees and recognition of significant events 

We will recognize weddings and the arrival of new babies (birth or adoption).

Recognition of bereavement or illness 

  • In the event of the death of a university employee or close family member, Advancement may send flowers or make a donation to a registered charity.
  • If a university employee or close family member is hospitalized, the department may send flowers.


Additional efforts will be made to recognize employees who formally retire following their employment in Advancement. 

Full details of the program and how it will be administered will be circulated to all Advancement managers this week. 

Individual team members will likely still have a variety of perspectives on these practices. We can, however, agree that we cannot accomplish our vision or advance our plan without the professionals in the Office of Advancement. We sincerely hope these practices confirm the value that we place in each of you, and how we will celebrate your professional contributions and your personal milestones.

T. Geoffrey Flynn Advancement Champion Award recipient – John Witjes

By Kate Bearse

The T. Geoffrey Flynn Advancement Champion Award is presented on an annual basis to honour a member of the Queen’s community who has made a significant contribution to linking Queen’s University’s advancement activities with research and teaching excellence at Queen’s. 

This year’s recipient of the Flynn Award is John Witjes, Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities). During his time with Queen’s, John has developed a comprehensive understanding of campus facilities and support infrastructure. 

Here are some quotes from the nomination materials for John that stood out to the Advancement Leadership Team:

  • “John is an incredibly dedicated and generous colleague who fully engages with campus partners and donors to help bring their visions of excellence in education and athletics to reality.” 
  • John “gave extra of his time, readily volunteering to host donors for private tours during all stages of the construction, devoting extra time to discussing the construction and build elements with them, many of whom are also engineers, even hosting the Mitchells just a couple of days before Christmas.”
  • John “always goes above and beyond to assist the Office of Advancement in our fundraising efforts.  He prepares diligently for donor meetings and truly understands the importance of providing timely, accurate, and nuanced materials to our donors and prospective donors.”

We are grateful for everything you do to support Queen’s Advancement John. Congratulations!

John J. Heney Award recipient – Kate Bearse

By Colleen McGuire

Last Thursday, the Office of Advancement announced Kate Bearse as the 2021 recipient of the John J. Heney Award. Now feels like a great opportunity to share a little more about Kate with all of you.

Kate is someone who every person in Advancement truly enjoys working alongside. Her high-profile position means that Kate collaborates with countless people from across the university on a daily basis, and she does it flawlessly. She is efficient, organized, and is always willing to go the extra mile to help out her team. 

Kate shows up every. single. day. with an unwavering commitment to her work and the Office of Advancement. Her level of caring and service are truly exceptional – I know every time I have the chance to work with Kate on a project, I count myself lucky to have such a thoughtful, capable, and kind colleague. Her (and her family’s) love of Queen’s is infectious, and she can always be found on display at Richardson Stadium, cheering on the Gaels football team during their home games.  

Colleagues across campus heartily endorsed Kate’s nomination for the Heney Award, which speaks volumes to the impact that Kate has made through her work in the VP’s Office. She is an incredible ambassador and role model for Advancement. Let her know you absolutely agree by congratulating Kate as the 2021 recipient of the John J. Heney Award.

Employee spotlight

The Employee Spotlight celebrates the arrival of our new staff by profiling responses they share through a fun and informal survey that will help us get to know them better. Be sure to review these profiles and use these fun facts and tidbits to find commonalities, embrace differences and spark a conversation! This week's current staff member spotlight is:

Peggy Shanks, Development Coordinator, Department of Development. Learn more about Peggy and what her favourite quote is. 

Jobs with Advancement

We need your recruitment help. Know great talent that would be a good addition to our team? If so, please promote the vacancies below with your networks and let’s find some amazing new team members.

Applications (including a cover letter and résumé) must be submitted through CareerQ. For additional information on this posting, please reach out to either Carla Ferreira Rodrigues or the hiring manager for the position you are interested in.

Apply for available positions







Communications and Events Officer J0921-0328 Advancement Marketing, Communications and Donor Relations December 13, 2021 8 Continuing



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