When it came time to form the service culture behind Seasons, its leaders looked for an inspiration model and found it in Disney: an iconic company known for its excellent service. Seasons partnered with the Disney Institute for three years to learn their business principles and employee training methods.
Since that time, Seasons has seen significant growth. The year 2019 saw celebrations of the company’s 10th Anniversary, centering around the desire to recognize and appreciate the commitment of our dedicated employees who have helped make the organization successful.
Delving back to its roots, Seasons decided that a Disney vacation contest would be a meaningful way to thank its service team members. In order to enter, employees had to complete a ‘Dream a Little Dream’ entry form to be individually reviewed by a carefully selected corporate committee. One winner from a Seasons community in Ontario and one winner from a Seasons community in Alberta were to be chosen. Each would be gifted a 10th Anniversary trip to Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Najette Dubois, from Seasons Amherstburg and Erin Bohning, from Seasons Drayton Valley, received the surprise of a lifetime. After being interviewed by the corporate team under the guise of having to narrow down finalists, they left the room to discover – they had already won! Residents, team members, and the winners’ family members, along with Seasons’ CEO, Mike Lavallée, and COO, LeighAnne Voll stunned both with the news that they were headed to Disney!
Each prizewinner showed an outstanding commitment to the corporate vision of Connect, Care, Change: As a whole, this means that when we take the time to connect and genuinely show that we care, we can make a positive difference in the lives of those around us. In her own words, Dubois says, “I don’t know what job that you’re allowed to sing, to dance, to tell jokes, to even cry or show emotions of any sort at all. It’s so magical working here because every day you’re changing somebody’s life. If someone’s having a bad day, that’s where I come in – and I change that! I can’t express how rewarding it is to work at Seasons.”
As for Bohning, she admits at first that she was simply looking for a job, but after getting into her role, she realized it would become much more. She says, “The Connect, Care, Change mantra goes into your life and overflows, it makes you more compassionate just by working [at Seasons]. I will stay here until I live here!”
“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.”
Both submissions expressed hardships in their personal lives, yet both individuals continue to come into work with a smile on their face and passion for making an impact in the lives of Seasons residents. For Dubois, this dedication didn’t go unnoticed by her teammates. Mary Beth Hebert, also an employee at Seasons Amherstburg, began filling out the contest form for herself but decided that someone else was in greater need of this vacation. Hebert crossed out her original answers and began filling out the form on behalf of Dubois, championing for her co-worker without telling her.
The corporate committee was not only impressed with Dubois’s dedication to her work and her positive outlook, but the selflessness and emotion captured in Hebert’s entry. This act of selflessness truly embodied Seasons culture. So, how did we decide on a winner?
“Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it.”
Adding an additional surprise to the mix, Lavallée and Voll shocked Hebert with a third vacation to Disney! Hebert was so excited for her friend and co-worker that she didn’t even notice her own family waiting in the room for the reveal, too. “I applied for myself, I did. Who doesn’t want to go to Disney? I’ve never been with my kids. But then Najette was talking about her treatments and dialysis and I was like, ‘I don’t need this, she needs this. She deserves this.’ So, I went home and scratched [my entry] and started writing. Writing about her just came out, it was easy.”
“Every day we have employees that we should be thanking, we celebrate today with everyone. All 1,500 of our employees were celebrated and recognized, even if they weren’t here today, they were certainly on our minds. So, thank you,” concluded Lavallée and Voll, after the 10th Anniversary Disney Contest reveal.
All three Seasons employees look forward to taking their “once in a lifetime” vacations with their loved ones as soon as they can.