By Jason White, Manager of Strategic Initiatives

Before starting any communications project – written, video, presentation, social media, etc. – I think about the audience and how to connect with them. I ask myself questions about who they are, what are they are looking for, what is their motivation and how do I motivative them, because all good communications boils down to knowing your audience and understanding how they will decode (understand) your message. I do this exercise every day, so imagine my surprise when I did not follow my own advice.

In the ASP diversity and inclusion training, we are encouraged to add preferred gender pronouns in our email signatures. Until recently, I resisted this. I did not have any reason or justification for not having my preferred pronoun listed; it just felt strange. However, this is not good communication, and it was time to practice what I preached.

After reading several blogs and articles and listening to a few podcasts on gender pronouns, one podcast really resonated with me. It featured a non-binary person who was asked: “What do you say to someone who is hesitant about using a preferred gender pronoun?”

Their response was, and I am paraphrasing, “accommodating a person’s preferred gender pronoun can make a huge difference to that person, while it really has very little impact on you. You’re just using words to make someone feel included.”

Put that way, I added he/him to my email signature. If I am honest, there are times when I find using preferred genders awkward, but I that is my issue – my feelings have nothing to do with my audience. My job is to connect with people, whether they be a he, she, or them.

Gender identity and gender expression are on a spectrum, so from a communications perspective, we want to acknowledge and accept the differences so we can better understand how our message will be received and decoded.

Simply put, including pronouns in your email signature and social media profiles improves your communications.

For more information on using appropriate gender terminology, check out the Government of Canada’s Inclusionary – a dictionary of gender-inclusive words and phrases. It was designed to provide writers, editors and translators with a starting point for writing inclusively in English, in accordance with the techniques outlined in the Guidelines for Inclusive Writing.

Not everyone will agree with all the solutions provided in the Inclusionary. Some solutions may not apply in certain contexts. For example, the Inclusionary provides alternatives to gendered terms for family members.

Of course, these gendered terms (“mother,” “father,” etc.) are perfectly appropriate in many contexts and don’t need to be consistently avoided.

The gender-inclusive alternatives aren’t meant to be used in every context, but rather in those contexts where the gender of the person referred to is non-binary or is unknown. You must therefore exercise judgment in applying the proposed solutions.

By Debbie Ciccotelli, VP of Strategic Initiatives

In 2022, we began our recovery from the worst of the pandemic. 2022 was a bit of a wild rollercoaster ride for businesses and individuals – for those of you who recall Jim Catney (our retired VP) he had a phrase which sums up the past year “it is like drinking from a fire hose”.

But, 2022 was another transformative year for ASP. It was a year in which we stabilized the business further, welcomed new members and rolled out important initiatives that will make us a more resilient company and ensure we are prepared for future growth and success.

On our corporate level, many new positive initiatives have been implemented or are underway, such as:

  • Our IT Director Jeremy Knott has made great progress in introducing new technology from to Halo which will transform the way we work and serve our employees and customers in the future.
  • Laurel Woodhouse has implemented many new Health and Safety Initiatives aimed at creating a safety conscious culture for the protection of all ASP employees.
  • Sarah Northrup and the HR team have actively improved recruitment, onboarding, and training methods, increased the focus on Leadership Development, Diversity & Inclusion, and Employee Engagement.
  • Our Aviation and RES/CIC leadership teams have increased our focus on both client and employee relationship management.
  • We reintroduced the CEO Excellence Awards (which was temporarily put on hold during the pandemic).
  • The ASP brand policy and guide was developed to ensure a consistent corporate identity that accurately reflects our company brand.
  • The Aviation Division was successful in once again winning the Security Contract at Toronto Pearson International Airport. We are extremely proud that we have been the security service provider for the GTAA for 22 consecutive years and knowing we will continue for many more years.

I am extremely proud to work for a company that is both people focused and company centric, and I am truly impressed at how quickly we have adapted to each new challenge and how teams from across the company collaborated with one another to make the most of every opportunity. Over the past year the company, our leaders, and our employees have demonstrated over and over again our agility and strengths as an organization. The services we provide are an integral part of people’s lives and our customers rely on us to keep them safe, secure, and informed. Working together, we made good progress toward our strategic goals despite significant challenges – not the least of which were ongoing disruptions from the pandemic that continues to have such a substantial impact on our own work and home lives, as well as on the lives of our customers. 2023 is set to be another exciting year for us. We can look forward to working further on many initiatives and also to uncovering new opportunities to grow our business and deliver the best services.

It is important to remain optimistic and hopeful about the future. Personally, I am an optimistic person because when we hope for a better future, we are placing trust in ourselves to make good choices in life. Each of us as individuals has the power to make change, however when we work together, we have proven that we can overcome any obstacles that arise. When we feel hopeful for the future, we wake up in the morning ready to embrace the day and trust in the potential for positive things to happen. We are more prepared to work hard, to strive, to be willing to tackle and overcome the obstacles that we face. My hope is that this and all the work that’s been done to drive change is a turning point for the future. That this moment and movement doesn’t stop. Every one of us has an important role to play in the work ahead and I’m confident that together we will achieve great things. As we bid farewell to 2022 year, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the incredible work you do. When we are united, we are unstoppable—I hope we continue to shine and work together. Here’s to wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year! Cheers to what the coming year brings for us!

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”