Thursday, September 24, 2015

City Flood Recovery Program Earns Award

The City of Calgary has won an award from the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) for facilitation work supporting our 2013 flood recovery efforts.

The IAF promotes, supports and advances the practice of professional facilitation. The City won Silver in the Association’s Facilitation Impact Awards (FIA), an initiative to recognize facilitation excellence in businesses, governments, and not-for-profit organizations. The City was selected from among 42 submissions from around the world and was the only Canadian municipality and one of three Canadian applicants to make the top 20.

The award program is designed to:
  • Promote awareness of the role of facilitation in achieving positive and impactful results;
  • Reward the use of facilitation within organizations, communities, and society in general; and
  • Recognize excellence in facilitation practices.

Front to back: Kathy Sokolan-Oblak, Recovery Planner; Elaine Wong,
Project Management Consultant;  Erina Possak, Project Management Consultant;
Tom Gosse, Team Lead & Consultant
Missing is Christine Arthurs, Recovery Director
The first ever Recovery Operations Centre (ROC) in Calgary was set up within days of the June 2013 flood to help The City and citizens recover from the worst natural disaster in modern history.

With the help of City facilitators and project management experts, the Recovery Office and staff from across the Corporation played a major role in helping City staff plan, implement and advance flood recovery efforts.

“The City of Calgary has been very successful in flood recovery efforts and that can be directly linked to the numerous facilitated sessions that supported recovery efforts,” said Recovery Planner Kathy Sokolan-Oblak. “Successful facilitation enabled us to move recovery efforts along and has helped us develop and implement ongoing recovery plans and mitigation measures. By engaging citizens, partners and our staff, we not only advanced recovery, we are now better positioned to handle any future disaster, whether it’s a flood or some other type of shock or stressor.”

Facilitation helped the broader recovery team:
  • Create a culture of one City team with a common goal and one voice;
  • Break down silos and enhance relationships across the organization and with external partners; and
  • Build corporate resilience by advancing the knowledge and skills staff developed as they advance recovery efforts for The City and the broader community.
“I’m proud to have been a part of the group of professionals who took on the multiple and varied facilitator roles throughout 18 + months of flood recovery,” said Erina Possak with The City of Calgary’s Corporate Project Management Centre. “To have our work recognized by the IAF just adds to the whole experience.”

Kimberly Bain, Global Chair of the IAF, said the winning entries demonstrate the value facilitation can add to a project or initiative. “I truly believe that facilitation excellence can be a powerful source of change in organizations and communities. This is concrete proof that group facilitation and group process methodologies yield significant results.”

This is the first year the IAF awards program has been selected at a worldwide level; previous years’ awards have been granted by regions. In 2014, The City’s Cultural Transformation Project won a Platinum Award and Calgary Transit won a Gold Award the Facilitation Impact Awards in the Americas Division.

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