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Shirley Lealess, RPR, CMP, RAS, RPT

Shirley Lealess
Shirley Lealess started out after Teacher’s College as one of two itinerant teachers hired when blind children were integrated into the Metro Toronto School System. After six years, she became a stay-at-home Mom, and began a part-time job selling Tupperware. She was eventually promoted to Manager, then Distributor, and when sales reached $1.2 million she sold the business and moved on to a career in real estate. Twelve years later, a desire for regular hours led to Sheridan College and a work placement at Crossroads, where she is currently working.

Shirley is Director of Human Resources for two organizations. Crossroads Christian Communications (CCCI) is a not-for-profit Ministry, home to the “100 Huntley Street” program which has aired on television daily since 1977. Prayer lines register 30,000 calls monthly. CCCI also operates eleven Circle Square Ranches nationally, and facilitates Missions projects globally. CCCI also produces Nitelite and TQ television programs.

The other organization, Crossroads Television System (CTS), is a busy television station serving Toronto, London and Ottawa areas. CTS in-house productions include Huntley Street, Eye to Eye, Listen Up, Michael Coren, On the Line, Behind the Story, and Faith Journal.

Shirley has been with Crossroads since doing a work placement there through Sheridan College. During her placement, a position opened up for Administrative Assistant in the HR department, and Shirley was hired. Since that time almost 12 years ago, she has served as Payroll/Benefits Coordinator, HR Administrator and currently as HR Director.

As Director of Human Resources Shirley is a Generalist who oversees a multitude of HR-related activities. This two-person department administers all aspects of HR, benefits and payroll for both organizations.

Recruiting for a television station and a ministry covers a wide scope of job descriptions that makes hiring interesting. Shirley takes full advantage of the and websites for recruiting. Last year she initiated a balanced scorecard approach to employee evaluations. Shirley is also involved in writing policy, administering service awards, pay equity, employment equity, salary administration, creating organizational charts, resolving conflict, sourcing training and planning staff functions.

Shirley has recently achieved the IPM Registered Professional Trainer designation. She says that her goal is “to honour God with her life and her work and to encourage others to be the best that they can possibly be”. Shirley’s hobbies include reading, swimming, and golfing with friends, and her favourite vacation spot is Port Elgin. Future plans include writing more poetry and getting it published.

Connie M. Thornton, CMP

Connie Thornton is the Executive Assistant to the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources for Elk Island Public Schools located in Sherwood Park, Alberta.

Connie M. Thornton
Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) serves approximately 16,200 students in 44 schools located in Sherwood Park, the City of Fort Saskatchewan, the Town of Vegreville, Strathcona County, the County of Lamont, and the western portion of the County of Minburn,. The schools range in size from approximately 30 students in each of the two Hutterite Colony schools to 1,400 students in a high school in Sherwood Park.

Connie began her career as a Customer Service Representative for Bell Canada in Hamilton, Ontario. After seven years away from the workforce raising a family, Connie changed careers and provinces and began work with Elk Island Public Schools as an Educational Assistant in a local school. After nine years in the classroom she moved into the school office and began taking courses at the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan College. When the opportunity presented itself, Connie moved into the Human Resources Department in 1998.

The Human Resources team consists of four decision units and Connie is responsible for the monitoring of workloads, deployment of staff, and management of the physical space for three of these units. As part of the Human Resources team, Connie assists the Associate Superintendent in preparing and monitoring the HR budget. She liaises with elected officials, senior administration, schools, Alberta Learning and other agencies regarding system and departmental policies, procedures, guidelines and general information. Connie is responsible for the management of the administrative allowances pertaining to principals, assistant principals, directors, assistant directors and consultants. She is also the “techie” of the Human Resources department and is currently developing the HR Internet site as well as an internal website. She has been involved in the Respectful Working and Learning Environments initiative and is now helping to train the nearly 2000 employees of Elk Island Public Schools.

Connie is the proud grandmother of two. A granddaughter lives close by in Sherwood Park but her grandson lives in Toronto so she spends a lot of time on airplanes. She has been very involved as Chair and now Past-Chair of a volunteer board which manages five social programs in her community. Connie’s free time is spent sailing, golfing, scrapbooking and volunteering. Future plans include buying a new sailboat with her husband and getting to know all the little coves, inlets and islands around Vancouver Island.

Pam Matheson, RPR, CMP

Pam Matheson is Senior Consultant of Succession Management and HR Planning for the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission (PSC) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Pam Matheson
The Nova Scotia Public Service Commission focuses on labour relations and human resources management of direct government employees and designated areas of the broader public sector. Pam works within the Innovation and Growth team, which is a leading-edge change section providing expert strategic advice on human resource development programs required to build a diverse and vibrant workforce throughout the Nova Scotia Public Service. Innovation and Growth focuses on three related areas of human resource management including: leadership development and learning, succession management, and performance management.

Pam’s current role is to work with Deputy Ministers and their senior management teams to design and implement succession management strategies and processes, which address the needs of their departments.

Pam began her career working in the New Brunswick school system as a Methods and Resource specialist. She spent an adventurous year in Japan as head teacher of a small English language school. She then moved to Ottawa with her husband in 1995 where she was able to combine her education and IT training to capitalize on the burgeoning IT sector. She was an educational systems developer and consultant for SHL Systemhouse before joining an IT education company called ITI in their Corporate University division. After the IT bubble burst Pam joined Maritime Life as a Development Consultant. In 2004, Pam was offered a wonderful opportunity to join the provincial government and be part of the PSC’s newly formed HR Planning team. Although it was a transition from the private sector, she thoroughly enjoys the challenge and diversity of the work she does within the government.

Pam holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Education degree from St. Thomas University and a Master of Education degree specializing in evaluation and assessment from the University of New Brunswick. She is a Certified Human Resources Professional and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. She also holds both her CMP and RPR designations.

Pam is the mother of two girls ages three and five who keep her very busy outside of working hours. Most of her fall/winter time is spent at the pool, gymnastics club or rink with the girls, and socializing with family and friends is squeezed in. Her volunteer activities include being an active member of the Junior League of Halifax. Summer is officially “time off” for her family when weekends are spent at their ocean-side cottage.


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