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Balancing the Karma Chequebook

August 28, 2019

Work Hard. Play Hard. We’ve all heard or used the expression at some point.  Yet, it feels sort of 2012. Though its virtues (and corresponding vices) hold true in 2019, we prefer a slight twist:  Work Hard. Give Hard. At Pekarsky & Co., we’ve long been regarded as not only a leader in executive search but a leader in community engagement and involvement.  We give because it feels good; not because it looks good.  In fact, most of our good deeds go unseen and unpublicized, the only breadcrumbs evidencing our quieter good works, pinned to our kitchen corkboard. This past summer was no different. While the usual dip in work that accompanies summer in Calgary provided a nice respite for a team that works very, very hard throughout the year, any void created by the lull that wasn’t filled with personal travel (to the lake, to the mountains, to Portugal, Spain and Croatia for some), was occupied by staying immersed in our community.


Adam volunteered as a judge on the Calgary Chamber Company Culture Awards to be handed out during Small Business Week.  He also worked away at refining his curriculum for year two of his law school course loosely called Everything You Never Learned In Law School But Should Have….Until Nowfocusing on career and client development for lawyers. The course, which was hugely popular in year one and is back by popular demand, strives to teach the students the skills required to become a well-rounded lawyer, not just a really smart one (leaving that to the real profs). Finally, in addition to his ongoing contributions as a Board Member with the YMCA of Calgary and his work co-chairing a capital campaign for Camp Chief Hector, Adam was also asked to join the Board of Directors of CMLC, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, where he will be able to share his ideas and knowledge about our great city in a direct and impactful way as we see the continued transformation of the East Village and Rivers District.


As a member of the Board of Directors of the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) – an organization that provides services and resources to integrate newcomer immigrant women into the workforce and set them up for success – Pekarsky & Co. Partner, Ranju Shergill, was able to raise the organization’s profile and capitalize on our guests’ generosity at our firm Stampede party where a donation box was purposely placed in the way of their nametags. Approximately 50% of women that go through CIWA programs hold a Bachelor’s degree, college/trade certificate or higher and professional work experience from their home country. The top five professions for CIWA clients are accountants, administrators, doctors, nurses, and teachers.


For the 5th year in a row, Ranju also provided volunteer hours with the Calgary Stampede Downtown Attractions Committee assisting with Rope Square activities which included the wrangling of food trucks at Olympic Plaza and square dancing along Stephen Avenue, quite literally under our office window.


Cam McDonald more than made up for his late night Stampede party rendition of Friends in Low Places by completing his ninth year of volunteering with the Calgary Stampede’s Courtesy Car Committee. The committee is often the first point of contact for many of the Stampede’s VIP visitors from Canada and around the world, including key sponsors, competitors, entertainers, judges and executive members from other global agricultural exhibitions. The committee is charged with transporting guests to and from locations both on and off the park, racking up thousands of kilometres over the 12 days of Stampede. Incredibly, he has managed to stay on the right hand side of the road, despite learning to drive in Australia.


Cam also continued his work as a member of the Executive Committee for the bi-annual Top 7 Over 70 Awards Program, founded by Jim Gray and a number of other well-known Calgary Philanthropists. The program aims to recognize seniors from Calgary (and surrounding areas) who have started something different or new, or implemented a new venture or idea, after age 70. Most importantly, the awards raise funds to initiate programming to foster engagement between seniors and younger people through InterGen — a unique talent development program and matching platform. This program is helping to re-energize our economy by partnering transitioning or retiring individuals with younger entrepreneurs, thus creating multigenerational teams that can rapidly scale growth.


Principal, Erin Dand’s unrelenting efforts to be our best hope for admission at the pearly gates was on display as she steadfastly volunteered at her church, where she teaches 4 and 5 year old kids, sings in the choir, and serves as a barista in the coffee bar (not all at the same time). And Research Associate Kate Spencer stayed involved with Figure 8, a group of local Calgary business women who have come together to make a difference in our community including participating in Polo Match for Mental Health in support of the new Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health scheduled to open in Calgary in 2021.


There are so many other worthy causes we quietly support – from the Canadian Cancer Society’s AB/NWT Division to serving as a Mentor for Rotary’s Tom Jackson’s Stay In School Program to supporting the ongoing efforts of Alzheimer’s Society – that we feel solid in our knowledge that we continue to run a positive balance in the karma account, indeed.