Team Captain: Michael Chambers (Training Specialist, Learning and Development)
Team Members: Melissa Afkari (HRIS and Payroll Specialist), Aneika Boucaud (Learning Consultant), Andrae Ennis (ISCC Insurance Sales Rep), Terry Fredericks (Supervisor, Emergency Road Service Team), Judy Heffernan (Corporate Accounts Executive), Laura Hillaby (Project Leader, Facilities and Corporate Services), Ryan Kerr (Business Operations Manager), Jeff LeMoine (Communications Specialist), Stephanie Neveu (Member Care Counsellor), Carla Spina (HR Consultant), Danielle Thurgood (Training Specialist)
CAA thrives on providing employees with work-life balance, which is evident in the fact that The Associates held boot camp and rehearsals for Canada Sings during business hours. “I keep letting the team know that not every company does this!” Team Captain Michael Chambers enthuses. No wonder this glee club had so much to be gleeful about.
Although Michael may have a little less to sing about since he broke his shin bone. “I really want to do flips and stuff,” he says, “But I can’t.” Not to worry, since his team mates are there to take up the slack. It didn’t come easily, though. When some of the members were having difficulty getting into character, they took an odd approach – they switched roles, with the men putting on dresses and the women donning the men’s wardrobe. The process helped them lower their inhibitions and get into the performance.
By day their jobs range from tow truck driving to member care to insurance, but by night these folks are wannabe stage performers. There are several standout vocalists, such as Andrae Ennis (who made it to the top 30 on Canadian Idol), Aneika Boucaud, and Stephanie Neveu. Stephanie has always dreamt of being a singer and tried out for Canadian Idol. Her passion for the stage is palpable, but the closest she’s come so far is performing at her aunt’s and uncle’s restaurant. Michael believes that by performing on the Canada Sings stage, Stephanie’s dream is coming true.
But not everyone on The Associates has dreams of stardom. Danielle Thurgood steps outside of her comfort zone mainly for the charity, but also to let her kids know, ‘If I can confront my fears like this, you can as well.’
In the end it’s all about the kids – The Associates are competing for SickKids Foundation, which raises funds on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children. “We’re doing this for the charity,” says Michael. “Everyone is doing this for the kids, but I’m stressing to them that this experience is also going to leave a stamp on their lives.”
Follow The Associates on Twitter:@ CAASCO
Established in 1972, SickKids Foundation raises funds on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children. SickKids Foundation is one of the largest funders of child health research, learning, and care in Canada. The Foundation seeks to improve the lives of children and their families in Canada and around the world.
About CAA: CAA is a national organization with 9 clubs serving over 5 million members. It offers exceptional emergency roadside service, member savings, and comprehensive automobile, travel and insurance services. http://www.facebook.com/CAASouthCentralON