Earlier this year, Kate Krivy, Account Director at AXON Clinical Trial Services (sister company of NATIONAL) in Toronto, received the Luc Beauregard Award, dedicated to the memory of AVENIR GLOBAL’s founder and presented to an employee achievement winner whose stellar nomination and strong performance during the year truly stood out. Since joining us in 2015, Kate has demonstrated strong organization skills and exemplary scientific rigour that is highly appreciated by her peers and clients. Kate also stood out for her community engagement, promoting mental health when she volunteered for the Toronto Distress Centre. Stéphanie Auclair, Editor and Associate at AVENIR GLOBAL, sat down with her to learn about the qualities that earned her this wonderful international recognition.
What does winning the Luc Beauregard Award mean to you?
I feel very grateful. My understanding is that Luc Beauregard cared deeply about his work but he also cared about his community in equal measure. I feel lucky to work for an organization that values this balance between work and community engagement. I’m also humbled that my colleagues feel like I’m someone whose behaviour reflects these values.
Why is community engagement so important to you? What got you started?
Community engagement is something that is ingrained in my family and was part of my upbringing as well. My grandfather started a stroke recovery group before they really existed because he saw a need in the community. I also grew up in a small town where everyone supported each other. For example, if someone was sick, everybody would bring them food. It was a very tight-knit community. I participated in a number of volunteer groups there that organized fundraisers for the community.
When I moved to Montreal, it was a big change for me. I was lucky to find an amazing organization called Santropol Roulant, which is a meals-on-wheels service that connects different factions of the community through food preparation and delivery. Through Santropol Roulant, I really started to see the power of reducing isolation and connecting different people who might not otherwise get the chance to know each other. This experience really got me interested in the idea of community health and what that looks like.
Did you continue to volunteer when you left Montreal?
When I moved to Toronto for this position at AXON CTS in 2015, I started volunteering at the Toronto Distress Centre. After being involved in the community in Montreal, I wanted to continue to give back to my new community here. It was a great way for me to find a connection to the city and develop a sense of belonging.
Do you think organizations do enough for mental health?
I think that organizations are still in the early stages of understanding how to approach mental health in the workplace. I think we’re starting to see people pay more attention. It’s interesting because some aspects of the culture of corporate environments clash with mental health. They sort of teach you to come in on your best foot every day, sometimes to swallow your feelings. I think organizations can definitely do more for mental health in terms of giving people the space to disengage, to take more time for themselves and to feel that they can express their feelings more openly. But I also think that mental health in organizations is built on employees and how they interact every day at work. We all need to do more for mental health every day at work, to listen to each other and to be examples of kindness.
Would you say that being involved in your community helps you in your work? How so?
Absolutely! I think that the more voices you hear in your community, the better off you are at work. The Distress Centre has also taught me the power of validation and active listening, and those are definitely skills that I bring to the table for my client work at AXON.
What are you most proud of in the past year?
I’m very proud of the work that AXON CTS is doing in knowledge translation and patient engagement. We have been working on advisory boards that are conducted with individuals to inform clinical trials so that they are better built for the people they aim to serve. We’ve also been working on participant-facing results reports to put knowledge back into participants’ hands.
What’s coming up for you this year? Are there specific projects or goals that you’re looking forward to achieving?
I’ve recently been promoted into a new role so I’m excited to see the challenges that it brings. I think that a goal for AXON is to be involved in the Toronto clinical trial community in a different way this year. To connect our organization to the local clinical trials community. * Like Kate, many employees across the AVENIR GLOBAL network are involved in their communities. Find out more about our global engagement in our 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report – Giving a voice to what matters.*
——— Written by Stéphanie Auclair, former Editor and Associate, Corporate Affairs, AVENIR GLOBAL