Our employees are vital links in Canada’s Lifeline

Learn more about their incredible efforts to support patients, so often driven by a deep, personal sense of mission

March 4, 2022
A plasma donor is hooked up to a machine during a donation. 

Today, Canadian Blood Services celebrates Employee Appreciation Day by thanking our exceptional workforce across the country. Each and every employee is an incredibly valued member of this diverse, multi-divisional, multi-regional and multi-faceted national team.

“Given the unique and shared challenges we’ve all experienced over the past two years, it is more important than ever to recognize the incredible progress we have made together ― and how your commitment to patients across the country has never wavered,” said Andrew Pateman, Canadian Blood Services’ vice-president of People, Culture and Performance, in an email to employees this week. “You continue to live our ICARE values of integrity, collaboration, adaptability, respect and excellence and it is because of YOU that we have been able to continue to fulfill our vision to help every patient, match every need and serve every Canadian.”

No matter the position, the location or the department, we are bonded by that shared vision. Our employees’ dedication and passion shine through in stories about their work ― whether they’re reflecting on a day in the life of our facility in Brampton, Ont., sharing their experiences as frontline employees adapting to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, or explaining how they kept stem cells moving to patients during a COVID-related shutdown.

Below are just a few of the employee stories we’ve shared recently, with gratitude for incredible work in challenging times.

Connecting with donors ‘a joy that’s difficult to explain’

Woman in purple shirt in a garden

Susan John is a donor care associate with Canadian Blood Services in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

Susan John first joined Canadian Blood Services as a cord blood collection specialist at B.C. Women’s Hospital, one of four hospitals where we collect donated umbilical cord blood for use in lifesaving stem cell transplants. Today, she works directly with blood donors as a donor care associate in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

“Because I go to different locations daily, I get the opportunity to meet donors from across the region,” she says. “And it’s difficult to explain the kind of joy one feels to connect with blood donors on a personal level, and to hear about their experiences.”

Read more: Connecting with donors ‘a joy that’s difficult to explain’

The science of giving

Woman in blue shirt next to window

Dr. Jennie Haw is a sociologist with Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation.

Dr. Jennie Haw is a sociologist who joined Canadian Blood Services Centre for Innovation in 2019. Her work has been deepening our understanding of donors’ attitudes and behaviours, helping us respond more effectively in an evolving social context.

“Advancing social justice and health equity has always been an important theme in my education and work,” she says. “It’s something I feel passionate about.”

Read more: The science of giving

Building resiliency in health care

Man in a shirt that says Green Shirt Day next to ocean with city in background

Ken Lotherington worked in a hospital before joining Canadian Blood Services’ organs and tissues program in 2012.

In 2012, Ken Lotherington left a position at a hospital in Halifax, N.S. to begin a new career supporting the organs and tissues program at Canadian Blood Services. Here, he’s facilitated world-leading research on burnout among organ and tissue donation coordinators, in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), to improve the system he used to work in.

“Coordinators are one of the most critical roles that support organ and tissue donation. But folks who work in that role burn out, and they burn out quickly,” says Ken. “One of the reasons is working around death, grief and loss all of the time,” says Ken.

Read more: Building resiliency in health care

Plasma associate Amelia Greeno gives back through her work

Plasma associate with hands on hips in front of signs at plasma donor centre

Amelia Greeno is a plasma associate at the plasma donor centre in Lethbridge, Alta., which opened in 2021.

Amelia Greeno is one of many Canadian Blood Services employees with a powerful personal connection to her work. When her son was just a year old, he needed an immediate blood transfusion for severe anemia.

“To have a lifeline like Canadian Blood Services there for us — it was my son’s lifeline. When people come in and share their stories about why they donate, I get it because I’ve been there,” says Amelia.

Amelia has worked at Canadian Blood Services for more than a decade, and is now part of the team at the plasma donor centre in Lethbridge, Alta. She made her own first plasma donation early last year.

Read more: Plasma associate Amelia Greeno gives back through her work

Stem cells without borders

Portrait of the manager of donor services for Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry

Gail Morris is manager of donor services for Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry.

Connecting stem cell donors to waiting recipients has required extra-heroic feats of logistics during the pandemic.

When the pandemic first hit, couriers suddenly needed far more support than usual to get stem cells from overseas donors to patients matched in Canada, and from registered donors in this country to recipients abroad. Gail Morris, manager of donor services for Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry, was one of the employees who went into overdrive.

Read more: Stem cells without borders

We are so grateful to all the employees who enable us to fulfill our vision to help every patient, match every need and serve every Canadian. If you would like to learn more about careers at Canadian Blood Services, please visit our careers page.

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