Sept. 22, 2021 The Division of Human Resources & Equity is now called the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture.

Celebrating Our Own: The 2020 HR & Equity Awards of Distinction

Proficient HR work has never been more important. Every day, the staff from the Divisional HR Offices and Division of HR & Equity support and serve over 20,000 faculty, librarians, and staff who work at U of T. From getting paid on time to supporting accommodation needs and fostering an inclusive environment, to helping our employees plan for a family, the work of our HR teams has a great impact on the overall satisfaction and engagement of every University employee.

Now in its third year, the annual HR & Equity Awards of Distinction program is an excellent opportunity to recognize and celebrate the exemplary efforts our HR colleagues have made over the past year. The program recognizes both individuals and teams, and nominations can be submitted by any faculty, librarians, and staff, not just those who work within HR.

Last year, three individuals and two teams were recognized with an HR & Equity Award of Distinction. Luke Pereira, Learning Resource & Web Coordinator at the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture (LLC), was one of those individuals, and he admits that “it came as a shock to be nominated”. Pereira was recognized with the 2019 HR & Equity Award of Distinction Living Our Values Award for his instrumental role in launching the SuccessFactors Learning Management System (LMS) and spearheading the rebrand of the LLC. “Staff such as myself who are not front-facing usually work in the shadows”, he said. “When individuals in leadership roles take time out of their schedules to acknowledge the breadth of work staff do, it says something about the culture where we work.”

Pereira was nominated by Linda Hills, Director, Learning & Leadership, in the Division of HR & Equity, for accomplishing extraordinary work in a very short period of time. She felt his efforts warranted wider recognition from the Division.

Hills also encourages others to be alert to work that deserves recognition. “If you are considering submitting a nomination, take a look at your calendar, your meeting notes, take a few moments to appreciate the work done over the past year. Take note of what’s been outstanding for the department or division, from your team, your team members or your colleagues. You won’t have to look hard to see something exemplary that should be recognized.”

The sentiment is shared by Tom Spence, Employee Recognition & Engagement Advisor. “While recognition is something we should all be practicing everyday, this award program offers each of us the opportunity to formally acknowledge and thank our HR colleagues for their significant achievements and outstanding effort. When we show our gratitude, we create a culture of appreciation which helps make U of T a great place to work and learn.”

Nominations are open and can be made through the True Blue Recognition Platform. The deadline to submit is Friday, November 13th, 2020.

The HR & Equity Awards of Distinction were established in 2018 to provide HR staff with an opportunity to recognize individuals or teams that exemplify the Division’s values, perform outstanding work and contribute in a variety of ways to the mission of the University. All members of the U of T community are also invited to nominate HR professionals for the “HR Team of the Year”.

The program is part of our Recognition and Engagement strategy that advances the University’s mission and enhances the University experience for the entire community.

For more information about the HR & Equity Awards of Distinction or U of T’s many Recognition and Engagement initiatives, contact Tom Spence, Employee Recognition & Engagement Advisor, at