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LiveWorkPlay Wraps Up National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) In Style!

It’s the Ottawa RedBlacks symbol of excellence – a slice of the team’s “touchdown log” ripped by a chainsaw from local timber after every touchdown on home field at TD Place! They’re called “wood cookies” and they represent hard work, achievement and excellence. The wood cookies are used to honour Ottawa-Gatineau heroes – people who make our community a better place in which to live through their selfless actions. One slice of logo-branded timber is given out at each home game in the 4th quarter. These are community heroes, and on October 29, 2021, the recipient was none other than LiveWorkPlay volunteer Mary Gusella!

Cheering on from the stands – and in the condo building that overlooks the stadium- were more than 20 members, volunteers, and staff of LiveWorkPlay, taking in the game, holding up signs, and contributing to the atmosphere of this unique moment! Special thanks to Mike Coxon for the photos of the jumbotron, to volunteer Rayan Al Hasan for lugging a dozen LiveWorkPlay signs to and from the stadium, to Jeremy Robin for texting back and forth to Julie Kingstone to coordinate photography with Keenan Wellar, and to Janice Barresi and the team at the OSEG Foundation for doing such a great job of celebrating Mary!

Mary was also recognized with a United Way East Ontario Community Builder Award in December 2020 where her volunteer role in supporting the LiveWorkPlay Federal Employment Strategy Group (as a founding member and currently serving as chair) was detailed. At the time there had been more than 100 public service hires of people with intellectual disabilities and autistic persons in more than 35 departments and agencies – we are hopeful that by December 2021 the number we will be able to announce 150! Below are some more of Mary’s most notable accomplishments!

Mary Gusella retired as Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2006 following a distinguished career in the Public Service of Canada.. Mary is one of a very few public servants whose experience includes serving as a Deputy Minister, Head of Agency, CEO of a Crown Corporation and Chair of a bi-national organization. In her 36 years in the Public Service of Canada, Mary served in many senior level positions including that of Deputy Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Chair and President of Enterprise Cape Breton, Commissioner of the Public Service Commission, Head of The Leadership Network, and as the Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States. In 2005, Mary was awarded the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award, the Public Service’s highest award, for her “Outstanding contribution to the Public Service of Canada”. She received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and has been inducted into the Honour Society of the University of Ottawa Law School.

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