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Mawer Investment Management leaders and alumni at its annual holiday party last year.Provided

Mawer Investment Management Ltd. recently held an event where employees formed small groups and were tasked with sharing stories about their time at the Calgary-based firm.

“It took up the entire afternoon. We actually had to extend the time because people had so much to say,” says Phil Mittertreiner, chief learning officer. “It was amazing to uncover the impact the company has had – on our community, our clients and on each other. It made me proud to be a part of Mawer.”

Amanda Tesarski, institutional trade analyst, has many stories of her own. At a previous company, she was told she had an attendance problem because she often had to stay home when her children were sick. They advised she take a few years off work.

At Mawer, it was a totally different story. “They said, ‘We could really benefit from your skill set’ and asked me to create and lead a team,” she says. “It was a ton of responsibility and it was daunting because I had to start from scratch. But people in very senior levels of management came up to me and said, ‘If there is anything I can do, please reach out to me.’ This helped me have absolute confidence in myself.”

And when Tesarski expressed worry that she may sometimes need to miss work for family obligations, her manager told her not to worry and that colleagues would cover for her when needed.

“So I am really grateful. I have a lot of hope. I see endless possibilities. And it makes me want to be better,” she says. “I show up and I do my best every day.

“We are a team of really smart, talented, educated people,” she says. “But it’s the human part that takes us to the next level. The connections we have, the trust and support – I think that really makes a difference in our company.”

Tesarski also appreciates the opportunities Mawer provides in learning and career development. “If you have an idea or a special skill set, they let you run with it. They’ll support you. As a privately held, independent company, there is more opportunity for flexibility and creativity to carve out a niche for yourself,” she says. “That makes it kind of fun. You get opportunities to stretch yourself.”

Development programs include training in areas such as conflict resolution, demonstrating appreciation, accountability, curiosity and candour. The firm also has an internal mentoring program and access to external coaches. There is a major focus on building self-awareness. Each employee receives a $5,000 learning stipend to spend on any learning activity that may enhance their professional or personal development.

“I took singing lessons the first year because I always wanted to learn how to sing and I thought it could also help with public speaking,” Tesarski says. “Being a mom, it was so hard to find that hour a week for myself. So I took this opportunity to just refocus back on self-development.”

Mittertreiner is proud of the company’s desire to help each employee find their “intersection.” This, he notes, is the overlap between your dreams and desires, your talents and something that adds value to the firm.

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