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NEOC Testimonials


Judy Fantham - Osborne Group Principal...


Osborne Group principal Judy Fantham has experienced the power of participating in the award process firsthand. Judy describes her experience in the following testimonial:

“In 2018, I was asked to take on the leadership of a small, nonprofit agency in deep trouble. Where to start? I sensed staff had become afraid to tell truth to power, so I relied on the Canadian Nonprofit Employer of Choice (NEOC) Award to learn that truth because I trusted the NEOC brand. I anticipated low scores, and that was what we heard. The truth was difficult to hear but the organization needed a baseline because we were determined to turn around the agency for both staff and clients. They deserved it!


The NEOC leadership delivered the truth constructively and provided an objective, third-party foundation for the recommended action plan. A year later, we were recognized with a Canadian Nonprofit Employer of Choice Award! Today I am consulting with other nonprofit organizations as a principal with The Osborne Group. I can tell you – from the heart – that the NEOC award improved staff morale with measurable results, helped recruit in a tough sector, and everyone’s efforts were commended by the board for a job well done.”

Chilliwack Society for Community Living (CSCL)

Says Executive Director Julie Unger, “To test if our employee practices were on track, in 2016 our Board of Directors set a Strategic Plan goal for CSCL to become a nationally recognized employer of choice. The Non-Profit Employer of Choice (NEOC) Award fit the bill, and we were thrilled to receive the award in 2017 and 2018.”  In pondering CSCL’s NEOC experience, Julie says, “We entered this process with curiosity and a desire to learn how we might improve as an employer, and continue to attract great talent to our team. “The NEOC people were great to work with. We found it especially valuable that they conducted an external and confidential employee engagement survey, which our employees felt added credibility to the survey process. Their responses help us continually improve as an employer, allowing us to better fulfill our mission.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association – York Region and South Simcoe

Heather says, “We’ve used the NEOC review process since 2016. The feedback we’ve obtained from the experience each year has helped us build on our inclusive staff culture and provided valuable inputs into the development of our employee experience.  “Being a Nonprofit Employer of Choice winner is helping to attract top talent and retain staff. This has become especially critical since in our last fiscal year, our staffing grew by approximately 30% to meet growing program and client needs. We highly recommend the NEOC program for the insights it can offer to nonprofits!

Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association (ARTA)

Amanda Shaw, ARTA’s Director of Marketing, said, “One of ARTA’s four strategic goals is Organizational Excellence and we strive to be a recognized employer of choice. We applied for the Non-Profit Employer of Choice Award because NEOC is a reputable organization that focuses on non-profits and their unique business challenges. Unlike other employer of choice awards, NEOC allows small organizations like ours to enter."

“By going through NEOC’s leadership review and HR inventory in 2017 and 2018, NEOC’s anonymous member survey identified areas in which we were not fully supporting our employees. In particular, we felt we needed to more heavily promote staff training and development", said Shaw. “I’d highly recommend the NEOC process to other non-profits who like ARTA, want to continue to grow as an organization and be a place where staff love to work.”

LOFT Community Services

In 2018, LOFT was recognized as a Nonprofit Employer of Choice – a designation they find very meaningful. “We want to be the best employer possible to attract values-driven, skilled people to work for us, and once they are with us, we want them to stay,” says Heather McDonald, LOFT’s CEO. “By participating in the NEOC process last year, we got valuable feedback that has allowed us to focus on many ways we can be an even better employer.”

Heather notes, “Participating in the NEOC process was a strategic choice for LOFT. We take the feedback we got from NEOC’s anonymous staff survey very seriously. As a result, I’m holding engagement sessions with staff, reviewing identified areas of improvement as well as areas in which we scored highly. This gives me share with staff how LOFT is working to improve and spread best practices across our organization. To ensure complete transparency, I’ve also widely shared a document that outlines NEOC’s findings.

“The NEOC process has generated many great ideas from our staff. For example, staff pointed out that tuition costs for training programs have increased but our subsidy for tuition reimbursement has remained the same for several years. By increasing this quickly, staff knew we were listening to them.”

Heather adds, “We will use our overall 2018 NEOC score to act as a baseline so we can track future improvement when we participate in NEOC in the future. By acting on what we’ve learned, becoming a Nonprofit Employer of Choice has been a very positive experience.”


To put their people practices to the test, UNICEF Canada has participated in the Nonprofit Employer of Choice™ (NEOC) evaluation program for the last two years. This included an anonymous online employee survey done by NEOC, which UNICEF Canada realized gathered more and higher quality responses than the in-house surveys they did in the past.

“The NEOC process helped us to better understand how we compare to other organizations in the sector. We also gained valuable insights from staff about what we were doing well, and which areas we need to improve, which we’ve set as goals in our 4-year strategic plan,” says Emily Tiberghien, Director of People and Organizational Development.



2024 registration is now open

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