- Cam Buchan
- May 5, 2020
Ivey students, faculty and alumni are finding innovative ways to help their communities and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you, or a student, faculty member or alum you know, is making a difference in some way, please tell us. We’d love to share their stories.
Media stories about COVID-19 and its impact on society and the economy can get overwhelming very quickly.
To help keep spirits up, XYZ Storage turned to children’s art to energize their employees, and motivate the community, as the Toronto-based storage facility does its part to battle COVID-19 and bring much-needed Personal Protective Equipment to the frontlines.
“We had an art competition among employees’ children, nieces, nephews and friends, and we had a huge number of submissions,” said Director of Operations and Partner Leslie Kellen, EMBA ’20. “We posted them up on the walls of our facilities, and the people who are coming in with PPE drop-offs are seeing them. It has re-energized our employees and given them something else to focus on.
“Helping out like this is a way to focus the attention and energy of employees into something positive.”
John Donald, MBA ’63
Along with other Toronto-area organizations, Kellen, along with partners John Donald, MBA ’63, and Chris Donald, MBA ’93, connected in early March with ConquerCOVID.ca, a grassroots volunteer-driven organization that facilitates access to priority products essential for the health-care community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the family-style organization, that “positive” means using its Toronto-area facilities and trucks in drives on Saturdays and throughout the week for people and organizations donating supplies, such as gloves, protective gear and hand sanitizer.
And even rain ponchos.
Recently, Canadian Tire reached out to ConquerCOVID.c to ask if rain ponchos could serve as protective clothing in lieu of gowns. The health-care professionals said, ‘Yes,” and XYZ Storage helped with taking delivery and storage of the ponchos.
The ConquerCOVID-19 movement has also received some star power in support of its efforts.
Canadian hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser and actor Ryan Reynolds have propped the movement on their Twitter accounts.
“My partners and I sit on different boards, and through the Ivey network, we had feelers out there for ways to help in the community,” Kellen said. “What we can do is help these local organizations and grassroots movements – we have some capital, some brain power, we have resources, and most importantly, we have employees at our facilities who can grab hold of these initiatives and really support them. This is just a good way to help the community.”
After hundreds of deliveries to groups and organizations, XYZ Storage continues to look for ways to help, said Kellen.
“If there is an organization or people who need help, let us know. Even if we can’t help directly, we have long fingers, and we can connect people. We just want to help in any way we can.”