Hello everyone. First and foremost, I would like to thank each of you for joining us today for this most exciting time in the history of our organization. Today is a day to celebrate our new identity, which includes a new name, new logo and new website. Coming together here in Paris and sharing this exciting news live with stakeholders in Sudbury, Kingston, London, St. Catharines and Toronto is a first for us. That’s important to note, because coming together as a community demonstrates our commitment to the people in our services, our employees, our stakeholders and our friends. That never changes.
Since the incorporation of our organization nearly three decade ago our journey has been one that has involved growth, change, reflection, collaboration and partnerships. We are an organization that is committed to the people we serve and this is evident by the dedication of our employees, the professionalism of our board of directors and the quality of our services.
I have had the privilege to be a part of this organization for many years. One of the observations I have made over the years is that change in this organization has always been driven by a response to a need. When people who are deafblind required adult services, we became a provider of Intervenor Services. When our employees required Intervenor training, we developed a training department, curriculum and courses with the highest standards. When the children’s services program was no longer a viable program, we redeveloped it again to provide vital supports to families and their young ones. When our organization needed a new home so that we could expand our training and services, we built this wonderful Resource Centre. And last but not least, when the people in our services required affordable, accessible and safe housing, we built an apartment complex.
Yes, we have successfully managed change many times through the nearly three decades that this organization has existed. But I can tell you another thing about change – people fear it. It’s natural, we fear change because we can’t anticipate the outcome. We hear stories, rumours, misinformation, and it creates uncertainty.
However, another thing about change – staying put can be riskier than changing. You risk being left behind if you don’t continue to grow.
Change and growth in any organization, including ours, is essential for it to sustain and thrive.
Maybe the best way to look at the change our organization is adopting today, is to think about moving into a new house or apartment. Sure things might look a bit different, but you’re still the same family. Really, it’s about what is inside the walls that counts; it’s the relationships, not the bricks and mortar.
It’s worth repeating, our organization remains committed to the individuals in our services who are deafblind and the families we serve. It is and always will be the core of what we do. Please rest assured that the services you receive will not change and our organization will continue to maintain the values and the high standard of service that we pride ourselves on. I do want to clarify -- you do not need to be a member of any organization in order to access our services.
The new name that has been chosen for our organization reflects the input and influence from many of our stakeholders. Last spring, we sent out surveys for feedback and we held an “uncover your greatness” session. It was through this feedback that our partner, Muse Marketing Group, came up with the idea for our new name.
The name reflects an openness to explore unknown opportunities and to align with the strategic direction of our organization. The key strategic areas over the next three years are building awareness, creating satellite locations and expansion of services. What does this mean for the future of our organization? What I do know is that we remain committed to providing top quality Intervenor Services to people who are deafblind.
Our new name will allow us to expand our horizons, explore new opportunities and carefully consider our future. We can’t predict every step along the way, but our organization has a great deal of talent, expertise and is positioned well to look at new opportunities. For example, this could include things such as supporting the communication needs of people living with dementia, or the expansion of our training courses and consultation service. Perhaps it could be providing accessible housing or providing supports to people with a variety of sensory needs. We can’t predict the future, but what I do know for sure is that if organizations are not open to new opportunities and change, they will not sustain.
The launch of a new name has brought forward questions from our stakeholders. The single most asked question that I have received to date is: “How is this going to affect the services for my loved one?” The answer is that it will not. The level of support that the people in our services receive will remain the same. Changing our name will not result in changes to your services.
Our employees have asked questions with regard to the name change and their employment. No, we are not changing our name because we have a union bargaining on behalf of the intervenors. Our identity and branding redesign has been in the works long before the union. Furthermore, our employees do not have to fear about losing their jobs. We have always been our own incorporated organization and as such we remain a transfer payment agency with the Ministry of Children, Community Social Services. Changing our name will not affect our funding. All funding we receive will remain with our organization. We have an excellent relationship and reputation with our ministry funders and this coupled with the ministry’s agenda to not expand the number of transfer payment agencies or service providers in the province supports the position that our employees do not need not to worry about our funding or our services going elsewhere.
Our name change and our rebranding is exciting, but the most significant part in all of this is that we are the same organization with the same values, commitment to services, transparency, integrity and passion for supporting people who are deafblind.
Our new name will not in any way diminish the importance of our roots or the footprint that our founding members have left on our organization. Their legacy is a thread woven throughout our organization and reminds us why we are all here, and for that we are all eternally grateful. It is through the work they did laying the foundation in the early days that we are the organization we are today.
As we move forward on our journey with our new name please know that the legacy of our founders will continue to travel with us.
I know that you have all been waiting patiently to hear our new name! I am almost done!
Before I announce the name, I would like to extend my thanks to the employees, parents, consumers, friends of the organization and the board members that provided their input by completing the surveys or attending the uncover your greatness session. I would also like to extend my thanks to Muse Marketing Group for the work they have done for us, and last but not least to Brian Shypula and Sam Gaspar for their tireless work on this project.
So without further ado, WE ARE SENSITY! Deafblind and Sensory Support Network of Canada.
I am now excited to show you a video from Muse!
CEO, Sensity Deafblind and Sensory Support Network of Canada