This week we’re extending our Change Maker series to feature Scott Leonard, Director of Sales, for his efforts in leading the Ricoh Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) group towards driving awareness and engagement with Indigenous communities across Canada.
Strengthening Client Relationships Scott is no stranger to supporting Ricoh clients with a worthy cause. Seven years ago, he went beyond the traditional vendor-supplier relationship with the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) by volunteering and donating blood.
In exploring how he could continue to give back both to his client and the community at large, Scott continued to act as an advocate for the CBS. “At Ricoh we’re really focused on supporting our clients. It’s a great opportunity to share our corporate vision and demonstrate that we live by the value of the Ricoh 3 loves.”
He worked closely with his peers at Ricoh to roll out a national program across Ricoh Canada that saw an annual blood donation target and a recruitment campaign for new donors. With twenty-seven blood donations to date, his support for the community and his relationship with CBS continues to this day.
Additionally, for the past four years Scott has participated in the Run for Women’s Health, in supporting another Ricoh client. The 5km run/walk raises money for women’s mental health services at the Royal Ottawa Hospital and like CBS, became a cause that has been implemented all of Ricoh Canada.
Leading awareness and change for Indigenous communities
Scott initially joined the Ricoh PAR group as part of its involvement with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Businesses (CCAB). At the time, the group’s mission aligned with a Federal government RFP that Scott was working on that included an Indigenous engagement component.
Scott became familiar and immersed with the PAR group while working towards Phases I and II of the PAR certification and began noticing a tremendous gap between mainstream Canadian and Indigenous culture and communities.
Eventually Scott inherited leadership of the PAR group and is now working towards achieving Phase III of the program. Scott began by opening the PAR group to all Ricoh employees, “Every single one of our group members have put up their hand and stepped up.”
Comprised of 16 members, the Ricoh PAR group continues to grow through the work that they do both within Ricoh and the Indigenous groups they partner with. As they work towards Phase III certification, their initiatives have become more defined to meet unique criteria that promote Indigenous communities, culture, and engagement.
The group is divided into seven working groups that Scott credits for the team’s success. “It really and truly is a group effort – all I’m doing is really is coordinating it, giving it structure and making sure we’re moving towards the completion of our criteria.”
Striving for progress
Driven by the PAR four pillars for change of leadership actions, employment, business development and community relationships, Scott acknowledges that it is truly the efforts of individuals within the group that have contributed to its success.
Scott is most proud of the implementation of a formalized communications plan supported by a company-wide training program – all aligned to the PAR criteria with the purpose of reaching employees at all levels across Ricoh. The results of their activities are positive with many employees self-identifying as being of Indigenous descent when completing employee surveys (when previously they would not). This shift in employee awareness represents an emerging pride in Indigenous heritage and culture.
Scott recognizes that Ricoh’s message of imagine.change continues to guide every aspect of the PAR group. “Ultimately that’s how we’re looking to change how we engage with Indigenous communities and our relationship with them. It is the energy of the entire PAR team that drives me to do well and succeed in supporting these causes.”
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