Being responsible for the protection of nearly $1.7 billion in assets would make some flinch, but Valerie Watt relishes the task. Watt is a loss prevention investigator for Capital City Savings, the largest credit union in Alberta, and ensuring the security of its 134,000 members’ investments is what inspires her through hours of tedious detective work. Over her 20-year career, that dedication has helped bring dozens of cheque forgers and welfare frauds to reckoning.
For her dynamic leadership, team-building enterprise and her community works initiatives, Watt recently won the Quality of Working Life Award in Alberta Venture’s 2002 E-Awards, a unique program that recognizes employees — not just companies — for their effort and enthusiasm and energy.
Her efforts to build a close team have not gone unnoticed by co-workers. “She’s a shining example for the rest of us,” says Michael Dickinson, spokesman for Capital City Savings. “There’s little glory in loss prevention. The job takes hard work and tremendous leadership ability.”
Watt’s eagerness and vigor keeps the team tight. “Her enthusiasm is contagious,” says Dickinson. “Val is not only a thorough professional, but she makes it a fun place for everyone to work. She goes way above and beyond what’s expected, and that takes a very special, very self-motivated individual.”
Watt clearly recognizes the significance of teamwork. “Without a tight team, without everyone pulling together and focused on one goal, little can be achieved,” she says. “We’re a relatively small company, so everyone has a key part to play. It takes passion, commitment, a striving for excellence in each endeavor and pride in what we do to achieve success. If these qualities permeate the team you build, consider it a good job well done.”
Community involvement is very important to Watt. She spearheads numerous Capital City Savings sponsored events, including the Children’s Health Foundation and the Keep Kids Kozy campaign, which collects, repairs and delivers coats for underprivileged children. “She gets everyone pumped for these campaigns,” smiles Dickinson. “Her enthusiasm is contagious.”
Watt was also recently named the Bill Oborn Employee of the Month, an honor bestowed upon Capital City Savings staffers of outstanding character, with particular emphasis on integrity in the workplace and personal qualities. “It’s the highest award we can bestow on an employee,” explains Dickinson. “It affirms a belief that individuals of strong character are the cornerstone of a healthy organization.” Sounds like a winner to us.
Read about other Winners — promising Canadian businesses or business people.
© 2003 Jack Kohane