Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 6, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Royal Ontario Museum / ROM was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- Royal Ontario Museum helps employees plan securely for the future with generous contributions to a defined benefit pension plan and health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit and 50% premium coverage)
- Royal Ontario Museum provides maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 95% of salary for up to 17 weeks) and offers a full range of alternative working arrangements to help balance personal and professional commitments
- Along with 3 weeks of starting vacation allowance, Royal Ontario Museum employees receive up to 5 paid personal days off, which can be scheduled as needed
At the ROM, awesome is a big part of the job
Ever since Katlyn Olo's first visit to the Royal Ontario Museum as a student in Toronto, she knew there was nowhere else that she'd rather work.
Graduating in 2011 with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Olo watched most of her classmates pursue careers related to their course work. But Olo had studied cultural anthropology as her minor subject. "I never wanted to go into IT or banking or insurance," she says. "I wanted to work at the ROM."
After three years with another employer, and more than 10 years after her first visit, Olo landed a job at the ROM.
Now a Marketing Coordinator, Olo works with museum staff, including public relations personnel, curators, designers, planners and membership coordinators, to plan, develop and promote exhibitions. "We all work together for each campaign," Olo says, "from planning right up to execution. For me, the real jewel of the ROM is the people who work here."
As one of more than 350 full-time staff members, Olo also participates in organizing events for the ROM's social committee, even raising money by running in a sponsored 5K event. "It was hard," she says, "but it was worth it."
The passion that employees like Olo pour into their work helped convince Josh Basseches to assume his current role in 2016 as the ROM's Director and CEO.
With decades of experience in the U.S. as a museum executive, Basseches appreciated the ROM's global reputation as a dynamic institution.
"People go to work for institutions like the ROM because they care about its mission," he says. "We're known as one of the leading museums in the world and one of the few that deals with art, culture and natural history. I leapt at the chance to take this job."
While an opportunity to work at a cultural institution like the ROM attracts as many as 1,200 applicants for a single job posting, Basseches says the institution offers advantages that distinguish it from more conventional employers, as well.
Ongoing training and professional development encourage staff to pursue opportunities to advance their careers. Monthly staff breakfasts and town-hall events keep employees informed about all aspects of the organization.
In partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, the ROM has undertaken an institution-wide mental health and wellbeing initiative, while staff members participate in a diversity and inclusion committee along with members of the community to advise on matters of inclusion, equity and access across public-facing and internal projects.
The institution also offers a defined-benefit pension package, as well as an array of generous awards and grants to recognize staff contributions and foster further learning and development.
Supported by one of these grants, Olo recently enrolled in an MBA program at Queen's University. "Everyone here knows how demanding the program is," she says. "They know I'll need to take time for my studies, but they're all supportive."
For employees of the ROM, however, the institution itself offers the biggest reward. "Whether you work here in finance, accounting, management or curating, you make a difference in people's lives," says Basseches.
Olo experiences this difference almost every day. "I can walk out of my office and see kids in front of an exhibit with their mouths open," she says. "It reminds me of when I grew up in Toronto and went to the museum as a kid. I don't think you can grow up in this city and not go to the ROM."