Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 19, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society / STARS was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
- STARS supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for up to 6 weeks) and offers flexible working arrangements to help them transition to their new roles as parents
- STARS celebrates exceptional performance and achievement through a number of initiatives, including dedicated leadership awards, peer-to-peer recognition and the Spirit of STARS Award
- Employees working at STARS' head office can take advantage of free access to an onsite fitness facility, which includes a variety of exercise equipment and boot camp training
Medical rescues are the inspiring mission at STARS
In her first week on the job at Shock Trauma Air Rescue Services (STARS), an impromptu encounter with a stranger brought home to Nicole Segstro that she belonged to a storied team that dramatically - and routinely - saves lives. "I was wearing a red STARS T-shirt and filling up with gas when a man approached me," Segstro says. "He just wanted to thank me for saving his brother's life."
Segstro is manager of industry client services for STARS, a non-profit founded in Alberta in 1985 whose striking red helicopters provide emergency medical care and transport throughout Western Canada. Noting she is neither a health-care provider nor ever been in a helicopter, let alone flown one, Segstro says that chance interaction made her feel part of an organization where "we are all members of the crew and that everyone plays a vital part in our rescue missions."
That inclusive message is an essential STARS value. Every Tuesday, a video conference links staff in STARS' three Alberta locations with its two in Saskatchewan and one in Manitoba. "Everyone has an opportunity to speak at these meetings," says president and CEO Andrea Robertson. "And we make it pretty clear that everyone at STARS contributes to saving lives, from the person who answers the emergency phone line to the person who orders helicopter spare parts."
Clearly, employees relish their roles. In a recent employee survey, 95 per cent said they were "proud" to tell others they work for STARS. "We have a compelling mission that is easy to embrace," Robertson says.
Segstro agrees. "Every day, I know why I go to work," she says. "The culture of open and frequent communication ensures that we all feel that we belong."
After being nominated by her Calgary peers, Segstro went on a company-sponsored strategic leadership course at the Banff Centre. "It shows how STARS values its people," she says. "As a member of the STARS crew, you get an opportunity to learn and grow."
The emphasis on employee contribution and well-being is reflected in continuous training and learning opportunities, especially in emergency health care and flying in challenging conditions, including nighttime hours. "We encounter people on the worst day of their lives, and we want to make sure the care they receive is nothing short of extraordinary," Robertson says.
Adds Segstro: "We have a great reputation, but we are always striving to do better so we can do better for those we serve."