Since the Alberta Investment Management Corp. introduced an employee networking platform in the fall of 2020, nearly 500 connections have been made, more than 95 per cent of participants feel more connected to the organization’s people and culture and 88 per cent consider the platform to be a valuable addition to their professional network.

The Ten Thousand Coffees program pairs up employees based on interests and encourages them to connect with one another. It was born out of the need to ensure employees continue to connect with one another while working remotely, according to a press release.

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“It’s always interesting to hear someone’s perspective and to understand their role and what they do,” said Ashton Rudanec, the AIMCo’s manager of corporate services who’s participating in the program and connected with Judy Hy, a senior business analyst on the business technology team.

When the pair met, Rudanec was just a few weeks into her first maternity leave, eager to stay close to the AIMCo community and culture. Hy had returned to work after her maternity leave the previous spring. “We immediately bonded on parenting, sharing our experiences on being a new parent,” said Hy. “Ashton made me realize, ‘You know what, I’m not alone on this.’”

For Jill Urbanoski, chief of staff at the AIMCo who headed up its employee engagement initiatives when the program was launched, that level of connection is exactly what she envisioned. “There are dozens of other stories through the company just like this. Sometimes I notice colleagues have these great ties with one another and they’re not folks with work that would normally intersect. I’m always thrilled when I find out they were Ten Thousand Coffees connections.”

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