Persephone Brewing Co. and its CEO, Brian Smith, are being recognized today with a CLBC Widening Our World (WOW) award for creating employment and inclusion opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Persephone Brewing Co. operates an 11-acre farm and craft micro-brewery; its small team is passionate and committed to “creating beer built through local agriculture, community connectedness, and partnerships.”
Glen McClughan, executive director of the CLBC service provider, Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living (SCACL), nominated Persephone for partnering with them over the last four years on Persephone Farms Ltd., where staff (including people served by SCACL) make food from ingredients grown on the farm, such as eggs and hops, and work alongside Persephone Brewing staff and volunteers to maintain and operate the farm.
CLBC received 40 nominations for its eighth annual awards; the winners were chosen by an evaluation committee of community members, CLBC staff and individuals served by CLBC. In March, three other WOW Awards will be presented to deserving recipients:
- Sooke – Astrid Koenig for her tireless efforts to ensure self advocates have opportunities for employment, education and community connection
- Kamloops – Ronnie Bouvier for creating first time employment for young adults while raising public awareness of the contributions they can make to their communities
- Smithers – Chris Morsund, Chatters Pizzeria and Bistro, for his 15 year commitment to hiring inclusively and setting an example for other small businesses to follow
Since 2009, CLBC has presented WOW awards to recognize British Columbians who are helping to build community inclusion for the people CLBC serves. The 2016 nomination process invited British Columbians to nominate someone they think is creating opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to lead full lives, have rich relationships, choices in how they live, and employment opportunities.
Nominations of inclusion champions were submitted throughout Community Living Month in October 2016. This year’s awards requested each nomination include a photo reflecting the nominee’s inclusion efforts. To see the photos submitted, or for more information about the WOW Awards visit www.communitylivingbc.ca/wow
Seonag Macrae, CLBC CEO
“Congratulations to Brian Smith and the Persephone Brewing Company staff for their clear commitment to helping create welcoming communities that provide many opportunities for everyone. Inclusion is a collaborative effort and I thank Persephone Brewing and all our other winners and nominees for the work they do each and every day to help the people CLBC serves be recognized for their abilities, their strengths and their contributions.”
Glen McClughan, Executive Director, Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living, Nominator
“Persephone CEO Brian Smith has been a lifelong advocate for people with developmental disabilities believing that embracing them as full citizens will literally “save the world”. With his encouragement, my organization has become a shareholder in Persephone, and working together we have been able to create a number of jobs for our clientele on the farm and in the brewery. His and his team’s actions and dedication to inclusion are unprecedented and inspiring.”
Brian Smith, CEO and Founder, Persephone Brewing Co., WOW Award Winner
“It’s an honour to be recognized for our work on inclusion. However, it’s a much greater honour to be working alongside our people at Persephone. All of them, whether living with disabilities or not, have embraced inclusion as integral to our commitment to using our business as a force for good. By being a Certified B Corporation we are saying that we are dedicated to improving the lives of our people, our community and the environment upon which we all depend. Our friends, allies and employees from SCACL enrich our business model so much so that I would say we couldn’t do it without them.”
Community Living BC