Belong

I am me. I Belong.

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at UFA is not a campaign or an initiative. In fact, it is ingrained in who we are as a co-operative. Being who we are includes the unshakable belief that coming together for the benefit of others is only possible by treating everyone with respect, understanding, dignity, and appreciation. Those are the founding principles for how we started, and they remain central to who we are today. We cannot tell anyone how they should feel. But we do know that creating a culture that inspires everyone to be their authentic selves, without compromise, can inspire that powerful feeling of belonging. Belonging cannot be forced. But if the conditions are right, it cannot be denied.

At our core, celebrating the diversity of people represents our strength. We believe that there is no contradiction in having a sense of belonging and having a strong sense of self. From our valued members and customers to our inspiring team, we are certain that what makes us all unique is what really bonds us.

So, we are honoured to celebrate those who say with pride, “I am me. I belong.”

DIVERSITY

We are all diverse. We are all unique. Our diversity may come from personal, physical, cultural, or experiential differences. Those differences make us who we are. Having such varied backgrounds and character is exactly what should make each of us appreciated because of the one-of-a-kind perspective we can bring to a culture. Diversity truly makes for greater value.

INCLUSION

Inclusion comes from encouraging a culture that welcomes individuals from all walks of life and it unites us. We are a mosaic of differences brought together with recognition, regard, and reverence. Those are the essential ingredients for a culture of harmony. We celebrate inclusivity because we know that harmony cannot exist without it.

BELONGING

Belonging gives us a genuine feeling of contentment and comfort from being part of a group. The feeling that we speak of can only come from an inviting culture where you are more than accepted, you are valued, included, and celebrated. Belonging is one of humanity’s most basic emotional needs. When you feel a true sense that you belong, you don’t feel stripped of your identity but prized for who you are.

While we hold ourselves accountable to ensure a culture of belonging, the words of our team members are the strongest expression of a feeling that we believe is ingrained in who we are. We feel privileged to share the stories of some of the people who make that culture come to life.

As a first-generation Canadian of Vietnamese descent, Kenny embraces the Canadian culture while never forgetting his roots. His pride in his Buddhist background, his appreciation for the sacrifices that his parents made coming to a new country, and his dedication to tradition have shaped his character. His individuality is as strong as his desire to be part of a bigger story.

  • Read more to learn about Kenny’s personal journey and what he’s passionate about.

    Growing up an only child comes with its unique challenges, growing up an only child to Asian parents comes with a whole other set of challenges. I say that with a smile, only because my Asian friends know exactly what I mean.

    My dad immigrated from Vietnam via boat to refugee camp and came to Canada in 1980 to escape the political landscape and my mom immigrated in 1988. They have spent their entire life working tirelessly to give me every opportunity for success. To say they put me before everything else, would be an understatement. And so, I have always felt an obligation to achieve excellence in everything I do. Whether it be school, sports or work, failure is not an option. On one hand, it can be a strong motivator and on the other, enormous pressure. My parents have always supported whatever I wanted to do with my life and my desire to succeed has served me well.

    I am proud of my Vietnamese culture. The food, the customs and the language are all very special to me.

    Speaking of language, often I am the voice for my parents who don’t speak fluent English, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on the phone with service providers trying to translate and mediate the latest issue at home.

    And home for me is wherever my parents are. Family is very strong in Vietnamese culture and valued over individualism. It is not uncommon to see three to four generations of a family living together in the same house. Caring for elders is important in our culture and I choose to be with my parents to care for them, and it’s an honour to be able to do so.

    I practice Buddhism and believe wholeheartedly in Karma. I wear a jade Buddha around my neck to keep me grounded, a symbol of my faith, and I’ve worn one since I was just a baby. I seldom take it off. It’s my good luck charm and a reminder to do good and be good.

    When I’m not with family, you can find me trying new restaurants in the city, working out at the gym, jamming out to Taylor Swift, or cheering on my favourite sports teams. I’m a die-hard Calgary Flames and San Francisco 49ers fan and this year I’m fulfilling a bucket-list item by attending a 49ers game in person!

    Whether it be a cultural group, a fan base or your workplace, belonging to a community feels good.

    My name is Kenny Huynh. I am Vietnamese. I am Buddhist. I’m a sports fan. I am me.

There are some stories that touch us deeply because it shows us how a brilliant human spirit can overcome even the most tragic of circumstances. Maja’s story reminds us that character, resilience, and sheer determination can take us to the highest levels from the depths of despair. Hers is a unique story that will inspire anyone who reads it.

  • Read more about Maja and her inspirational path to a rewarding life in a new country.

    I’ve been told that my story would make for a good book. And maybe it is the stuff of a dramatic tale, but it’s all true and it has made me who I am today.

    I grew up during the Yugoslav wars and learned early to live in fear and to not take freedom for granted. I was living in Vukovar, Croatia with my family - my father, mother and older brother. My father was an artist and a boxer, and my mother worked in a well-known Yugoslavian shoe factory.

    In 1991 the war started, and we had to flee in a row boat across Danube to Serbia. All the men had to go to the war, and so did my father. Unfortunately, on the last day of war he was killed at 33 years old. This day is now celebrated as Independence Day in Croatia, however to me it represents the day when our life has changed forever.

    We were refugees with no home, food or sense of safety. At seven years old, I was sponsored through World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Program. My sponsor’s support meant I had access to food, clothing, education and shelter. For the next seven years, we relied on several charitable organizations, all the while having to flee because of continued unrest and war. Growing up, I always felt like I was in the middle of crisis. But I learned how to be a survivor.

    My mother knew that she couldn’t provide much for us where we were living at the time, so she did everything to get us out and give us better future. When I was 15 years old, we came to Canada. I remember like it was yesterday, one of the planes went to Kitchener, Ontario, and the other was bound for Winnipeg. So as the saying goes, I was “going to Winnipeg!”

    On December 14, 1999, I arrived to a snowy, unfamiliar land, for a new life.

    Starting grade nine in Canada was scary, I didn’t speak English and didn’t fit in. I didn’t feel like I belonged. I had to learn the language, the culture, and the traditions. Most of all, I had to learn how to live peacefully, in an environment without fear of something happening.

    Fast forward many years to 2008 when I came to UFA on what started as a contract position but would turn into a long career in many different roles. I’ve felt like UFA was a big family, which was comforting since most of my family were still in Serbia. I know how important it is to feel a sense of belonging and I have almost always felt welcome at UFA, and never like an outsider, even though most people don’t know my story.

    Today, I am happily married to Jean-Paul, an Irishman from Quebec. I have two boys, Marko who is 13 years old, and Alexander who is 5. I’m a Procurement Coordinator at UFA and I look forward to visiting my home country now that the pandemic is over.

    Looking back on my life, I guess I do have a unique story and I’m happy to share it. I’m proud of where I come from and grateful for everything I’ve been through. I am a wife and mother. I am a war survivor. I am me. I belong.

A proud, dedicated family man, Gurvinder has faced the challenges of coming to Canada and has used his experiences and tenacity to thrive. While he initially never anticipated coming to Canada, he has embraced his new country with open arms while maintaining strong links to his Indian culture. His is a true story of triumph, passion and following his heart.

  • Read more to learn about Gurvinder, his background and his outlook on life filled with hope.

Message from Executive Sponsor

Our members and customers represent diversity in many forms. We serve them better with a diverse and inclusive team and thought process. Our diverse perspectives help us push each other to think bigger and differently, about the products and services we offer, how those offerings look and the environment we create. We want our teams, and the communities we operate in, to embrace that we are all human, we are all different, we are all equal and we can all commit to take action to support underrepresented groups and each other. Together, we can create a culture of belonging.

“At UFA we care about the lives of our employees, members, customers, elected officials and partners. This includes their whole selves and what makes them unique. We strive to create an inclusive environment that welcomes employees from diverse populations and backgrounds, where everyone can do their best work. In our world of agriculture, it takes time for growth, this is our seed to grow inclusion and belonging at UFA.”

Lisa Kissick, Executive Sponsor
Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at UFA

Here to help you grow.

Every day, the amazing people who work at UFA inspire us to rise to challenges, keep a positive outlook, help others succeed, and reach beyond what we think is possible. We hope that if you are inspired by their stories and you want to be part of a culture embraced by these amazing people that you too might consider choosing us as an employer of choice. We’d be honoured to show you that you too, could belong at UFA.

If you are interested, please click below to find out more about the career choices we can offer to help you achieve and succeed.

UFA CareersUFA LinkedIn

Belong

Current store:

UFA