IONS Reimagining Work Award

2024 Reimagining Work Award Winner – The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq 

The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq has been named the winner of the inaugural Impact Organizations of Nova Scotia (IONS) Reimagining Work Award. This award will be presented at IONS Exchange, a gathering for nonprofits taking place from May 12-14 in Membertou First Nation. 

The Reimagining Work Award recognizes Nova Scotia’s community impact organizations for their efforts in promoting justice and equity in their workplace. The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq has been praised as an organization that “Leads Differently” by implementing initiatives that not only encourage a work and life balance, but also places importance on traditional Indigenous culture. 

Among the Confederacy’s notable initiatives are four-day work weeks, flexible remote work policies, cultural event participation, and the appointment of an Elder in Residence. The Confederacy’s actions in response to The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action further highlights its commitment to justice and equity. 

“We are thrilled to recognize The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq for their extraordinary efforts to foster a workplace that embodies justice, equity, and human-centric values,” said Clary Chambers, Engagement Lead at IONS. “Their innovative work sets a new standard for what a supportive and inclusive workplace can be. The award is proof of their commitment to not only their work, but also their people”. 

The award forms part of Impact Organizations of Nova Scotia’s broader goal of uplifting those making a positive community impact and fostering workplace inclusivity. 

“Receiving the Reimagining Work Award is an immense honor,” exclaimed Angeline Gillis, Executive Director of The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq. “It speaks volumes to the dedication of our team in championing Indigenous principles and advancing justice and equality. This acknowledgment fuels our passion to persist in this vital mission.” 

Summer Street Industries, celebrated for its unique leadership style that prioritizes diverse abilities in decision making, has been named the runner-up.   

Learn more about the work of The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq below.

About the Award

*Nominations for the 2024 award are now closed, stay tuned for the announcement of the winner at Exchange!*

The IONS Reimagining Work Award is a new award that recognizes an impact organization in Nova Scotia that demonstrates exceptional practices for justice and equity in their workplace. 

Impact organizations (nonprofits and charities) provide critical services and solutions for our most pressing social and environmental challenges and the communities affected by them. The work never stops. We know that the Community Impact Sector is stretched – a lack of resources, constant undervaluing – leads to strain on staff and volunteers. This can lead to workplaces where people get burnt out and leave their jobs – and sometimes the Community Impact Sector altogether. This cycle harms our ability to meet our community-based missions that require a strong workforce and leadership to address. 

The idea of what makes a “welcoming workplace” is evolving.  As we enter an era of society that is marked by the opportunity for transformation, we are recognizing the need for the modern workplace to be supportive of our humanity. The workplace is a place where we can fulfill purpose, realize our potential, and gain support for a balanced and healthy life. Our workplaces can be aligned with practices that reverse systemic oppression and uplift inclusive, inspiring ways of being together that enable us to address the great challenges of our time. This can only happen when people in organizations design workplaces in a way that serves the people who work there.  

We also know that impact organizations are some of the most nimble and versatile, solving complex problems, doing more with less, and understanding and meeting needs at the root of social challenges. People in our sector are particularly attuned to what it means to act in ways that embody justice and equity. Impact organizations are leaders for a better way of doing things for people and planet – and sometimes that starts with us and how we work together. 

We are looking for leading impact organizations in Nova Scotia that are doing things differently in their workplaces. We want to hear about your unique leadership structures, your practices that enable staff wellness, and your effective policies that bring out the best in your people. 

We want to hear how you address racism and ableism, bring in a decolonizing lens, and consider gender equality in your workplace culture. We want to hear all the ways you’re promoting justice and equity with your people! And we want to share it widely as an inspiring example of how our sector is changing society at all levels.  

Finally, we want to support your organization’s journey. The selected organization will receive a prize of free services that are meant to strengthen your organizational design – this includes 6 person-hours of pro-bono consulting with the Lumiere Consulting Team – Juniper Glass (she/elle) and Tania Cheng (she/they); as well as 2 enrolments in the self-paced “Generative Conflict” course by Big Waves, plus 2 hours of leadership coaching with Brook Thorndycraft (she/they), and a 2-hour “Emotional Intelligence in Non-Profit Leadership” training with NewGround Leadership. The selected organization will also have access to up to 4 tickets and financially supported participation for the IONS Exchange Gathering happening in Membertou, Nova Scotia in May 2024. This award comes with the opportunity to be highlighted in IONS communications and in the news media. 

Application Process


    • Registered nonprofit organization  
    • Located in Nova Scotia 
    • Community impact-oriented mission 
    • Paid staff and/or volunteers carry out work 


The primary component of the application is two maximum-500-word stories or explanations of how the organization is “Reimagining Work,” using the Principles and Filters of Accountability below. 


Organizations must speak to at least two of the below principles to be considered for selection: 

Human Centered: Valuing people through policy and practice. Using feedback to adapt processes and procedures 

Practicing different ways of being and working: Experimenting and innovating with workplace structures. Inspiring change in people at individual and group levels.

Leading differently: Collaborative or shared leadership models. Challenging conceptions of hierarchy.

Justice and Equity: Other demonstrated practices that embody the principles of justice and equity. 


To evaluate the applications, we will be using IONS’ “Four Filters of Accountability” to judge the submissions. Applications may touch on these themes in order to demonstrate how the organization is “Reimagining Work.” 


“We create spaces and opportunities to connect that intentionally build trust, alignment and mutual care.” 

Consider how workplace design and the implementation of justice and equity principles serve the people who work there as full human beings. This could be through creative ways of working, or additional ways to care for or connect with people. Are trusting relationships supported and encouraged to grow stronger? 


“We make sure that information, opportunities, and impact flows in both directions.” 

Consider how the organization is co-creating a workplace where the people who work there can fulfill purpose and realize potential. Are there examples of staff living healthy lives? Feedback and reciprocal communication opportunities for staff and leadership? How is energy acknowledged as given and received in return?  


“We seek to deepen our understanding of what people need and act on it with our networks.” 

How does the organization “listen” and change a course of action in response to what was heard? Are there examples of reversing systemic oppression, and ways they are creating inspiring ways of being together? 


“We look inward and outward to spark new ideas for change that meets what we need now, and what we need to create a just future.” 

Consider how this organization is transforming their work place to be more equitable and inclusive. Is the organization using innovative and novel solutions to challenge the root of the social challenges they are facing? Examples could include the transformation and creation of unique leadership structures, practices that enable staff wellness, or equitable policies that bring out the best in their staff.

IONS Reimagining Work Award

Find a PDF version of this webpage here.