Great People   |   Joan Craig Bursary

Connections Magazine

Joan Craig Bursary Issue

In this issue:
Joan Craig Bursary: A Legacy of Inspiration
Joan Craig Bursary Story: Alex Gibson
Joan Craig Bursary Story: Daniela Cavero
Joan Craig Bursary Story: Mary Jane (MJ) Gonz...
Great People Grow Here: Mandy Wingert

Joan Craig Bursary: A Legacy of Inspiration

September 7, 2023

Great People Grow Here: Mandy Wingert

Joan’s generosity has led her to offer $2,000 bursaries to four recipients this year.

Just in its first inaugural year, the Joan Craig Bursary has already made a significant impact on the lives of the Great People at Parkland at the Gardens.

What makes this bursary truly special is that it has only one requirement: a genuine desire to better one’s life and achieve their life aspirations. Joan is deeply inspired by the sacrifices that each employee at Parkland has made to improve themselves and fulfill their life’s purpose. 

The founder of Autism Nova Scotia, Joan Craig, is an inspiring figure who has dedicated her life to helping families facing the challenges of raising children with autism – a challenge Joan identifies with personally. Joan chose to turn her personal experiences into a driving force for positive change.

“It’s been policy of mine that I want to help the Parkland staff further their education and achieve their dreams. It’s a habit,” said Joan about her motivation for introducing this bursary to PATG. 
Joan is quick to share her appreciation for the support and kindness she’s received at Parkland at the Gardens, her home, for the past 10 years.  

“I can’t say enough about Parkland and Jason Shannon. They encourage people here to advance. And I think Jodi has done a wonderful job in her time here. Shannex sees the person, and what is best for their well-being, and I respect that.” 

Through her bursary, Joan hopes to ignite a ripple effect of generosity in Parkland communities, providing much-needed support for those who selflessly care for our valued residents. 

Jodi Bartlett sits with a resident and Shannex COO, Catherine MacPherson during the 10th anniversary of Parkland at the Gardens in 2023.

Meet Jodi

Jodi Barlett, the visionary General Manager at Parkland at the Gardens, brought Joan’s dream to reality.  

With a long-standing connection to the Craig family, working alongside Joan’s late husband, Jack Craig, at the Halifax Club, Jodi embodies the spirit of uplifting others, just as Jack did. “He helped me be a good manager. He lifted people up, and that’s what you need,” said Jodi. 

Joan is grateful for Jodi’s role in the creation of the bursary program. “Part of this project is appreciation. And I appreciate Jodi,” said Joan. 

Meet the 2023 Joan Craig Bursary Recipients

Learn More

“I wanted to leave something that would be meaningful. When I do something like this, it inspires other people. I hope to inspire Parkland residents to empower talented staff who dedicate themselves to helping others, creating a ripple effect of support and inspiration” – Joan Craig

Interested in creating a scholarship or bursary in your Parkland community?

Joan Craig Bursary Story: Alex Gibson

September 7, 2023
Alex stands next to Joan Craig in the Dining Hall at Parkland at the Gardens.

A Personalized Dining Experience

Four years ago, when Alex Gibson joined the waitstaff team at Parkland at the Gardens (PATG), Joan Craig made an unforgettable impression.

“I see Joan almost everyday at work because she’s in the dining room. She always put people before her. She’s always donating to causes. Just amazing,” said Alex.

Each day, Alex welcomes 150 residents into the dining hall, going above and beyond to ensure they receive a personalized meal experience. 

“Everyone has a different approach to memorize each residents’ order,” said Alex. “Some servers will write each residents’ order on paper, and some will take the time to memorize each order. It’s not just the meal orders, we aim to know the resident as a whole – including their name and dietary restrictions.” 

Alex expresses his gratitude towards Parkland for their exceptional support in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. “Even after being accepted into SMU, I made the decision to stay with Parkland because of their commitment to creating a supportive community.” 

Thanks to the generous support of the Joan Craig bursary, Alex can confidently pursue his third year of Bachelor of Commerce at Saint Mary’s University. 

Are you interested in a rewarding career in food services? View current opportunities to join our team of Great People in a community near you.

Joan Craig Bursary Story: Daniela Cavero

September 7, 2023
Daniela stands next to Joan Craig in the Dining Hall at Parkland at the Gardens.

A Parkland Support System

Daniela Cavero’s decision to pursue a career in nursing was deeply influenced by her meaningful interactions with the residents at Parkland at the Gardens (PATG). Daniela found herself drawn to the connections she formed while working with the residents. 

“I’m very thankful and feel the support from Parkland and Joan as I embark on my journey to become a nurse.” said Daniela. 

Balancing a part-time job at Parkland at the Gardens as a support worker while attending NSCC classes and clinicals has presented its fair share of challenges for Daniela, but the team at Parkland believes in Daniela and supports her in achieving her educational goals. 

“The Parkland community has always supported and encouraged me to follow my education journey in nursing. I was given the full support of my floor managers and work coordinators.” 

Daniela and Joan share the same goal, to help others and make an impact in people’s life. “Seeing each resident happy with a smile brings me joy because I know that their needs are being met.”

Are you interested in a rewarding career in healthcare? View current opportunities to join our team of Great People in a community near you.

Joan Craig Bursary Story: Mary Jane (MJ) Gonzalvo

September 7, 2023
Mary Jane stands next to Joan Craig in the Dining Hall at Parkland at the Gardens.

A Transformational Journey

In 2023, Mary Jane embarked on a new chapter of her life, arriving in Halifax from the Middle East. Despite having unique talents and a vibrant personality, she found herself feeling timid and hesitant to showcase them to the world. 

Her journey towards self-discovery and professional growth started in her role as concierge at Parkland at the Gardens (PATG).

Mary Jane feels her job at PATG has made her more socially aware and a socially responsible individual. 

“Working in Parkland gave me a wider perspective in life, new inspirations, and goals,” said Mary Jane. “It’s been a very rewarding experience. The people skills that I am acquiring are turning out to be vital in adjusting to my new life.” 

Mary Jane is thrilled to have been selected for the Joan Craig Bursary.  

“Joan Craig Bursary is like an answered prayer. It’s a big help for an international student like me. I will forever be thankful that I am one of the chosen beneficiaries. I realized that there will always be people who will touch our lives in ways that we could never imagine, like Joan Craig.” 

Mary Jane is pursuing a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Internetworking at Dalhousie University. The bursary supports the cost of this degree.   

“I think the PATG community for helping me become who I am today. And to the people who have been a part of my journey, especially Jodi Bartlett and Joan Craig. My sincerest gratitude to you both!”

Are you interested in a rewarding career at Shannex? View our hospitality and service job opportunities to join our team of Great People in a community near you.

Great People Grow Here: Mandy Wingert

September 7, 2023

Sous Chef, Parkland at the Gardens

Mandy Wingert’s journey in the culinary arts has been nothing short of extraordinary. With decades of experience under her belt, she found her place at Parkland in the Gardens (PATG) as a Pastry Chef and became an integral part of the team for 10 years. Now, as Sous Chef, Mandy continues to bring her expertise and passion to create culinary delights that cater to the unique needs of residents.

As a true artist in the kitchen, she understands that food is not just about nourishment but also about creating an experience. Her plates have been called “works of art” and are often inspired by the seasons.

“We eat with our eyes first. If the meal looks delicious, you’ll enjoy it even more. I try to make my plates as appealing as possible. A stew is just soup in a bowl. Scoop it in a nice bowl, garnish with some herbs, and place a biscuit on it, these things elevate what it looks like,” said Mandy.

At Parkland, we understand the role food and nutrition play in the overall health of our residents. Memories are stronger and easier to recall when they’re attached to a physical sensation and grounded in an emotional experience.

With a passion for bringing back the comforts of home, Mandy skillfully crafts dishes that spark a memory with each dish that she prepares. Residents feel the nostalgia in Mandy’s cooking, stating “that was the hug from my grandmother that I really needed,” or, “I remember my mother used to make this, thank you for bringing that back.”

We know many people who live in our communities were raised with homemade bread baking in the oven — so we regularly bake fresh bread to fill our communities with a familiar smell in hopes that we can tap into memories of time spent in their homes or kitchens,” said Mandy.

Her passion for igniting emotion through taste buds came from her experience at the Fat Duck in England, one of the top restaurants in the world at the time. The Head Chef paired food with memories.

“A number of creations were reminiscent of childhood favorites, like the Nitro Scrambled Egg and Bacon Ice Cream turned dessert. Or toast fried in beef fat that produced oak and moss flavours meant to stir up memories of damp woodland walks. I thought, that’s a brilliant thing to do. I use the same philosophy at PATG,” said Mandy.

Mandy has lived lifetimes in the culinary arts. Starting at the age of three in her grandma’s kitchen in Regina, she graduated in Canada’s premier culinary school, Holland College in PEI, then moved on to complete her Red Seal certifications in both Cooking and Baking.

“In culinary school, I was selected to be on Culinary Team Canada – one of six chosen across Canada to compete at the Culinary Olympics. This competition culminated in the biggest culinary exhibition in the world – the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany.

Her next move? The Certified Chef du Cuisine (CCC), the highest rung in the career ladder for cooks in Canada. Mandy has been thinking about completing this culinary achievement for the past eight years, and now, with the help of the Joan Craig Bursary, she will begin the CCC through the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology this September.

“Things have changed since I attended Culinary School. I’ll be learning new ways of menu planning, marketing, and human resources techniques, like how to lead your people,” said Mandy.

Joan Craig Bursary

Mandy has been serving Joan memories for as long as Joan’s lived at PATG. Mandy is inspired by the giving nature of Joan. Part of a birthday club, Joan had approached Mandy and requested a lemon cake for Ginger’s birthday. “She’s always thinking about how she can bring a positive experience to someone’s life,” said Mandy.

A recipient of the Joan Craig Bursary, she reflects on how this funding has helped in her culinary journey.

“My original plan was to sign up for one course. The Joan Craig Bursary allows me to start and finish the course in one year, which is so fantastic.”

Mandy compares Joan to a needle in a haystack. “She’s hard to find. She proves everything that is still right in the world, because she wants to help others achieve their goals.”

Learn more about the Joan Craig Bursary.

Are you interested in a rewarding career in food services? View current opportunities to join our team of Great People in a community near you.

Mandy stands next to Joan Craig in the Dining Hall at Parkland at the Gardens