Jeanette May, 2019 Co-Winner of the Morley Gunderson Prize

November 27, 2019 by CIRHR Communications

The CIRHR is delighted to announce that Jeanette May is one of the 2019 winners of the Morley Gunderson Prize

The purpose of the Morley Gunderson Prize is to recognize and honour current students or graduates who combine outstanding professional achievement with significant service to the Centre. The prize was established as a tribute to Morley Gunderson’s ten years as Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and is modelled after Morley’s own career, which exhibits outstanding accomplishments as a scholar and researcher in industrial relations, simultaneous with great contributions to the activities and goals of the Centre. 

Jeanette May was selected as one of this year’s winners in recognition of her accomplishments within the field of labour relations and human resources and for her participation in numerous CIRHR related events and her service as a long-time mentor of MIRHR students.

The award will be presented on December 2nd at the Morley Gunderson Lecture in Industrial Relations and Labour Economics, co-sponsored by the Centre, Department of Economics and Woodsworth College. 

Do you know a CIRHR grad whose professional success is matched by their support of the Centre? Nominations for the 2020 prize may be submitted by current students, graduates, faculty and staff at any time to the CIRHR Director. 

In her own words:

In a few words, could you tell us about your role with the Toronto Police Service? 

As the Director of People & Culture, my team managed the life cycle of our employees—recruitment, training, development, evaluation, conflict resolution, and wellness—and developed programs to provide best in class strategic human resources support to the organization. 

Is there one thing you learned at the Centre that you can point to as especially valuable to your career?

The Centre taught me to understand and respect the fundamental principles of both union and management. This influenced my approach in building relationships and resolving issues in a fair and respectful manner.      

Do you have a favourite memory of your time at the Centre?

The classes were very small when I attended the program in the early 1980s. We had about 20 students in our year so it meant that we got to know our classmates and professors very well.  The intimacy of these small classes provided a great learning and social environment.

Is there anything else about your experiences at the CIRHR, as a student or as an alumna, that you would like to include?

The Centre is effective at keeping connected with its graduates and encouraging their involvement in various programs. I have participated in the mentoring program for several years and have gained great satisfaction from the opportunity to assist students in their career journey. I also appreciated receiving the Perry Work Report [now published as PWR: work&labour news&research], which kept me up-to-date on research and news in the field.

About Jeanette May

After graduating from Queen’s University with a degree in Psychology, Jeanette received her MIR from the Centre for Industrial Relations in 1984.  She most recently was the Director of People & Culture with the Toronto Police Service, and was responsible for: Talent Acquisition; Equity Inclusion & Human Rights; HR Business Partnership; Labour Relations; Wellness; and, People Strategy & Performance. Jeanette rebranded and led the transformation and modernization of the human resources pillar, moving it from a transactional operation to a strategic, credible and service-oriented business partner with a focus on analytics.  She has built a strong team of subject matter experts who are furthering the modernization through the development and roll-out of programs from their new People Plan.

Prior to leading the People & Culture pillar, Jeanette was the Manager of Labour Relations at the Toronto Police Service for over three years.  In this position, she played a key role in the collective agreement negotiations, representing the Toronto Police Services Board.  She oversaw all labour relations functions, including grievances, human rights complaints, civilian discipline, and the administration of the collective agreements.  Her collaborative style contributed to a positive labour relations environment, where issues and disputes were resolved through discussion and compromise.

Jeanette has over 34 years of experience working in the field of labour relations and human resources.  Before coming to the Toronto Police Service, she worked for a number of large public sector organizations, including: the University of Toronto; Ottawa Civic Hospital; Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Health Unit; Franklin County Children Services in Columbus, Ohio; and, the Simcoe County District School Board in Barrie.

With a career that was built on the foundation of her MIR degree, Jeanette has committed to give back to the program through her support of many of the events offered by the Centre and her involvement in the mentoring program.  She continues to connect with some of her mentees as they have progressed in their career. Jeanette also provides human resources advice and support as a member of the human resources committee of her church.

Jeanette retired in October of this year, and is looking forward to applying her skills and passions in other areas and will continue her involvement with the field of human resources and the Centre.