WorkJam Improving the Lives of Hourly Workers

Founded by Steven Kramer, Joshua Ostrega, and Mark Sadegursky, WorkJam is the first employee relationship management platform to solve critical problems in the hourly work economy, and create huge economic benefit for businesses. It also helps advance the well-being and prosperity of hourly workers.
The Canadian technology industry veterans have a successful track record in building enterprise software companies, including e-commerce vendor Hybris Software which sold to SAP in 2013.
With WorkJam, line and store managers can holistically manage the employee-employer relationship life cycle – including sourcing, qualifying, hiring, onboarding, scheduling, engaging and evaluating employees.
WorkJam also provides the only commercial platform that enables employers to build and optimize staffing schedules, based not only on demand signals from multiple channels, but also based on employee availability, skills, and compliance with regulatory requirements.
“Industries that rely on hourly workers currently lack the ability to manage each phase of the employee relationship life cycle through one integrated platform,” says Steven Kramer, CEO of WorkJam. “From recruiting through scheduling, training, and engagement, the process is broken – resulting in massive value leakage that suppresses profitability across industries, especially the more than 2 million service companies in the United States where labour accounts for 20 to 70 percent of overall costs.
“Hourly workers also lack the ability to manage and market their skills – and match their availability to the needs of employers, often forcing them to make compromises that impact the quality of their lives. This is both a business issue and a social issue, and will also increasingly be a legal issue as local governments pass new legislation to protect hourly workers from unpredictable scheduling.”
With WorkJam, employers also have access to a market of people from which they can recruit and qualify candidates based on skills and availability. Conversely, employees seeking hourly positions that are part of this network can efficiently find positions, market their employability, and manage their availability.
With WorkJam’s cloud-based platform, employers can accomplish what the fragmented landscape of workforce management, human capital management, and employee engagement technology has failed to achieve – to unlock the economic benefits and prosperity created by aligning their business needs with the interests of their employees.
“The most exciting aspect of WorkJam is that it creates a win-win for both businesses and hourly workers. Businesses benefit by lowering recruitment costs, improving attrition rates, optimizing labour in relation to demand signals, and improving the customer experience with happier, more engaged employees,” says Joshua Ostrega, COO of WorkJam.
“Hourly workers can control their work-life balance, maximize their earnings, develop skills and advance their economic well-being. By solving the disconnect in the employee-employer relationship, we can make the economy work for everyone – something we can all get on board with.”
WorkJam is a cloud-based, mobile and web-accessible employee relationship management platform. For the employee, WorkJam allows hourly employees to find and apply for jobs based on their availability. Once hired, they can manage their schedules, pick up shifts, or trade shifts directly from their computer or mobile device. WorkJam puts employees in control of their time, allowing them to create a more consistent and predictable work schedule and income. For more about WorkJam, visit

What First Impression are you making?

In Vogue - Ally Champagne
In Vogue – Ally Champagne

When it comes to looking great, fashion is only one-third of the equation. Don’t neglect your face and ‘do.
Yes, this means your skin, your makeup, as well as your hairstyle. These three factors are equally important, especially when your goal is to make a terrific first impression.
No one understands this better than Gwen Voroney, owner of First Impressions Salon, located in South St.Vital. With thirty-four years’ experience in the hair industry, Gwen has styled an enormous number of heads. Helping people look their best, no matter what the occasion, is what drew her to the field.
The industry has allowed her to use her creativity, as well as her understanding of people, to help them achieve constant change in an area where trends never stop evolving.
A family affair
The saying, “the apple doesn’t fall from the tree,” applies in this case. Gwen’s daughter Jennifer grew up with the same love as her mother – to make people look their best. When Gwen is away, Jennifer and the dedicated staff keep things running smoothly.
“We chose the name ‘First Impressions’ because I was very focused on what people initially thought the moment they came upon a hair salon,” she explains. “What the salon looked like on the outside and how that might reflect what types of services they might receive on the inside.
“This made me strive to build a business that not only reflected well outside, but more importantly included a top professional staff to provide our clients with the services we know they deserve.”
Substance on the inside and out – a good motto.
The salon is Aveda-based and offers haircuts, colours, and other beauty services to men, women and their families. They provide updos, highlights and lowlights, and they also have skin and body care services such as facials, manicures, pedicures, hair removal, and hair tutorials.
Their knowledge of hair texture, skin tones and face shapes guarantees a good experience, and it is not uncommon to have someone show up with a photo of their favourite superstar’s coif to have beautifully recreated.
On the other hand, they understand people have very different needs when they ask for a specific look. They realize some people like to spend a long time on their looks, while others prefer simplicity. They take the time to speak with their client to pinpoint exactly what they’re after, and then proceed to deliver.
Honesty’s the best policy
But what happens when someone comes in with a “I-must-have this-‘do” pic of the latest trend, and it is not in the client’s best interest? “I will consult with the client and give them all the information they will need to comprehend this may not be their best look,” says Gwen. “Then look at other possible options, which may or may not incorporate some of requested style. But most people know what will or will not work for them.”
Services also include hair extensions and wig care which may include a wash, style, trim, and even colour. “Some people may be afflicted with alopecia, and so a wig gives them the hair they desire,” she says. “I complement their style with an added touch of care, and redefine as well as enhance it to make them feel comfortable.”
Some time ago, Gwen decided to add an esthetician to their line of services. “It took me a while to find just the right person. But the search was well worth it – and we now are proud to have Mandi Combot working with us.”
If your fashion statement is lacking a little je-ne-sais-quoi, set up an appointment or consultation with a hair salon. Don’t waste any time letting people know how great you are from the outside.

Healthy hair tips

  • Hair that has been coloured should be maintained with salon-quality products to preserve its vibrancy and sheen – colour-preserving shampoo and conditioner can be used daily with great results.
  • By asking your hair stylists questions about how to replicate your new look, as well as what hair products will be best for your hair, you can achieve a “salon-worthy” look
    from home.
  • A deep conditioner is recommended
    once a month.
  • When wanting to change your hair colour drastically, discuss a long-term plan with your stylist in order to preserve the integrity of your hair.

Need style advice? Contact Ally at

You’ve got a ticket to ride: getting the best deal on your airfare

The Merits of Travel-Heather Malazdrewicz
The Merits of Travel-Heather Malazdrewicz

Photo by Adam Selwood

You have decided what country you are going to visit – now to purchase your airline ticket. What airline to travel with, what route to take, where and if to do a stopover along the way, when you should purchase your ticket, what city to fly in or out of – these are all questions to ask before making the big decision.
There are a number of factors that can affect the cost of your ticket. The price can vary depending on which of the three travel “seasons” you’re departing in: low, shoulder, or high. For example, if you are traveling to Europe and you depart in February, that would be considered low season – whereas if you left in July, that would be high season.
Other factors that affect the cost of your ticket may include the day of the week you travel on: midweek versus the weekend. Generally weekends are more expensive.
The validity of your ticket, meaning the length of time you are staying at your destination, could also influence your ticket price. Some tickets may have a maximum validity of three or six months, or they may be valid for up to one year. If you want a flexible ticket allowing you to change the date after departure, it might mean that the price of the ticket could be higher than one that is totally nonrefundable with no changes allowed.
Choosing an airline
Your decision on which airline to choose may be dependent on whether they fly to the destination, if they belong to some sort of frequent flyer program, if they offer convenient connections and non-stop service, and of course – the big one – price.
When traveling to your destination, it may be possible to do a “stopover” along the way. This would give you an additional city or country to add to your travel itinerary, or may be a way of breaking up a long flight. For example, when travelling to Australia, you could travel via Asia and do a stop in Hong Kong, or go via the South Pacific and do a stop in Fiji.
When purchasing a ticket, it is important to know all of the “rules” of your ticket. What would happen if you needed to change your ticket, either before or after departure? Are there fees involved? What would happen if you need to cancel the ticket: is it totally nonrefundable, or do the airlines have a cancellation fee?
This is also important information to know as it can affect the cost of your travel insurance.
Are there “extra” fees associated with the cost of your ticket, such as advance seat selection, meals or baggage costs?
One-way ticket to paradise
One-way tickets may be an option depending on your travel plans; however, you need to make sure that the country you are visiting allows you to enter on a one-way ticket. You might be required to hold a work visa, or show proof of onward travel after a certain amount of time in the country.
One-way tickets may also be used to piece together a more complex itinerary.
When purchasing a “return” ticket, it is not necessary to fly home from the same city you flew into. The airlines use the phrase “open-jaw” to refer to this type of ticket. This may save you time and money in not having to backtrack.
If it’s an option for you, a Round the World ticket or RTW ticket for short would allow you to fly completely around the world. Prices for RTW tickets are determined by the total mileage flown, the city you are departing from, and whether you are travelling in economy, business or first class.
Booking an airline ticket can be a complicated process as well as a big investment! The merit of booking with a travel consultant would be to ensure you get the ticket that is right for you and your travel plans.
Heather Malazdrewicz is the manager of Merit Travel at the University of Manitoba. She has worked in the travel industry for 24 years, while gaining her own experience of countries all over the world. Merit Travel delivers authentic travel experiences to the world’s top destinations, with help from a team of passionate and dedicated travel consultants at over 25 offices across Canada. For help planning your vacation, contact Heather at, or call 204-269-9530 ext. 6108.

Start saving for next year’s vacation – now

By Brian Denysuik

Summer vacations can very well be the highlight of your year – well worth any cost. However, these trips can ring in over a thousand dollars, and strain your budget if no money has been put aside.
The best way to avoid using credit cards unnecessarily, or getting behind in everyday bills, is to plan ahead. By starting a savings account now for next year’s summer vacation, you’ll be able to enjoy your hard-earned vacation without worrying about financial woes.
Start a savings account for your trip
It’s all too easy to forget that certain money is off-limits when it’s in a bank account that’s readily accessible. Instead, start a separate account that is specifically for your vacation. Decide how much you can afford, or how much you want to spend on the vacation, and divide that number by the months remaining. Treat it like any other expense or bill, and put it away before any extras are bought each month.
Find more money
If your budget is already stretched tight, it may seem hard to find that extra $100 or more to put away. If this is the case, one of two things must happen: spend less, or make more. You may find the monthly vacation amount right in your current budget by reducing grocery costs, cutting down luxury expenses, or even taking the bus instead of driving.
Another way to finance your vacation savings is to find ways to earn that extra amount by getting a second job or selling unneeded items via garage sales or on eBay.
By planning ahead, you’ll enjoy your next summer vacation with absolutely no financial worries. Hakuna matata.
Brian Denysuik is a local credit counsellor and registered insolvency counsellor at Creditaid who has been in the financial services industry for over 30 years.

Inspiration for social change – from comedy? It happened

Socially Smart - Jon Waldman
To Market – Jon Waldman

Photo by Jim Fischer

The sources of great advertising campaigns are vast. Inspiration can come from just about anywhere.
But for comedy to give birth to deeply impactful non-profit campaigns is something that’s completely out of left field.
Now the use of Hollywood to attempt impact in social circles is nothing new. Whether it’s Alex Trebek talking about helping to feed African nations, or Jennifer Aniston encouraging the U.S. in the cheeky “Don’t Vote” campaign, the impact that celebrities can make is one that can’t be undervalued in an awareness or donation drive.
But to draw inspiration from a comedic bit? That’s something entirely new. We never, for example, saw the creation of The Human Fund in honour of George Costanza, nor has there been a fun run for rabies after Michael Scott’s initial fundraiser.
In fact, the first crossover that I can recall ever seeing from anything to do with comedic television has come from, of all people, Jimmy Kimmel. Yes, the same comedian who helped people Win Ben Stein’s Money, and taught men across the world the proper chant before polishing off their half-drunk ale, has inspired multiple organizations with a simple sketch that has become a viral sensation.
Kimmel’s ABC nightly schtick-and-interview show has become one of the most popular of this generation – and no doubt played a part in The Tonight Show and The Late Show deciding it was high time to change hosts after years of unfunny moments.
Kimmel’s biting comedy and connection to the viral video world made him a sensation. He’s also become highly respected in recent years for his willingness to stand up for causes he believes in, particularly his stance on vaccination.
But the real gravy in Kimmel’s work are his long-running sketches. Like Johnny Carson before him, Kimmel has worked a number of ongoing sketches into his arsenal of late-night comedy. In the last couple years, this has included “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets,” a collage sketch of his guests reading hate messages directed at them on Twitter.
Generally the celebs take the messages in stride, such as Wiz Khalifa who giggled after reading one from user @Al_RamBro, who stated “Wiz Khalifa looks like a homeless woman.” These segments have been running for a while, and recently have spawned promos from various non-profit groups.
One of the first to take on the concept was the Canadian Safe School Network, who adopted Kimmel’s set for the segments nearly to a T, placing students onscreen in front of a brick wall, cell in hand.
Among those read off by the kids in the video: “Allan’s voice is soo annoying it makes me wish I was deaf.” As the tweets are read, the canned laugh track fades until the last tweet is read with no one laughing.
A second video popped up from, this time with teens in high school settings reading off anonymous but real tweets, such as “u don’t know how sick you make me. U make me f***** sick to my stomach. Everytime I think of u I puke.” Again. Effective.
A third commercial really struck though. Rather than directly mimicking Kimmel’s sketch, a campaign had homeless citizens read negative tweets about their population. In this case, we don’t see the tweets, only the reactions – and they are powerful. The campaign was created by Raising the Roof Canada, and I highly recommend checking it out on YouTube.
So the lesson for this month? Never let inspiration be set aside because of its origin – it may show up where you least expect it.
Jon Waldman is a marketing and communications expert in Winnipeg. Follow Jon on Twitter @jonwaldman or connect with him at


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,405 other followers

%d bloggers like this: