Photo: The Condo Store
From nurses to senior care workers, grocery store clerks to hospital cleaners, there are so many people who have been playing crucial roles in our communities over these last couple months.
One local real estate company is planning to make sure that the actions of these frontline workers are widely recognized.
Today, The Condo Store, a Toronto-based, full service realty brokerage, has kicked off its Everyday Heroes initiative, a program that celebrates the outstanding contributions of businesses and individuals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Partnering up with Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, Toronto Argonauts alumnus and philanthropist, TCS is asking people to nominate a community member in recognition of their work.
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Each week, one nominee will have their extraordinary acts chronicled and featured in a weekly post, in addition to receiving a ‘thank you’ call from Pinball and more. Individuals can be nominated by using the hashtag #TorontosEverydayHeroes, or by sharing and tagging nominees in specific TCS social media posts.
To learn more about The Condo Store’s initiative, we did a Q&A with the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Simon Mass.
Livabl: What was the motivation to create this Everyday Heroes initiative? How did the idea come together?
Simon Mass: It really started with an ongoing discussion I had been having with our now official CMO, Rich Kuypers, and we thought that we had an ability and an obligation to help out as best we can given the stay-at- home measures. Honestly, we had been hearing of so much good happening throughout the region, and when we started talking about this weeks ago, there wasn’t a lot of good in the news cycle.
So, while Rich’s duties will be different in the coming months, we thought that a program to recognize individuals and go a bit deeper than just saying thank you to essential workers as a group was a great idea within the context of this unprecedented social situation.
L: How did Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons become involved in the initiative? What was his motivation for joining the movement?
SM: I have known Pinball for several years now and have been an ardent supporter of the Pinball Clemons Foundation personally and corporately with my partners at The Condo Store. I just love his positivity and energy from the core; he’s a genuine and lovable guy and a man of the people that I can definitely relate to. When I was thinking who the Ambassador of this community program could be, the fact is, no one else came to my mind. Pinball is Mr. Toronto to me; he wants to help people and is so universally known for helping people throughout the community.
Our program isn’t about The Condo Store or a brand, but rather to find family, friends and business associates who have during the past few months encountered an individual from Toronto that has made a difference to them and could do with some well-deserved recognition as well as a reward as a sign of gratitude and as a thank you. Who better to be the face of such a program than Pinball? He already helps so many of our youth that need shelter, food and education during normal times, plus he is such a great natural storyteller, and that’s what we want to do, tell stories.
I guess Pinball can answer the next question better than I can, but, I will say this — the moment I approached him and simply gave him the one-minute summary of the program, he simply said it would be his immense pleasure to be a part of the initiative and would do whatever he could to endorse, support and share the word as he notably knew of a number of people that could be deserving nominees and winners.
L: How does this initiative tie back to the Condo Store business and how are you connecting it to your mission?
SM: It doesn’t, these are unprecedented times, so we are trying to put our best foot forward and shine the spotlight where it deserves to be.
However, our mission has and continues to go beyond just running a successful and profitable investment firm; we want to be connected to the community on many levels. With our strong reputation in the city, there comes responsibility to do more than just the minimum.
Giving back has always been a part of our corporate culture; even when my partner, John Mehlenbacher, and I started the business we were attempting to have the philosophy (for good or bad as it’s always a fine line when donating and asking others to do so) to give whatever you can and understand that even a small amount or action can go a long way. It’s all relative.
L: Why do you want to document and recognize individuals in this way?
SM: We will write a weekly post and it will detail each featured hero in detail, telling their story during this pandemic. We’ll share that and ensure that the everyday hero is prominently celebrated. They’ll also receive a call from Pinball saying thank you on behalf of Toronto. We are counting on Toronto industry, the business community, and the community in general to help us find these stories as well as to get them out to as many people as possible.
Why this way? We wanted to dig that next layer down and see who these individuals are and what they are doing, to tell some great stories that will live on way past the current situation.
L: Is there anything else you’d like to highlight about the initiative?
SM: Anybody can be a hero during this situation, it can be a grocery clerk, a teacher, a food-service worker or a health care worker — and everything in between.
Pinball is the perfect Mr. Toronto to be associated with this program and to help us gather great stories that we otherwise wouldn’t hear. I can just hear, and am so excited to hear, him speaking with these people and letting them know that we are going to tell their story – full of messages about hope and positivity and recovery; and most importantly, the message of thank you. We want to help shine the spotlight where it belongs — on the everyday heroes out there keeping the community going.
If you would like to nominate someone for the Everyday Heroes initiative, use the hashtag #TorontosEverydayHeroes