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November 2023

HHTH 2023 Wrap-Up

Hockey Helps the Homeless Charity (HHTH) Wrap-Up

Our 2023 Hockey Helps the Homeless Fundraiser officially came to a close on Friday, November 17th and although we believed that we would meet our goal of $30,000.00 no one anticipated that we would come so close to last year’s record. This year, we raised a spectacular $36,161.13 for HHTH, 360Kids and Blue Door!

We kicked off this year’s campaign with a Lunch ‘N Learn event at Head Office on October 17th, highlighted by presentations from HHTH, 360Kids, and Blue Door. We also introduced a new role, the General Manager, to the Universal teams, putting our Ignite team members in this role as mentors to our LEAD team who were assigned as the Captains and Assistant Captains. John Leis, although not appointed as a General Manager, was given the very special role of Director of Player Safety, Discipline and Off Ice Fundraising Coordinator. Blue Door’s impact speaker, Vicky, bravely shared her story and how Blue Door helped her get to where she is today. We were fortunate enough to have two very special guest speakers – Olympian Megan Bozek and NHL alumnus Luke Gazdik!

This year, the Universal team competition was fierce with a record breaking 26 initiatives, including classics like 50/50 Draws, Word Bingo, Bake Sales, Krispy Kreme Donut Sale, and Raffles galore! Amongst the new games was Oh Baby! wherein participants had to guess which baby picture belongs to which member of the Universal Flames – debates arose, friendships were tested, visits were made to the Accounting team, and hilarity ensued “This one is so obviously William Ong, you might as well have put a scooter in the background!” (Mark Glionna, 2023). We had a wide variety of games, getting Head Office out of their seats and into their competitive sports gear with golf (Putt to Win), darts (Bullseye for a Good Cause), and a hilarious take on a party classic, beer pong (Egg Pong Tournament – no beer). Across 9 different Raffles, as well as game prizes, we saw a tipsy trend that promises the winners a very happy holiday.

Ultimately, the Universal Flames were declared the winning team. Congratulations again to Captain Maryam Mehrdad, Assistant Captain Maggie Gragasin, General Manager Janice Ilkay, and the entire Universal Flames team for rallying together to raise $6,611.15. The Universal Flames team will enjoy a lunch at a restaurant of their choice, compliments of Universal.

For our incentive prize winners, congrats to Mattia Saieva who won the Early Bird Registration Sprint prize – a custom-made Muskoka Sports Chair. We’re also happy to report that 47 employees raised over $150 and will receive a Universal/HHTH Tumbler, 45 employees raised over $200 and will receive an Extra Paid Vacation Day, and 38 employees raised over $250 and will receive an HHTH Hoodie.

The creativity and enthusiasm we saw with this year’s campaign really put the fun in fundraiser. Congratulations and thank you to everyone for the work you put in to raising money and awareness for Hockey Helps the Homeless. Your efforts towards helping those in need have not gone unnoticed, and it’s safe to say, we’re all on Santa’s Nice List this year!

Christmas Party

The Holiday season is fast approaching and we can’t wait to celebrate with all of you at this year’s Company Christmas Party! We are so fortunate that we can get together with colleagues who we don’t regularly get to see, and this year’s much anticipated new venue, The Grand Luxe, already has our attendance record at an all time high. New food, new games, and new faces are sure to wrap up 2023 beautifully for the new year.

The party is only 2 weeks away, on Friday, December 15th, so it’s time to give your party outfit a good dusting and break out the dancing shoes, because you’re in for a night of games, dancing, and holiday fun!

Christmas Party - Universal Logistics

Working Out at Work!

It’s very typical to hear about how working in an office makes you stagnant and how sitting around all day is affecting our physical health. That, however, has not stopped this group of stair masters from conquering the 7 storeys of steps at Head Office! This group steps out twice a day to step up to their own personal goals and challenges. Led by William Sanchez of our Truck Service team, this group started small with William, Alice Yan, Tina Scharnberg, and Janice Ilkay (affectionately called William and the Step Sisters). But, with the word spreading across the office, the group evolved into the P.G. Stairs Collective – they even have a t-shirt with P.G.’s (Paul Glionna’s) face on it!

Working Out at Work - P.G. Stairs Collective

Something's Brewing

Contributor: Alice Yan

November Psychological Pricing Tactics That Attract Customers

As the Christmas season approaches, you may have seen a lot of deals or promotions that constantly entice you to buy, such as prices marked down to figures that end in .99 cents. If so, chances are good that you’re being bombarded with meticulously researched and executed marketing and pricing tactics without even realizing it.

Psychological pricing tactics are strategies that trigger emotions among consumers and can encourage them to shop and spend more. The psychological impact of these maneuvers can lead you to think that you are getting a great deal, but you may not really be snagging a bargain and could wind up paying more than you need to. There are some obvious tactics like ending figures in .99 cents, showing the initial price next to the sale price, or setting time limitations, but here are 5 more hidden strategies in action:

1. Altering Price Tags by removing certain visuals – Retailers will remove the dollar sign to make you feel less fear or anxiety when you spend money; a comma from higher-priced items to make the cost seem lower since it’s shorter to read; decimals to make you feel like you’re spending less money.

Altering Price Tags by removing certain visuals

2. Showing the Daily Equivalence – Some advertisements will break down the cost of a product or service per day, which makes the cost seem negligible. For example: a $15.00 monthly streaming service subscription equates to a mere 50 cents per day. By highlighting these daily costs, it can seem like you’re spending very little each day on a product or service.

3. Decoy Pricing – The decoy pricing tactic is based on the “decoy effect” by which individuals tend to have a specific change in preference between two options when also presented with a third option that is inferior in every way except one. The presence of the inferior third option makes the first two seem more attractive.

Decoy Pricing

4. Emphasis on Emotion or Nostalgia – Tapping into the allure and pull of nostalgia, sentimentality for your childhood or happy memories of the past, can get you to part with your money. Similarly, tapping into strong emotions, such as joy, family, adventure, and general warm-happy vibes, either through packaging, marketing, or brand messaging, can urge you to spend money.

5. Center Stage – This tactic is based on the center stage effect, which dictates that, out of a range of products presented side-by-side, we tend to be drawn to the one situated in the middle.

Center Stage

What can we do about those Psychological Pricing Tricks?

30 Days Rule – If you want to buy a pricey item, make a note and wait for 30 days. Chances are, the initial urge to purchase the item will have fizzled.

Consider the personal value of an item – Instead of fixating on the price tag of something, ask yourself if you will get a lot of use or joy from the item?

Figure out the number of uses of an item – If you plan to wear a pair of jeans at least 30 times and it costs $90.00, that’s $3.00 per use. Compare that to the $30.00 jeans on sale that you’ll probably only wear once, and the first option is a better choice.

Set up a monthly/weekly/yearly budget and stick to it

A. Ferrari Sports Car $1 MILLION

B. Gulfstream V Jet $40 MILLION

C. The Town of Albert, Texas $2.5 MILLION

D. A Painting $25.9 MILLION

Click on the question above, submit your answer to Sharon, and you’re eligible to win!

Submission deadline
Friday, December 8th (Noon)

$25 Tim Hortons, Starbucks or Amazon gift card for the 2 winners
(If more than two contestants have the right answer, we will pick the winning names out of a hat)

Kudos Corner - Universal Logistics

Kudos (Noun) – Praise & honour received for an achievement

Kudos Corner is a forum where Universal employees can recognize the efforts of their co-workers. Bring forward candidates for Kudos Corner at your next Team Meeting or simply drop your Manager a line whenever you feel someone’s efforts should be recognized in Universal & You.

For this issue we received the following entries:

Submitted by Debbie McGuire of our Freight Solutions Team:

“I’d like to recognize Maryam Mehrdad of our IT Solutions team at Head Office for all of her work assisting with IT support for our Shift Your Mind sessions. The final session on November 8th proved challenging, as the coordinator was having issues with the Zoom program on her computer just before the session started. Maryam was quick to save the day by preparing a laptop for the coordinator to utilize, as well as sending out new invites for the attendee’s through her own Zoom account. Not only was Maryam doing her utmost to help to ensure that those attending were able to Zoom in, but she was attending the session as well. I am sure it was challenging for her, but you would never know, as she kept a calm demeanor throughout it all. Either that is her natural ability, or the Shift Your Mind program tools are working incredibly well! Thanks for all that you do Maryam!!”

Submitted by Marion Bradnam of our US Customs Operations Team:

Audrey Keser of our US Customs Operations team in Buffalo is always the first person to volunteer whenever I ask for a volunteer to work or cover a Holiday or weekend. Audrey’s willingness to be flexible for whatever the shift may be is helpful and appreciated.”

Take Your Kids to Work Day

Contributor: Michael Agee

On Wednesday, November 1st, Elisha Agee participated in “Take Your Kid to Work” Day by joining her father, Michael Agee, at the Universal Logistics Airport Office.

In this Canadian career exploration initiative, Grade 9 students across the country get to participate and spend the day at the workplace of a parent, relative, friend, or volunteer host. The event prompts early career planning, and enables students to make informed decisions about their future goals and endeavours. The event also gives parents the opportunity to discuss career prospects with their children, and allows businesses to share knowledge, experience and advice around education, career choices and relevant skills required in today’s workplace.

Take Your Kids to Work Day
Navjot, Elisha & Socrates

The day started with Elisha getting a quick overview of Distribution, which involves moving finished goods from a manufacturer or supplier to the end user. The process includes warehousing, inventory management, packing, shipping and delivery. Elisha was also exposed to the various aspects of Universal Logistics’ Airport operations outside of Distribution. She sat down with Veena Ramesh and received an overview of freight forwarding operations. Then in the afternoon, she sat with Lizanne Gray and learned about customs clearances, and what it actually takes to move things across borders and between different countries. 

Take Your Kids to Work Day
Veena & Elisha
Take Your Kids to Work Day
Elisha & Lizanne

Although Elisha seemed the most intrigued by the Customs Operations team’s work at the office, we know she walked away with a better understanding and appreciation of what it takes to get her favourite things from point A to point B. All in all, a good day!

Growing again

In Universal & You, we want to introduce all new employees. We have a new addition at Head Office. Please join us in welcoming Thoreau Chen to the team!

Thoreau Chen, Freight Pricing - Universal Logistics - Head Office

Name: Thoreau Chen
Team: Freight Pricing (Head Office)
Start date: October 10, 2023

Universal’s Nightmare Before Christmas

Here at Universal, we love seeing everyone get festive, and Halloween isn’t exempt from that! In this especially festive edition of Universal & You, have a look at what our dead-icated Head Office and Airport office did to celebrate.

Universal’s Nightmare Before Christmas - Airport Office
Which monster loves to dance? The Boogieman!
Universal’s Nightmare Before Christmas - Airport Office
Why did the zombie become a mortician? To put food on the table.

With December just around the corner, we look forward to seeing what else everyone does to keep their spirits up!

Book Buzz

Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

The Christmas Wager by Holly Cassidy

When LA-based real estate developer Bella Ross arrives in the sleepy, mountain town of Maple Falls, she has one mission: to acquire the local failing Christmas shop, Always Noelle, securing the promotion of her dreams. Nothing can get in her way. Except the shop owner’s stubborn grandson, Jesse Harrison.

Both refuse to budge, until an unlikely wager is struck: Bella and Jesse will compete in the Maple Falls Holiday Games, an annual tradition of eccentric feats of strength and skills. Winner decides the selling price. They’ll give each other a run for their money, but as the competition heats up, Bella and Jesse’s icy feelings toward each other begin to thaw. It’ll take a Christmas miracle for them to admit there’s a spark, but what if it’s just another game?

The Christmas Wager by Holly Cassidy - Book Buzz

Culture and Entertainment

Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Hello Holidays!

Well folks, it’s official, the holiday season is here. There’s no better time than now to stream these best-ever holiday episodes from all of your favorite shows. Better yet, pop on over to the movie theater and check out new releases – a nice change from the Hallmark movie reruns. But given the fact that there are plenty of holiday-themed episodes and specials out there, we took the time to nail down the very best. So, sit back, make a cup of eggnog, and prepare yourselves for the merriest marathon of all time.

Culture and Entertainment - Thanksgiving Movie
Now Playing in theatres


Halloween shouldn’t be the only holiday exclusive to the horror genre. Thanksgiving, a gory new slasher movie from Eli Roth (Producer of Hostel), proves there’s more than one holiday that can provide an effective backdrop for jump scares and grisly deaths.

After a Black Friday riot at a fictional department store ends in tragedy, a mysterious serial killer, known only as “John Carver”, comes to Plymouth, Massachusetts, with the intention of creating a Thanksgiving carving board out of the town’s inhabitants.

Brooklyn Nine-NineSeason 1, Episode 10: Thanksgiving

The very first Thanksgiving episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine sees the entire squad head over to Amy’s for a big feast. However, nothing seems to go right, and every attempt to make this night a success seems to fail. Meanwhile, Jake and Holt must track down a thief who stole $10,000.00 in cash out of the evidence locker.

Culture and Entertainment - Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Season 1, Episode 10: Thanksgiving
Available on Netflix

Modern FamilySeason 3, Episode 10: Express Christmas

This is the first Christmas episode of Modern Family that sees the whole family on-screen together for the holidays. When they realize that their holiday plans would separate them on Christmas day, they create “express Christmas” to be together before the big day. Naturally, with such short notice during the holidays, chaos ensues and the entire idea fails miserably.

Culture and Entertainment - Modern Family – Season 3, Episode 10: Express Christmas
Available on Disney+

FriendsSeason 6, Episode 10: The One with the Routine

When Joey’s love interest, Janine, gets hired to be a “party person” at the pre-taping of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Monica and Ross manage to secure an invitation to come along to fulfill their dream of dancing on camera. Meanwhile, Rachel, Phoebe, and Chandler search Monica and Rachel’s apartment for the holiday gifts that Monica has hidden.

Culture and Entertainment - Friends – Season 6, Episode 10: The One with the Routi
Available on Crave

Health and Lifestyle

Contributor: Veena Ramesh

The Influence of Nutrition on Mental Health

The human brain is one of the most fascinating organs in the body, and probably also the most overworked since it’s always “on” – the brain does not shut off even when we are asleep. Just as an automobile requires fuel to keep running, the brain needs a constant supply of fuel which comes from the food that we eat. High performing vehicles require higher quality fuel, as does the brain with food packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Simply put, the contents of the food affect brain performance. 

Low quality food, processed and refined food, does a lot of harm not only to the brain, but overall wellbeing. Diets that are rich in refined sugars weaken brain function, and can engender depression.

The relationship between mental health and nutrition was not acknowledged by the medical field for a long time. But many studies have proved that there is a definite correlation between what we eat and how we feel or behave. Nutrition plays a crucial role in mental health, and the relationship between the two is complex and multifaceted.

Brain Function: The brain requires a variety of nutrients to function optimally. These include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (especially B vitamins), minerals (such as zinc and magnesium), and antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, flaxseeds and walnuts, are particularly important for brain health and have been linked to a reduced risk of depression.

Neurotransmitter Production: Amino acids from protein-rich foods are the building blocks of neurotransmitters, which are essential for communication between nerve cells.

Blood Sugar Regulation: The brain is sensitive to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Consuming a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein can help stabilize blood sugar levels and support stable mood and energy.

Health and Lifestyle - The Influence of Nutrition on Mental Health - Blood Sugar Regulation

Micronutrients and Mental Health: Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals have been linked to mental health issues. For example, low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of depression.

Gut-Brain Connection: The gut microbiota plays a role in mental health through the gut-brain axis (GBA). The balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut can influence mood, stress response, and cognitive function.

Inflammation: Chronic inflammation, often associated with a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats, has been linked to conditions like depression and anxiety. Anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish, may have protective effects.

Hydration: Dehydration can impact cognitive function and mood. Staying adequately hydrated is important for overall brain health.

Diet and Mental Health Disorders: Some mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, have been associated with certain dietary patterns. For example, the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, has been linked to a lower risk of depression.

It is important to note that while nutrition plays a significant role, it is not a sole solution. Mental health is influenced by a combination of factors including genetics, environment, lifestyle and individual circumstances. Nutrition can be considered as part of a holistic approach to overall wellbeing.

Health and Lifestyle - The Influence of Nutrition on Mental Health - Hydration

Vitamins and Minerals Necessary for Brain Function: B Vitamins (B12, B6, B3 & B9) are all necessary for energy and resilience. These regulate the energy release in brain cells which is necessary to facilitate the action of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are integrated with the immune system – imbalances can cause issues such as fatigue, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Important Minerals are Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Iodine, Selenium, Manganese and Potassium.

We can see now how nutrition affects mental health, and that it is necessary to maintain a balanced diet.

Health and Lifestyle - The Influence of Nutrition on Mental Health - Mediterranean Diet

Educational Achievements

Knowledge is what can separate you from the pack. It can take you as high as you want to go if you put it into action.”

The employees of Universal Logistics regularly receive industry training that is paid for by the company. We are proud to recognize the achievement and success of our latest course and program graduates.

Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) Course
Amy Park, Customs Consulting Services - Universal Logistics - Head Office

Amy Park
Customs Consulting Services
(Head Office)
Graduate of the CCS course

Congratulations Amy!

Kathleen Pope, Client Relations - Universal Logistics - Head Office

Kathleen Pope
Client Relations
(Head Office)
Graduate of the CCS course

Congratulations Kathleen!

William Liang, Customs Operations - Universal Logistics - Head Office

William Liang
Customs Operations
(Head Office)
Graduate of the CCS course

Congratulations William!

CIFFA Certificate Program
Dani Heo, Customs Operations - Universal Logistics - Head Office

Dani Heo
Customs Operations
(Head Office)
Completed the CIFFA Certificate in International Freight Forwarding

Congratulations Dani!

IT Corner - Universal and YOU

IT Corner

How does iPhone’s NameDrop work and is it safe?

NameDrop is a new feature introduced in Apple’s latest update, iOS 17, for newer iPhones and Apple Watch devices. When your Apple device and someone else’s come very close together, you might see a pop-up message asking if you want to save the other person’s contact information or share a photo.

Apple says that NameDrop only works if your Apple device is within a few centimeters of another one. For those of us who are clueless about the metric system, that’s roughly an inch or two. Each of the devices needs to be unlocked for NameDrop to work, and you have to pick which pieces of contact information you want to share.

IT Corner - iPhone’s NameDrop

Local law enforcement officials across the U.S. have issued warnings over potential privacy concerns, including in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Michigan.

How to turn off NameDrop on your iPhone

It would have been smarter if Apple hadn’t turned this feature on automatically — not for safety reasons, but because it’s a feature that most people won’t use that often, and it can be annoying. If you own two Apple devices and bring them close together, they might nudge you to share your contact information with yourself.

To turn off NameDrop, tap on the Settings app on your iPhone, then General → AirDrop. Turn off the button for Bringing Devices Together – when you turn it off, the color changes from green to gray.

IT Corner - iPhone’s NameDrop Setting

You can always turn NameDrop back on to share your phone number, email address, or photos with a new friend.

While you’re at it, it’s smart to make sure your AirDrop is set to either “Receiving Off” or “Contacts Only” to lower the risk of getting unwanted photos or files from strangers near you.

Calling all Universal Employees!

We are looking for volunteers to contribute short articles to Universal & You. Topics can be team or industry-related or you might want to share a personal experience (e.g. volunteer work or travel) with your fellow employees.

Please forward your ideas to Sharon Fong.

Universal & You is produced bi-monthly for the employees of Universal Logistics. Reader comment and story ideas are welcome. Comments of general interest to all Universal & You readers will, with the permission of the writer, be published. Copyright © Universal Logistics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction for any commercial use is strictly prohibited.

Universal & You is produced by Universal Logistics, Editor: Sharon Fong, email:

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained herein, Universal Logistics accepts no responsibility or liability for errors or omissions.

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