Following last year’s fantastic Employee Fundraiser – we raised an incredible $26,409 for HHTH, 360Kids, Blue Door and Compass House in Buffalo – this year Universal will once again support the Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) tournament by being the Game Day and Participant Gift Sponsor for the December 9th event.
We will kick off this year’s campaign with a Lunch ‘N Learn event at Head Office on Tuesday, October 18th – mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!
Christmas Event Update
‘Tis the year to get back to celebrating the Christmas season with colleagues. The Events Committee is working on finalizing details for the annual Company Christmas Party – stay tuned for more details!
Due to a change in demographic, we will not be hosting a Children’s Christmas Party this year – we simply do not have a lot of employees with children in the target group for this celebration.
However, we do want to treat the children of our employees to a special Christmas treat so…
…Great News – we will, once again, be offering the fantastic and tasty Gingerbread Kits provided by Marnie Lippa, owner of Parties Made Simple. Stay tuned for the email in early November and get ready to place your orders!
Employee Education & Engagement
Our study session to review Canadian CCS Quiz 3 will be held on Wednesday October 12, 2022.
This session is open to all Universal employees, including CCS Designates, employees currently enrolled in the CCS course or employees looking to enhance their Canadian customs knowledge. In order to get the most out of this session, your participation is key. Participants should already be working on Quiz 3 or have completed all 25 questions. Please come prepared to discuss the Quiz in its entirety.
October Study Session 3: CanadianCCS Designate Quiz 3 Session Overview: Review of Canadian CCS Quiz 3:Distributed by CSCB, Thursday, September 29, 2022; Due for Completion, Thursday, October 20, 2022 (10 CCS Points) Hosts: Ivy Woo and Lukas Hamann Date: Wednesday October 12, 2022 Time: 10:30 am to 11:30 am
Participants from our Canadian branches and US offices will be sent a Zoom invite closer to the session date.
Ignite Sub-Committee Update Contributor: John Leis
On May 10th, our Director Team hosted an Ignite Sub-Committee information session in the Main Boardroom at our Head Office in Thornhill. The session was very well attended by over 20 employees, representing teams from our Head office, our Canadian branch offices and our U.S. offices, both in Buffalo and Cleveland!
The primary objective in hosting this session was to attract and assemble a group of highly motivated and creative team members. The Sub-Committee will work closely with our Director team in the days, weeks and months ahead to coordinate and implement a variety of initiatives as part of our company’s Employee Education & Engagement Program.
Our Directors are very pleased and proud to announce that this objective has been met, and thanks to the following 11 team members, we have successfully assembled our first Ignite Sub-Committee:
Melanie Basu (Truck Services, Head Office)
Lukas Hamann (Canadian Customs Operations, Head Office)
Cody Keser (US Customs Operations, Buffalo)
Vincent Kwong (Canadian Freight Operations, Head Office)
Maryam Mehrdad (IT Solutions, Head Office)
Kathleen Pope (Client Relations, Head Office)
Veena Ramesh (Airfreight Services, Toronto Airport)
Monserrat Vazquez (Freight Solutions, Head Office)
Anthony Zitko (Canadian Customs Operations, Windsor)
On August 16th, the Sub-Committee assembled for their first team meeting. Already hard at work, collaborating on a wide variety of initiatives that will undoubtedly have a direct and very positive impact on all our employees, this group of creative folks has confirmed that they will be identified going forward as the LEAD Team (Leadership, Engagement, Action, Development).
Congratulations to all our LEAD Team members and thank you for playing a significant role in ensuring the success of this very important initiative!
Stay tuned in the days ahead for details on the various initiatives the LEAD Team has instore!
Something’s Brewing Contributor: Alice Yan
A Taste of Fall
As the leaves start to change colour, we are starting to crave numerous fall foods and drinks. Fall dishes around the world are diverse and have their own characteristics, depending on the country and climate. Let’s dig into some international fall dishes…
France – Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy): Originally, this was a standard dish in Paris region bistros, but later became known as a Burgundy special.Chunks of prime cut beef are braised until tender in red wine (typically Burgundy) gravy and flavoured with onions, carrots, and mushrooms.
Italy – Truffles: Truffle season is a big deal in Italy, especially in the northern part of the country. One of the most seasonal and satiable Italian dishes is Insalata di Porcini Freschi (Fresh Wild Mushroom Salad). Thick slices of foraged truffles are topped with arugula, olive oil, salt and a splash of lime.
Mexico – Chiles en Nogada: A delightful dish of peppers stuffed with ground beef, sautéed in tomato purée, and flavoured with candied cactus called biznaga, chopped nuts, onions, carrots, and potatoes. Mexican cream is then blended with walnuts and cinnamon, and poured over the entire dish before it’s garnished with parsley and pomegranate seeds.
Korea– Seafood: Fall marks the season of three of the nation’s most popular kinds of seafood: Blue Crab, Gizzard Shad and Jumbo Shrimp. Plump blue crabs are cooked in savoury soup or steamed, while gizzard shads are enjoyed either raw as sashimi or grilled. Fleshy jumbo shrimp are also enjoyed raw orgrilled.
Germany – Pumpkin Soup: Although you would be hard pressed to find a pumpkin pie while travelling around Germany, a delicious pumpkin soup will be on many restaurants’ menus. Germany has a big pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg, offering all kinds of seasonal foods, including homemade pumpkin jams and pumpkin soups which are available as an appetizer in the fall.
New Zealand – Whitebait: Whitebait, a tiny fish that is very hard to catch during its short season from mid-August to the end of November, is a fall treasure. The art of catching them requires a net and a whole lot of patience. This fish will be served in the form of whitebait fritters, which are super fresh in November.
*Don’t forget to pair these dishes with some seasonal beverages to get the full flavour of fall, such as hot chocolate, maple stout, mulled wine, apple cider and lots of pumpkin favoured drinks.
Click on the question above, submit your answer to Sharon, and you’re eligible to win!
Submission deadline Friday, October 7, 2022 (Noon)
Prize $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)
In Universal & You, we want to introduce all new employees. We have new additions at our US office in Buffalo, our Head Office and our Fort Erie branch office. Please join us in welcoming everyone to the team!
Name: Rhiannan Stacey Team: US Customs
Operations (Buffalo) Start date: August 22, 2022
Name: Emma Saieva Team: Canadian Customs
Operations (Fort Erie) Start date: September 26, 2022
Health and Lifestyle Contributor: Veena Ramesh
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a powerful stress relief technique, also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure.
As we all move through everyday life, various aspects of the past or worries about the future contribute to our stress levels. Most of us will try almost anything to relieve stress and go about life happy. This article will explain the practice of tapping – something that can be done at a desk when we have a few minutes to spare.
EFT Tapping is a fairly new technique which originated in the 1980s, following studies that combined traditional Chinese medicine and psychology. Once this was documented, there were many clinical trials that proved that EFT tapping works.
How does EFT tapping work?
Use fingertips to tap 5-7 times on meridian points (the same points used in acupressure) of the body. This tapping sends a calming signal to the brain and encourages it to relax. It is helpful to maintain mental focus on the specific issue that is causing thestress.
The next step is to learn about the tapping points:
Each of the meridian points triggers or connects to different parts of the body:
Side of Eye: Gallbladder
Under Eye: Stomach
Under Nose: Governing Vessel
Chin: Central Vessel
Under Arm: Spleen
Top of Head: Governing Vessel
Tapping to reduce anxiety:
Whenever you are feeling anxious, stop what you are doing, take a deep breath in and let it out. Think about the factor that is causing the anxiety and slowly begin the tapping sequence. The starting point is always the KC (Karate Chop) area. Tap 7-9 times, and as you are tapping, observe how you are feeling.
This whole process might sound difficult initially, however, there are various apps available that can guide you through the process, e.g. The Tapping Solution, available on Google Play and the Apple Store.
Book Buzz Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho
Babel: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translator’s
by R.F. Kuang
Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.
1828. Robin Swift is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin and Ancient Greek, all in preparation to enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation – also known as Babel. Babel is the world’s center of translation and silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanting silver bars, inducing magic effects. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.
Oxford is a fairy tale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?
Making a spectacular debut as #1 on The New York Times Bestseller list, Babel is sure to unite lovers of linguistics, history, fantasy and dark academia.
Culture and Entertainment Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho
Most Anticipated Sci-Fi & Fantasy TV Shows of 2022
There is a wealth of sci-fi and fantasy shows upcoming in the fall of 2022. From long-anticipated adaptations to new and thrilling entries into familiar worlds, there are new fantasy and sci-fi shows for everyone. From streaming to network, which of these series are you most excited to see?
The Sandman (Season 1) Available on Netflix – Release Date: August 5
The Sandmanis a fantasy series adapted fromthe DC comic book by Neil Gaiman of the same name. The Endless are seven brothers and sisters who have existed since the beginning of time – Destiny, Death, Dream, Desire, Despair, Delirium and Destruction. Their names describe their function and the realms they are in chargeof.
Several years ago, a coven of wizards attempted to take Death captive but captured Dream (aka Morpheus) instead. After being held for over 100 years, Dream escapes and sets out to restore order to his kingdom of the Dreaming. The 11-episode series was developed by Gaiman himself, David S. Goyer, and Allan Heinberg.
House Of The Dragon (Season 1) Available on HBO Max – Release Date: August 21
This show is the first Game of Thrones spin-off series. It’s based on George R. R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood, which takes place 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and explores the history of House Targaryen.
It focuses on a civil war over the Iron Throne, historically known as the "Dance of the Dragons," between half-siblings Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) after the unexpected death of their father. King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) had brought up his daughter to inherit the throne, but after his untimely death, his second wife, Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), believes their firstborn son should inherit the throne. Meanwhile, Viserys’ younger brother, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), also makes a claim. Dragon will fight dragon until Westeros is covered in fire and blood.
The Lord Of The Rings:
The Rings Of Power (Season1) Available on Prime Video – Release Date: September 2
This will be the first television series of the Lord of the Rings franchise. The epic drama takes place thousands of years before J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, during the emergence of Sauron. The series will explore the dramatic events during the Second Age of Middle-earth, the forging of the Rings of Power and the rise of the Dark LordSauron.
Given the massive size of the cast, the series will likely explore multiple points of view among the several races of Middle-earth. The series is said to have a five-season commitment contract worth up to $1 billion, making it the most expensive television series ever made.
IT Corner Contributor: Maryam Mehrdad
Zoom Chat Formatting Options
Aside from conducting Zoom meetings, we can use Zoom Chat to message with colleagues and team members.
Chats are set-up in Basic Text Formatting by default, but you can use the Format button, located on the toolbar at the bottom of the Zoom app to change the formatting.
The Basic Text Formatting works the same as text messages. If you type your message and press Enter, the message will be sent. If you would like to start a new paragraph, you can hold the Shift key on your keyboard and hit Enter, which will take the cursor to the next line without sending your message, then click the blue send button to send your message to the contact(s) or channel.
To utilize more formatting options, commonly known as Rich Text Formatting, follow the steps below:
Sign in to Zoom Desktop Client
In the Chat tab, select a chat thread
Click the Format button, or enter text, highlight the text, and click the … option. Most of the options used to send an email – bold, italicize, underline, strikethrough, size of the font, insert a link, style of text, bulleted lists, numbered lists, indenting selected text, decreasing indent of selected text, creating a quote of text and clearing all formatting of the selected text – are available.
Click the blue send button to send your message to the contact(s) orchannel.
Note: If using Rich Text Formatting, you must use the send button, as the Enter key will take you to a new paragraph.
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.