Zachary’s Journey to Employment Success

Inclusion and diversity are vital components of a thriving society. Inclusion NB is dedicated to creating opportunities so that every New Brunswicker can participate fully in their community and live the life they choose. Zachary Lumsden’s story demonstrates the transformative impact of such opportunities, showcasing how the “just enough support” model can unlock doors to employment and personal growth.

Born and raised in Fredericton, Zachary’s journey with Inclusion NB began when he was in high school attending École Sainte-Anne, where he learned about our programs and support services. Recognizing that he wanted to join the workforce, Zachary, with encouragement from his father, reached out to Inclusion NB.

Zachary acknowledged the invaluable role of Inclusion NB in preparing him for the workforce by first connecting him to a volunteer opportunity with Greener Village, an organization that provides food, clothing and opportunities people need on their journey to self-sufficiency. This process is part of the Transition to Work program, where students can gain work experience during their school days to ensure successful transitions from school to work. From honing work skills to guiding him through the volunteer role, Zachary experienced the foundation necessary to thrive in the workplace.

Upon his graduation in 2022, Marie-Antoinette Hakizimana, Zachary’s Transition Facilitator at Inclusion NB, played a pivotal role in further connecting him with opportunities aligned with his interests. Marie-Antoinette worked closely with Debbie Thomas, Labour Market Facilitator, through the Ready, Willing, and Able (RWA) initiative, to help seek job opportunities for Zachary.

RWA plays a crucial role in connecting and supporting employers, job seekers with intellectual disabilities or Autism, and local community employment agencies. Together, RWA and Inclusion NB are collaborating to build a more inclusive workforce across the province.

At the same time as Zachary was job searching, Sharon Faulkner, the Manager of Micheals, a craft retailer in Fredericton, contacted Inclusion NB to see how they could enhance their inclusive hiring practices. Debbie met with Sharon and explained how RWA supports employers, while also ensuring the needs of the business are met.

“Sharon was a natural,” Debbie says.

Sharon shared the roles she needed filled for the busy upcoming holiday season with Debbie. one of them piqued the interest of Zachary. The job opening at Michaels that had caught Zachary’s attention involved unloading inventory deliveries from 3:00 AM to 11:00 AM, which perfectly matched his preferences for a labour-oriented role and an appealing work schedule.

“We ended up having multiple applicants and Sharon went on to hire three individuals, including Zachary, through RWA.” says Debbie, “It was a huge success.”

Additionally, Debbie went on to connect with store managers from the Moncton and Saint John Michael’s locations, and even was successful with connecting other RWA Labour Market Facilitators in Atlantic Canada to their local Michaels stores.

“Michaels has been exemplary at turning their inclusive strategy into action,” Debbie shares.

Sharon and her team continually demonstrated a strong commitment to inclusion by ensuring a supportive environment for Zachary’s transition into the role. This approach, coupled with Zachary’s enthusiasm, is key. Zachary continues to be a valued employee at Michaels today.

“I want to help move Zac out of his comfort zone and allow him to put his digital skills to use as well, but at his own pace,” Sharon says


As he embraced his role as an inventory representative, Zachary demonstrated a commitment to learning—a testament to his personal growth and development.

“I’d like to say how much they (Inclusion NB) really helped me. They taught me what I needed to do, and then they followed me step by step. First, to go into a volunteer job, and now at a paying job,” says Zachary.

Zachary has also transitioned his passion for art and creative expression into another role. He also works occasionally as Social Media Manager at a local, online business. Zachary channels his artistic talents into curating visually appealing content.

As Zachary says, “Everyone should be included in everything, no matter who you are.”