Every year, Vantage employees from across the US come to our headquarters in El Segundo for the annual All Hands Meeting. The All Hands Meeting is an opportunity to bring the entire firm together for a day of departmental updates, creative and strategic thinking, educational sessions, spontaneous conversations and general catching up with each other.
As noted by one team member:
While we hold an all company video call every Monday morning, it’s great to be able to see and interact with our Vantage colleagues on a face-to face basis.
Company Update and Kudos
Phil Crompton and Richard Bussell kicked off the meeting by introducing new staff, followed by a financial and hiring update. Phil also shared kudos he had received about team members from some of our clients.
Vantage as the Great Disruptor
Principal Parke Rhoads led a session which served as an example of a collaborative design thinking exercise.
The idea behind the exercise was to design the “disruptive” technology consulting firm of the future by starting with these 5 questions written on separate flip charts:
- How did the firm get there?
- Who works at this firm?
- What ways and methods does the firm deliver its work?
- Who is served by the firm?
- What does the firm do?
All Vantage team members were given a stack of sticky notes which they used to jot down their ideas and stick to one of the flipcharts. Parke will analyze the results and present a summary of the findings to the company at a later date.
Digital Building Reports
During this session, the Vantage team members broke into 4 different groups to conduct a brainstorming session on the experience flow or a day-in-the-life scenario for either a hospital patient room, office meeting room, residence or sports stadium. This exercise gave all team members a sense of how Vantage conducts a typical technology visioning session with our own clients.
Each group spent 40 minutes developing their flow and then had 5 minutes each to present a summary of their ideas in the most creative manner. While this exercise was not meant to be competitive, the sports stadium team was the overwhelming winner as Tom Humbarger and Joe Williams acted out the game day experience of a father taking his son to a game with Jamie Segovia doing the narration.
Strategic Consulting Open Forum Session
In this session, the Strategic Consulting group conducted an open forum session to give their colleagues a sense of how these sessions are used by the strategic group on their projects. The open forum session is a facilitation and user-feedback methodology to generate lots of feedback very quickly from a large group of people.
For this session, 4 posters depicting drafts of the team’s service descriptions were displayed on easels throughout the room. Team members then circulated from poster to poster, asked questions of the poster presenter and shared their input on sticky notes. The end result was that the Strategic Team will be able to use the input to rapidly iterate the next version of their service description collateral.
Information Privacy Panel Discussion
Rooz Afzal then led a panel discussion on information privacy, specifically around the voice-activated technologies available from Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Siri.
Joanna Grama, Mike Niola and Jon Young participated on this expert panel and addressed these questions:
- Alexa/Siri/Google know all – is this a good thing or a bad thing?
- What are some of the ways that you use Alexa at home?
- If Google, Alexa and Siri are always listening / watching and they hear/read/predict something based on your voice and/or behavior that indicates someone has done something illegal, are they in any way responsible to do something about it?
While the new technologies are exciting and have many potential benefits, the general consensus was that the privacy and security laws that cover these products have not kept pace with the technology. The recommendation is to move cautiously for now, and be aware of what and how your data is being used by these companies.
Open Mic Night
Another entertaining session was the Vantage Open Mic night which featured a series of eight 4-minute talks from a wide variety of associates. The topics included brief forays into how not to be ignorant, WiFi coverage mapping, AV over IP, acoustics and steerable speakers, consulting best practices and metrics.
Wrap-up, Promotions and Holiday Party
The Vantage principals then wrapped All Hands meeting with a collective recap and questions. Phil and the team then announced the latest Vantage promotions to team members who have made strong contributions to the firm in the last year.
The following Vantage associates received promotions:
- Cathy Bates to Associate Vice President
- Chris Lee to Associate Principal
- Alexis Diamond to Associate
- Jennifer Horito to Marketing Manager
- Tara Kammouna to Consultant
- Jamie Segovia to Consultant
- Ashley Woodward to Consultant
- Mohanad Abouzid to Lead Engineer
After the All Hands Meeting, employees and guests gathered for the Vantage Holiday Party which featured a celebration and slideshow of Richard Bussell’s career with Vantage and an exciting game of Vantage Jeopardy.