August 2023 | Issue #19

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Happy birthday to us! This month CONSTANT is (gasp!) 19 years old. I can’t believe it. From that first contract with Los Angeles County (who is still a client!) to having work across the nation, and all levels of government – there is a lot to celebrate!

 

Throughout our 19-year tenure our work has been recognized with awards from organizations like the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Association of Counties. It has been presented at leading industry conferences like the National Homeland Security Conference and HHS ASPR Preparedness Summit. Our work has been showcased in publications such as the Crisis Response Journal and we’ve been interviewed for our technical expertise for ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. And we are just getting started.

 

I am most proud of the steadfast commitment to our mission of making the world a safer place. Our decorated track record of world class products and services has earned us the opportunity to continue to serve – building a bridge to resilience through innovation, excellence, and mission focus.

 

Michelle Constant

Founder + CEO 

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Diane Vickerman, Associate II

Diane joined our Team on July 24th. She brings over ten years of experience in public health, behavioral health, and working in hospital settings. Most recently, she worked at the California Department of Social Services, Disaster Services Branch as a Sr. Emergency Management Consultant. Diane’s passion is helping others in need, and she really enjoys social work and crisis intervention. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California in Berkeley and has completed numerous ICS trainings along with courses at the Center for Domestic Preparedness and is certified by the International Critical Illness Stress Foundation.

 

Diane and her husband currently live near Lake Tahoe in Nevada and enjoy doing outdoor activities with their two sons and dog, R.J.

Michelle Klein, Consultant

Michelle will be joining our Team on August 16th. She brings over 15 years of experience in many areas including hazard mitigation and community outreach planning. Michelle most recently worked for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency as an Emergency Management Planner and oversaw the planning activities of 36 counties. Her most rewarding experience was when she was working in Washington DC as a Public Safety Planner and received the Exceptional Service in the Public Interest Award from the Director of the FBI. Michelle earned a Master’s degree in Emergency Management Leadership from Adler University.

 

Michelle currently resides in Knoxville, TN but is originally from New York City. She has a dog named Kekoa who is a beautiful, joyful, playful, and wonderful Border Collie/Black lab.

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CONSTANT's August Birthdays

It’s CONSTANT’s birthday month, so who wants a cupcake?

 

Clearly August birthdays are extra special. Join us as we celebrate team member birthdays this month:

  • Nathan Carpenter – August 16
  • Nate Hayes – August 21
  • Nicole Christensen – August 22
  • Donna Chaney – August 27
Happy Birthday to Nathan, Nate, Nicole, and Donna!

CONSTANT's August Anniversaries

Party time! Let’s raise a glass (of sparkling apple cider) to this CONSTANT difference makers. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our mission!

  • Nora Caplan-Baylis (4 years) – August 15
  • Manny Rodriguez (1 year) – August 1
  • Monica Machacek-Chiapello (1 year) – August 16
  • Alex Meyer (1 year) – August 16
  • Shayne Sullivan (1 year) – August 29
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Every Great Design Begins with an Even Better Story

Business Development by Donna Chaney, Federal Business Development Director

And we have a lot of stories to tell at CONSTANT! After a nationwide search and what seems like eons, we are delighted to have Kayla Malone on board as our new (and first ever) dedicated Graphic Designer. We know there’s been a lot of anticipation for support in the graphics area, and while we are still finalizing the request process, we wanted to provide some initial guidance. This includes how to request support, what information to provide, and what to expect as part of the process.

 

Requesting Support – we are developing a questionnaire in Microsoft Forms that will be available on the Staff Business Development Resources SharePoint site, so that you can quickly and easily submit a request for assistance.

 

Information to Provide – the more detail you can provide, the better! We’ll ask for some essential information, including a description of what you need, desired size for the graphic, required use of color schemes, imagery, and fonts, and most importantly, a date or priority for your request.

 

What to Expect – once your request is submitted, we will prioritize it based upon your urgency, the complexity, and the current queue of design work. Depending on the information you provide, Kayla may reach out to obtain more information, strategize on ideas, or provide an initial concept design. The development process is both iterative and collaborative, so you can also expect one or more rounds of revision, feedback, and redesign.

 

If you have an immediate request, please feel free to reach out to Kayla and Nicole. In the meantime, stay tuned for additional details about our new graphics design process, which will be formally rolled out at the August monthly company meeting.

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Great Expectations: Bridging what we want to happen and what actually happens

Operations by Jayson Kratoville, Director of Operations

Stress manifests as the gap between expectations and reality. In both the consulting and crisis management fields, expectations can vary and shift often. With that in mind, it’s especially important for everyone on our team to think about how we can minimize that gap, both internally and with our clients. This week’s Operations CONSTANT Connections discussion focuses on strategies for bridging that gap for team members, managers, and the organization.

 

  • How Project Managers and Sponsors set the tone:
  • Establish clear expectations with the client at the start of the project; monitor and document shifts throughout the project.
  • Set clear expectations both across the team and with each team member, including:
  • The client’s expectations
  • The team member’s role in the project, including level of autonomy on tasks
  • Timelines, budgets, and how to communicate about both
  • Skill sets they may need
  • Support they have and when/how to access it
  • Provide constant feedback on where team members are meeting or not meeting expectations.
  • Don’t forget the feedback on where team members are aligning – most of the feedback you provide should be reinforcing where things are going well, vs. just pointing out gaps.
  • Create open lines of 360-degree feedback to proactively identify gaps in expectations or team members’ ability to meet them. Take ownership of closing those gaps.
  • Where all Team Members can exhibit strong leadership by managing expectations:
  • Learn the client and PM/Sponsor’s expectations.
  • Identify any gaps in your ability to meet those expectations (e.g., bandwidth, capability).
  • Think through ways to mitigate those gaps.
  • Go back to the PM/Sponsor with your concerns and any potential solutions/asks.
  • Communicate your expectations on the project; these won’t always align but are important areas of discussion.
  • What do you want your role to be?
  • How does the role/project tie to your growth?
  • What do you need from the PM/Sponsor to be successful?
  • Seek direct feedback on where you are and are not meeting expectations.

What the organization is working on to make this easier:

 

Building written processes, procedures, and aligned training on predictable core functions. Piloting a fully integrated talent management cycle to help clearly define expectations and how they align with individual and company growth. Incentivizing a culture of open, candid, measurable, and specific feedback. 

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People and Culture by Maggie Peters, Director of People and Culture, and Lauren Day, People and Culture Business Partner

People and Culture (P&C) Updates

Summer Summit Survey Results:  A big thanks to everyone for your feedback on last month’s Summer Summit! We received a 96% positive result and a lot of great input and suggestions on how to make next year’s summit even better! Several of our team members mentioned they enjoyed the interactive Slido tool along with the variety of topics that were covered. The Sunday Scenario teambuilding exercise was also a big hit, so thanks again to Tobias for putting that together. Some of the suggestions we received included adding breaks between sessions, adding more hands-on sessions, and technical learning. All recorded sessions are now posted on the P&C SharePoint site.

 

Professional Development: We have several upcoming opportunities to share with you. To learn more about these courses and all the professional development opportunities available to you, please visit the Learning & Development page. 

  • Now available on Demand: “Survey Design & Analysis 101” hosted by Dr. Cindy Beard. Optional, 30 minutes. This course provides an overview of CONSTANT’s current survey design and analysis processes, offers best practices, and begins a conversation about future data analysis possibilities. 
  • August 18: “Unanet for Managers 101 – Management Tools” hosted by Derek Morrison. This is a required course for all Managers.
  • August 30: “Counterintelligence (CI) Awareness” hosted by a special agent from the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). This is an optional course.

Action Item due August 30: Complete a Career Development Plan and discuss it with your Manager for their input. Once completed, please upload it to your isolved documents. Update as needed, at least annually.

 

Great Place to Work: This important survey will launch on August 1 and close on August 15. We conduct this annual in-depth, anonymous survey to get your feedback on various topics such as trust, respect, and camaraderie. This is a globally-recognized certification that provides our leadership with data to continue to improve our culture and workplace. It also helps us attract talent, especially in this competitive recruiting market.

 

Policies & Guides: Your P&C Team has been hard at work updating the “Team Member Guide,” the “Code of Business Conduct and Ethics Policy,” and the “Confidentiality and Invention Agreement.” These documents will be in isolved for your electronic signature this month. Please review and sign on or before August 30. And good news, once signed, these will be automatically filed in your isolved documents so you won’t need to upload them yourself.

 

Glassdoor Reviews: Please join us in sharing the word about how much we LOVE working at CONSTANT! It’s easy, just click here to leave a quick review on Glassdoor.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

EDI by Co-Leads Lona Bryan and Maggie Peters

Our 2023 EDI Committee Meetings are on the Staff Calendar: Everyone is welcome to attend. Here’s the link to the EDI hub: EDI.

 

Next MeetingWed, August 23 at 9am PT / 1pm ET 

 

EDI Article: Our monthly educational article on Women’s Equality Day can be read here.

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August is sizzling and so is IT

Information Technology By Morgan Forrest, IT Manager

In the event you need to update your applications, here are some helpful links!

 

After updates are complete, reboot. This will make sure that you are running the latest versions of the application and protect yourself from security leaks!

 

Have a great summer!

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The first person to complete this correctly and email it to Brea gets a gift card!

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Our mission is to make the world a safer place.

It’s that simple, and that’s why we are here. We have a strategic plan for the next three years, called CONSTANT Strategy, which outlines what our biggest priorities are:

 

  • Take care of our people
  • Forward our mission
  • Respond to our clients’ most pressing needs
  • Expand strategically across markets
  • Build infrastructure for the future

To help us execute on our mission, we have developed the CONSTANT Credo and our aligned core values (see the graphic below). We live by these.

CONSTANT Credo

We appreciate all of your hard work as we continue to grow. We hope you enjoyed reading this issue of CONSTANT Connections! We are open to any ideas, suggestions, or feedback on CONSTANT Connections. Please submit your ideas to Brea Dees.