February 2024 | Issue #25
Kudos on completing another fantastic CONSTANT Summit! Hats off to our amazing presenters, our planning committee, and to everyone for participating. I love the candor, ideas, and energy that we experience during summit. 2024 is off to a great start with a successful summit on the books, and some big wins (stay tuned for details).
In alignment with our three-year strategic plan (CONSTANT Strategy) we have big plans for 2024 and beyond. We will seek to deepen our expertise across practice areas and portfolios, build in mechanisms to encourage innovation, and align our services to the greatest needs of our clients. We will grow in the SLTT space, and deepen our impact across the west while moving eastward. In the Federal space, we’ll expand our presence with clients, current and future. We are going to focus on empowering our team by expanding capabilities and process, fostering a culture of teamwork and accountability, and strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion. As part of our digital transformation and rebirth, we will invest in cyber security while implementing processes designed to streamline, secure, and amplify our capabilities. On this journey, we will reaffirm our commitment to maintaining a healthy culture, bustling the above with change management practices and quality management.
This publication coincides with Black History Month, Lunar New Year, and Valentines Day, providing an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate diversity and culture. I am reminded of a quote from Carter G. Woodson, “Let truth destroy the dividing prejudice of nationality and teach universal love without distinction of race, merit or rank.” Let us strive toward this same lens of universal love in our delivery of services, our interactions with one another, and our connectedness with the greater community. (And speaking of love, see my two oldest in last year’s Valentine’s Day pic.)
I look forward to a record-breaking, difference-making 2024 together!
CONSTANT's February Birthday
Let’s cheers to our one and only February baby:
- Monica Machacek-Chiapello (February 16)
Happy Birthday to Monica!!
CONSTANT's February Anniversaries
Join us as we celebrate these team member work anniversaries this month:
- Jessica Driskill – 2 years (February 1)
- Oliver Martin – 1 year (February 1)
Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our mission!
Growing ... Together
Business Development by Jeff Philippart, Business Development Director
Thanks again to everyone who attended Winter Summit and the presentations on developing a growth mindset and on ‘marketing is everything and everything is marketing.’
In the growth mindset presentation, we talked about how growth is good for all of us since it increases our ability to make the world a safer place and provides professional benefits for all of us. The key to growth is not becoming a salesperson but performing the best possible work on each project and deliverable. Our clients will become our best advocates if we can exceed their expectations for quality and timeliness. You can build on the client relationship to build trust and earn referrals for future work. The client may also share their challenges or “pain points” which may open the door for CONSTANT to provide solutions and support. Even if CONSTANT is not a clear match, we can reach out to our partner network to fill capability gaps and support the client. Never discount your ability to help CONSTANT grow and elevate any potential opportunities to your supervisor and/or portfolio lead.
In the marketing presentation, we took these concepts a step forward and discussed the role of marketing within all interactions with clients, partners, prospective team members, and more. We showcased how CONSTANT currently markets itself as well as what activities we are building toward. We looked at a case study through the lens of Disney: how the company markets itself and how we can adapt those lessons for CONSTANT. Finally, we did a breakout room activity to walk through talking points for potential marketing-related interactions from Business Development, Operations, and People and Culture points of view.
The BD team is available to answer your questions and we have several resources on our Staff BD Resources SharePoint site, including our newly available line cards! Please stay curious and continue delivering high quality results to our clients.
Structuring Our Growth
Operations by Jayson Kratoville
CONSTANT’s Operations Team is expanding its structure to plan for sustainable growth.
The CONSTANT team is great at what we do. From the first client interaction, to the proposal, to execution, we establish trust, bring creative solutions, and deliver on our promises with excellence. As a result, our state and local clients are relying on us more often for larger, more complex projects. Our reputation is continuing to strengthen in the Federal space and we are targeting significant growth this year.
We are adapting the structure of our team to proactively:
- Scale to expanding client work
- Integrate Operations’ experts more fluidly into guiding business development strategy and representing the company publicly
- Anticipate company-wide operations, strategy, and change management needs
- Prioritize opportunities for team members to grow with the company as we win new work
With this in mind, we are introducing a new Portfolio Manager role. We’re excited to share that:
- Kim Hayward-Buys will lead our Federal Emergency Management portfolio
- Lona Bryan will continue to separately but collaboratively manage our FQS program with an eye toward expanding our already sizeable Federal EM training work
- Mona Bontty will head up SLTT Emergency Management
- Ali Leis will lead Health Security
- Sloan Grissom will spearhead our new Emerging Threats practice, expanding from Counterterrorism
Kim, Mona, Ali, and Sloan will be more involved in shaping our pipelines to align with our capabilities. Very little will change at the project-level in the near term, but this gives us a clearer action plan for when we win new, larger projects. We have put together an FAQ, and my door is always open for questions. Looking forward to a successful 2024!
People and Culture by Maggie Peters, Director of People and Culture, and Lauren Day, People and Culture Business Partner
We L-O-V-E Our Team Members!
Important February Dates:
- February 1: Effective date for all elected 2024 Benefits
- February 7: Manager’s Huddle (8 am PT / 11 am ET)
- February 15: CONSTANT University Governance Committee Meeting (9 am PT / 12 pm ET)
- February 20: Payday (new benefit deductions start)
- February 26: Monthly Staff Meeting (9 am PT / 12 pm ET)
Due February 29 – Anti-Sexual Harassment Refresher Course. In order to stay compliant with California’s anti-sexual harassment laws and in alignment with our focus on cultivating a positive CONSTANT Culture, we are required to provide training on this topic to our team members every two years. Therefore, we have assigned the applicable course to all Managers (2-hour course) and non-managerial team members (1-hour course) who are due for the refresher course in 2024. The deadline for all assignees to complete this course is February 29, 2024. If you’re due for this course, the assigned course will show in the “Assignments” area of your isolved University Dashboard. Time spent completing this course should be charged to:
- Billable: “Overhead (Home) – Training / Prof Development.”
- Non-Billable: Charge to your usual G&A Project/Task
Benefits Highlight – United Healthcare: We are so excited to now offer national healthcare coverage to our team members! Over the next couple of weeks, those who enrolled in this coverage will receive more information directly from United Healthcare, but did you know that you can get instant access to manage your health plan details, get your member ID cards, talk to a doctor 24/7, find care, and more on the UHC app? Download it here.
P&C Check-Ins: Last year, the P&C team put a lot of effort and focus into building our processes and policies as we continued to support CONSTANT’s growth. This year, we will be focusing more on connecting with our team members. Keep an eye on your calendars for “P&C Check-In” meetings where we will meet individually with each of you to discuss how things are going, how we can better support you, and stay connected.
W-2 Forms Now Available: The 2023 W-2 electronic forms are available for view/download/print in isolved. For anyone who elected to have them mailed to you, they have also been mailed to the home address listed in isolved.
Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
EDI by Co-Leads Lona Bryan and Maggie Peters
Thank you to everyone who participated in our December meeting. Those slides are now available on the EDI Page on SharePoint.
Monthly EDI Article: Celebrating Black History Month
Next Meeting: Starting in 2024, we will be switching to quarterly meetings. Those invites will be sent out shortly.
Reach out to Lona and Maggie, EDI Co-Leads, if you ever have a need to assist a client with their EDI efforts or how to incorporate EDI into our engagement.
The Love of Money, February Finance
Finance By Loretta Pascuzzo, Sr. Accounting Manager
It’s a busy time for the finance department as we start into the second month of the new year.
Changes to Finance:
- Reminder that CAVU has transitioned to fractional CFO role. They are not handling any of the day to finance tasks. If you need anything, please reach out to me directly.
- Annual SBA Financial Review Audit
- State and local tax filings
- Unanet Project Audit
- Ensure accuracy of funding, hours, and period of performance
- Make sure attachments such as contract and mods are attached in the project
- Close out of older projects
Happy Valentine's VPN February
Information Technology By Morgan Forrest, IT Manager
Cupid is out flying around this time of year and the IT Dept is falling head over heels for this rollout! This month we are rolling out NordLayer VPN. We are falling in LOVE with its security capabilities.
As we have discussed previously, the VPN will be able to protect unsecured networks. It is part of our commitment to Cyber Security.
I would also like to invite you to check out our NordLayer VPN Troubleshooting site – NordLayer VPN Walk Throughs
This will provide you with answers to basic questions about dealing with Nord! Please let IT know if you have any issues or questions. Please submit an MS Forms ticket if you run into any problems.
I would like everyone to have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
How well did you pay attention to Two Truths and A Lie?
The first person to email Brea the correct answers to the following questions will earn a gift card!
- Whose uncle took a bullet for Regan?
- Who was attacked by Amy Shumer’s child on a tricycle?
- Whose family is from Poland?
- Whose in-law’s met at a mental institution?
- Who was a competitive figure skater?
- Who has taken a sample of live nerve agent?
- Who performed a surgery in Nicaragua?
- Who has moved more than 30 times in their life?
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.