November 2023 | Issue #22

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The month of November presents us with a special platform to plan for next year. We get to think about what we are going to accomplish in 2024 and how we want to grow as a company. It’s this time of year that we think about how we want to reinvest in ourselves, expand our capabilities, and seek creative ways to execute on mission.  We are focusing on refining CONSTANT Strategy, our three year strategic plan, and how we want to refine it for next year.  To that end, we are also looking at our growth strategies, the critically important interface between BD and Ops, and the infrastructure that we need to continue to deliver excellence and support our clients.

 

November is also month of thanks and gratitude. Committing ourselves to gratitude is so important to CONSTANT that last year we installed gratitude as one of the five core values of our organization.

 

We are grateful for our staff working hard to execute on mission, and to ELT and Ops leadership who are working to invest in growth and strategies for scaling CONSTANT. And we are grateful to our clients, partners, and community for the opportunity to make a difference.

 

Michelle Constant

Founder + CEO

Jeff Philippart, Director of Business Development

 

Jeff Philippart joined our team as the Director of Business Development on October 23. Jeff is a highly effective PNL lead with a demonstrated ability to build and grow relationships with customers and business partners. He first attended the US Air Force Academy and retired from the US Air Force as a Colonel after 24+ years of service. He has traveled around the world and has over 4,000 flying hours in C-130 and C-17 aircraft. His decorated military career includes serving as Vice Wing Commander, being competitively selected amongst the top 5% of Air Force Colonels for the largest C-17 Wing, and serving as a Division Chief, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JS/J8 MASD).

 

Jeff has worked in Federal Government Contracting since he retired in director level positions at defense contracting firms Mag Aerospace, Robbins Gioia, and QinetiQ where he held both business development and operations roles.  He built multi-billion dollar pipelines, was awarded DOD IDIQs, and supported the full cycle of proposal and capture efforts. His most recent accomplishment was leading the capture of a prime position on the US Space Force Data Services IDIQ contract. Jeff earned a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies at Marine Corps War College, a Master of Arts in Operational Arts and Sciences at Air Command and Staff College, a Master’s in Public Management, at the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Science, at the US Air Force Academy. He holds a Project Management Professional certification.

 

Jeff was born and raised in Northern California. He currently resides in Fairfax, Virginia with his wide, three kids, and a Cheagle (dog) named Daisy.

Joe Jordan SkillBridge Program

 

Joe Jordan will be joining our team from the DOD SkillBridge Program on November 13. He has worked as an Emergency Manager in the Air Force for the past ten years. As an EM’er in the Air Force, Joe has not only worked on plans, programs, and the EOC but has also served as a HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials) and CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) responder. He is finalizing his last two courses for a bachelor’s in Disaster and Emergency Management, with a projected graduation date of February 2024.

 

Joe’s family consists of his wife, Sarah, their ten-year-old son, Oliver, and their senior dog (but still a puppy at heart) Wally. They are all from Grand Rapids, Michigan but have yet to decide where they will call home after the military. Their rather unique family hobby is spending weekends at the tracks, supporting their son’s racing of .25 midgets in the NASCAR Youth Series. Joe supports by being the “handler” (crew chief, mechanic, coach, etc.). If you are interested in learning more about .25 midget racing you can check out their team’s social media page here

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CONSTANT's November Birthdays

Grab a slice (or two) of your favorite pumpkin or apple pie and join us as we celebrate these team member birthdays this month:

  • Nora Caplan-Baylis – November 19
  • Dan Smith – November 22

Happy Birthday to Nora and Dan!

Congratulations!

Let’s raise our sparkling spiced ciders and make a toast to these CONSTANT difference makers. Join us as we celebrate these team member work anniversaries this month: 

 

  • Emily Long – 1 year (November 7)
  • Sarah Novak – 1 year (November 16)
  • James Meeks – 1 year (November 28)

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our mission!

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Business Development is a Team Sport, Go Big or Gourd Home.

Business Development by Jeff Philippart, Business Development Director

In the month of October, all four major North American sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL) have games and it reminds me that Business Development is a team sport. I am excited to join the CONSTANT team and support the mission of making the world a safer place. I am also extremely impressed with the people (Christy, Nicole, Shayne, Lindsey, and Kayla) working for the Business Development team.

 

But they are not the only people working to grow this fantastic company. In fact, all of us are members of the “growth” team even if the initials “BD” are not in your job title. Your performance on a project and your subject matter expertise are essential to “selling” our company. You know the customer’s paint points and the solution for their challenges better than most. I look forward to learning more about your incredible accomplishments so we can tell your “success stories” in our bids for new work and growth. 

 

Growth benefits everyone since it provides more opportunities for client engagement and professional development. Finally, as we develop the business strategy for 2024, I am confident we will exceed our goals by working together as one “growth” team. More to come!

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FEMA Qualification System: The ISDs Are The Gift That Keeps Thanks-giving!

Operations by Lona Bryan, PhD

When you think of community heroes, do you think of educators? (I hope you said, yes!) What about the course developers and content writers that equip the educators with the tools that are needed to be successful in the classroom? (Also, yes!) To take it a step further, what if I told you these course developers and content writers were developing educational content that would be used to train FEMA Disaster Responders to do their jobs? By working with FEMA field experts to design comprehensive disaster response related courses, our Instructional Systems Designers (ISDs) contribute to CONSTANT’s mission of making the world a safer place

 

FEMA maintains a cadre of more than 4,000 reservists to deploy to disaster zones, along with thousands of surge capacity force members from other federal agencies who can be called to respond if needed. These cadres of reservists span across 27 different programs. FEMA engaged the CONSTANT-Eagle Hill (CEH) team through our Joint Venture to build training for 14 of these programs, delivering 43 courses total over the past year. Notably, we completed a course that FEMA considered to be among their most challenging to build. Its development had been incomplete for five years through multiple consulting teams. Our team was the success factor in bringing this course to fruition.

 

Among the many achievements of the ISD Team in Year 1, their ability to identify the need for data automation tops the list. They worked with our partners to develop an automation system that reduced the content development of each Instructor Guide by 66% and each Participant Guide by 90%. This time savings allowed us to focus more on content development and consistency while remaining flexible to the needs of the cadres.

 

The ISD team continues to achieve clear outstanding results. FEMA decided to engage CEH in a direct award for another full year of funding and shared our approach as a best practice across the wider FQS program. In addition to our Eagle Hill and High Street Consulting partners, our amazing CONSTANT ISDs are Lee Williams-Nagy, James Meeks, Christina Chapper, Dana Bell, and Oliver Martin. Our ISDs are also supported by two incredible Psychometricians, Dr. Monica Erbacher-Smith and James Smith. We congratulate and applaud your success with delivering products that exceed our client’s expectations and that are helping to make the world a safer place. Thank you!

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

Gobble Up these Goodies from your P&C Team

As we enter this holiday season, we just wanted to express how grateful we are to each and every one of our team members. Here’s a little update from your P&C Team to gobble up this month.

 

Upcoming November Holidays:

  • Veterans Day (Friday, November 10)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 23)
  • Remember, you can swap any holiday for another day within this calendar year. Just request this swap from your Manager and make a note on both days of your timesheet. All swaps must be within the same calendar year.

NEW 2024 Holiday Schedule:

  • New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 15)
  • Memorial Day (Monday, May 27)
  • Juneteenth Independence Day (Wednesday, June 19)
  • Independence Day (Thursday, July 4)
  • Labor Day (Monday, September 2)
  • Indigenous Peoples Day (Monday, October 14)
  • Veterans Day (Monday November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28)
  • Christmas (Wednesday, December 25)

Professional Development: As we prepare to conduct annual performance reviews, now is a great time to review and update your Career Development Plan (CDP).

 

Your CDP is a living document that you and your Manager can use to identify your professional development goals and support your career growth throughout your journey at CONSTANT. It is important to have regular conversations with your Manager about your CDP, especially since we are a rapidly growing company and new opportunities are always opening up. We want to make sure that everyone has the tools and skills they need to reach their full potential.

 

Here’s a tip: When updating your CDP, be specific about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. For example, instead of saying “I want to learn more about marketing,” say “I want to learn how to develop and execute social media marketing campaigns.” The more specific you are, the easier it will be to track your progress and make adjustments as needed.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Start updating your CDP today! Meet with your Manager and discuss your CDP and get their ideas.

 

Action: Your completed CDP should be uploaded into isolved on or before December 31, 2023. Reach out to P&C if you have any questions or need some guidance. 

Benefits Highlight – 401(k) Plan Updates for 2024: The IRS has recently posted the contribution limit for 2024 and it increased to $23,000 for those under 50 years of age. Additionally, anyone who will reach age 50 or older by the end of 2024 can make annual catch-up contributions up to $7,500.

 

NEW! If you are interested in making changes to your deferral amounts, updating your investment selections, or adding/updating your beneficiary information, you can create an account on the American Funds Participant Site, select the “Custom Enrollment” option, and it will easily guide you through making those updates.  

 

Action: Take a moment to ensure you have a current beneficiary designated in this site.

EAP Highlight – Loneliness: A recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that more than 70% of workers don’t feel that they are able to socialize enough while working remotely. To proactively combat this potential feeling in our remote workplace, CONSTANT leadership works hard to establish meaningful and collaborative relationships among our team members. Additionally, each of you has free access to our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Uprise Health (Employer Code 70101). They have a large collection of free resources about loneliness (and hundreds of other topics) including tips for staying connected.

Great Place to Work [GP2W] Certification: Let’s have some more fun celebrating our recertification as a Great Place to Work this year! We will soon be receiving a Celebration Kit (selfie props, stickers, balloons, etc.) and will be mailing different items to use in a “Celebration Selfie!” If you are the lucky random recipient of one of these items, please take a quick pic of yourself with the item and send it to Lauren so we can share with the team.

Important isolved Login Changes: Starting November 17, isolved will upgrade its login process to require Multi-Factor Authentication. With this update, the security of isolved will be further strengthened and provide users with added peace of mind that their information is safe. When you login to isolved after this update is pushed, you will encounter a new user experience that will require you to validate your identity using two or more forms of authentication, such as security key, email, or text message.

 

Action: Prior to November 17, take a moment to login to isolved and ensure your mobile phone number is correct.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

EDI by Co-Leads Lona Bryan and Maggie Peters

Thank you to everyone who participated in our October meeting. Those slides are now available on the EDI Page on SharePoint.

 

Michelle Constant joined the meeting and discussed her vision for the EDI Committee in the future. She is thrilled with the progress and engagement from the Committee. Her top three areas to continue our progress are: 1) Furthering our Culture of Celebration; 2) Continue to Strengthen Our Diversity; and 3) Awareness Internally and Externally, particularly with client connections and their EDI efforts.

 

Manny Rodriguez headed up a small group to discuss the symbolism of our EDI logo. What they came up with was nothing short of amazing. Thank you, Manny and team!

 

Green: Growth for CONSTANT

Yellow: Unity for CONSTANT

Red: Passion for CONSTANT

Blue: An Inclusive CONSTANT

Turquoise: An Equitable CONSTANT

Pink: A Diverse CONSTANT

 

We decided upon our 2024 Holiday schedule. We also discussed several outreach opportunities within higher education that support our EDI efforts and outcomes.

 

Next Meeting: Wednesday, December 20, 9am PT/12pm ET

 

EDI Article: National Veterans and Military Families Month [Lauren Day]

 

Professional Development: New FEMA Courses Available – check out the EDI Path in isolved CONSTANT University.

 

  • FEMA IS-0020.23:  Diversity Awareness
  • FEMA IS-505: Concepts of Religious Literacy for Emergency Management
  • FEMA IS-368: Including People with Disabilities & Others with Access & Functional Needs (AFN) in Disaster Operations
  • FEMA IS-650.B: Building Partnerships with Tribal Governments

The EDI Committee wants to help our team members connect our work to both our own business goals and our client engagements. 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.

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This November are you.. Falling for Finance?

Finance By Loretta Pascuzzo, Sr. Accounting Manager

What is the slogan for being an accountant? Be audit you can be.

 

I would like to thank everyone for their patience and cooperation during the transition for CAVU and myself. The team members at CONSTANT are awesome!

 

On the Finance side, we are transitioning payroll processing from P&C to CAVU effective November 1. If you have any questions about the process, timesheets, coding, or payroll-related questions, please contact me.

 

Changes to the expense process include the following:

  • CAVU will import all AMEX transactions into Unanet on the 3rd of the month for the prior month’s transactions.
  • I will send an email to each employee with their listed transactions for AMEX.
  • Employees will then need to create an expense report, import their AMEX transactions into the expense report, and submit.

This will help to resolve the pain points that we are currently experiencing with expense reporting. If you have any questions about expenses, please reach out to me.

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How to Fix a Computer Problem? Pumpkin Patch it!

Information Technology By Morgan Forrest, IT Manager

Fresh out of the oven, we’ve been turkin’ on this one! It’s CONSTANT’s International Travel Policy. Additional security measures are required based on the sensitive nature of our work and the Facility Security Clearance CONSTANT has been entrusted with. This is part of broader efforts to continue mitigating our cyber risk and staying ahead of industry standards. A huge thanks to Shelia and the ELT for all the work that went into this.

 

This month I found a shortcut in Word that some of you may want to use. If you are working on a document and you have to hit “CTRL” before opening a hyperlink, here is a tip:

  • Click on File and select Options
  • Once the Options window opens, select Advanced
  • In that window, uncheck “Use CTRL + Click to follow hyperlink

When in doubt? Reach out. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Please submit a ticket to helpdesk@constantassociates.com.

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The first person to solve this correctly and email it to Brea wins a prize!

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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.