This time last year, Eliassen Group employees were asked to take home their laptops and prepare to work from home for a couple of weeks. No one anticipated that, one year later, we would still be working from home, away from our offices and away from our colleagues.
2020 was a challenging year for everyone. Staying connected was perhaps more important than ever before. But as an organization, we are used to leaning on one another for support, inside and outside of day-to-day business.
At Eliassen Group, our annual Kickoff has been a cultural staple for many years with the intention of bringing people together to help foster relationships amongst peers. Despite the circumstances, Kickoff was a tradition we were not willing to part with. In years past, the entire organization has traveled to Boston to come together for a day of planning, inspiration, celebration, and team bonding. This year, like so many other organizations, communities, and families, we had to find a way to come together while staying apart.
While Kickoff 2021 was virtual, over 400 Eliassen Group employees joined together to carry on the tradition. Colleagues were celebrated and honored with awards, folks caught up during networking breaks, and a virtual cocktail party paired with a live performance by Little Stranger capped off a successful and invigorating event. This year, family members, roommates, and pets became part of the day, too!
The sense of community and optimism for the coming year was visceral, and it was no more palpable than during our Kickoff culture panel. During this segment of the day, five employees discussed their successes and challenges of 2020, both professional and personal.
Jason Hicks, a member of the panel, really drove home the theme of adjusting to change when he said:
“Language that we’ve started to use out of the gate is “your kids, your spouse’s, your pets - these are your coworkers. Let’s meet them. If they walk in during a call, introduce them. And that’s really humanized things... this is not easy, we're all dealing with situations we didn't plan on, lets embrace that, let's be real about this."
The vulnerability of Jason and the other four panelists resonated with the entirety of the organization. The result of the panel was a reflection on the resultant and sometimes uncomfortable growth that is the bright side of challenging situations. What the conversation revealed was that, while 2020 was a particularly and universally challenging year, joy and beautiful aspects of life persisted untarnished, even in the face of uncertainty and struggle.
In fact, as part of the event, we also shared a video, that captured exactly that – the silver linings, moments, and memories that we were still able to share during a difficult year.
This video, our panel and our 2021 Kickoff, as a whole, reflected the positivity, resilience, and support of the Eliassen Group community. After all, our purpose is to positively impact the lives of our employees, clients, consultants, and the communities in which we operate, and that purpose lives on, whether we are together or apart.