This year, our annual Centric Spring Meeting took place in Cincinnati on March 10 and 11. After a long two years of meeting virtually, over 400 of us were able to meet in person to learn, share and collaborate.
As a fully remote company, it is not very often we get together in person with our colleagues from across the country to catch up on each other’s work and personal lives.
This is especially true during a pandemic. Thankfully, we have finally reached a point of relative comfort that allowed us to once again have that important face-to-face interaction with our co-workers and friends at Centric Consulting’s Spring Meeting.
Thursday in Cincinnati
This year for our Spring Meeting, the employees of Centric returned to Cincinnati, Ohio. During the day on Thursday, many of our operating groups elected to have their own meetings to talk about ongoing projects, the year ahead, and to generally reconnect after being apart for so long.
As more and more people showed up in the lobby of the hotel throughout the day, you could feel the electricity in the air as members of Centric were able to put full 3D forms to the 2D faces they have worked with through Microsoft Teams over the last two years.
As working hours concluded, everyone began to make their way to the grand hall of the hotel for a group dinner, and eventually, the kickoff of this year’s Spring Meeting. This year’s meeting had the theme and feel of a high school reunion, which was fitting considering our long time apart.
Walking into the hall where the meeting took place, we were greeted by pictures of Centric employees from their high school days on the projector screens, sporting anything from old-school letterman’s jackets to tracksuits to totally rad mullets.
Over the next two hours, we heard company updates from our Leadership Team and got an amazing performance by our own Centric band, Bench Time.
Friday in Cincinnati
After a night of reconnecting with friends, the company gathered the next morning for breakfast, another main stage presentation and some amazing breakout sessions. Here are some highlights from Friday and some of the breakout sessions.
“Centric Talks: Family” Breakout Session
At Centric, having meaningful conversations on topics and issues that matter to our employees is an important part of our culture and core values. To help us keep listening and sharing, our internal diversity and inclusion initiative Centric Together will host quarterly Centric Talks dialogues on subjects that touch on our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace as well as how we show up in our communities outside of work.
During this breakout, Shan Mukhtar and Rebecca Luzadder had an open and honest conversation about the diverse ways we create a family and how those relationships and roles can impact our work experience. Centric is made up of a community of people with different life contexts, and this variety of experiences affects who we are and how we show up in the workplace.
Here are a few key takeaways from Shan and Rebecca’s conversation:
- Active listening is important in a dialogue between people. Make sure when you listen to someone speak, you fully absorb their words instead of thinking about how to respond when they finish talking.
- A dialogue is different from a debate or discussion. In a dialogue, we focus on exploring thoughts and feelings, learning without judgment and looking to broaden our own perspectives.
- During a dialogue, it is important to acknowledge and counteract your own assumptions. Having preconceived assumptions clouds our judgment and can close off the learning we can take from a dialogue.
- As facilitators in a dialogue, we should try to guide the conversation to maximize engagement of those involved, dig deeper beyond the surface level information given, address moments of conflict that arise to find the true source of feelings and high commonalities that reveal themselves.
“Moving Foward in IT” Breakout Session
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged businesses, operations and, some argue, permanently transformed the biotech industry. Despite a great deal of hardship, there are emerging silver linings from this historical period. The technology used to develop Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has broad applications for other diseases, and venture capital (VC) is flooding the life sciences market.
As life science companies form and grow, they follow a predictable, regulated pathway. If successful, this pathway supports a commercially available drug. Along this path, life science companies are often slow(er) to invest in IT and operations. Most of the focus is on research and development (R&D), drug development and manufacturing. IT is often run by a small yet mighty team.
Dima Nabokin, our Local Technology and Strategy Service Offering Lead in Boston, and Aaron Aude, our National Healthcare Practice Lead, gave us a look at one of our new offerings to help service our healthcare clients in their growing need for IT solutions that are affordable and easily digestible.
Here are a few of the main points from the presentation:
- Since 2004, venture capital (VC) in the life sciences has nearly sextupled. Over 47.6 billion in the first three months of 2022.
- Because of the increase in VC investments, we have seen a steep increase in biotech and life science startups that need help managing IT and operations.
- Whereas the usual cycle of drug development takes roughly 12.5 years, we believe COVID-19 vaccine development may have permanently accelerated this cycle and increased the demand for skills and talent in IT and operations.
- Most biotech and life science companies are concerned about clinical progression, but not as much with IT infrastructure, risk management, governance and strategic oversight.
- In startup biotech and life science companies, there may be only one person in charge of IT, security and operations. Because of this, these organizations need a partner who can help effectively manage and advise IT, security and operations.
More Breakout Sessions
In addition to these sessions, here are some others that covered a variety of topics:
- Wordle on Salesforce
- Marketing Campaigns are for Closers: Use Marketing Intelligence to Convert Leads to Opportunities
- Breakthrough Innovative Thinking
- UiPath: Learn the Latest Innovations in Automation
- The Whole Picture – An Icebreaker Activity
- Data & Analytics Microsoft Partnership Overview, What is it all about?
- UMCX: Value-Add Cross-Functional Perspectives Integrated in Every Project
- Delivery Excellence is a 9 Letter Word
- Resilience and Well-Being … How to Improve Your Well-Being with a Few Easy “Rewirements”
- Digital Transformation
- Centric Oxidize – A Game-Changing Accelerator for the D&A Practice
- The Art of Knockout Presentations
- You Can’t Handle the Truth – The Hidden Value of PMO’s