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Hello and welcome back. Continuing our culture change theme. Welcome to Red Flags to consider when transforming your culture for the future. We’re delighted to have with us Katie Sibley, director of Employee Experience and Communication at HP. In a discussion moderated by Michelle Mahoney, senior principal at Daggerwing Group. They will share with us what the future work will mean for corporate culture, the red flags that can signal that culture effectiveness is at risk, and the important importance of aligning.
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Second is around culture as a strategic priority. Please remember to submit your questions as you think of them during the presentation. And with that, he’s take it away. Michelle and Katie. Thanks so much, Alan. And hello. Thanks for having us, everybody. Welcome. I hope the conference is going well so far and so thrilled to have with me Katie Sibley.
00:01:02:10 – 00:01:29:05
We’ve worked together for many years and worked with Katie, particularly as she was leading a giant transformation at Hewlett Packard Enterprise for HP, for sure. And that was about three or four, three years ago. My camp. Is that was that right, Katie I can’t quite remember. Yeah, right, exactly. And so since then though, a few things have happened.
00:01:29:05 – 00:02:00:13
So welcome, Katie. I’m so excited that you are have joined and we’re going to have this great conversation. A lot of our clients, you know, Daggerwing, we are change consultants and much of the work that we’ve been focusing on over the past few years is all about culture transformation, culture, evolution. And over the last year and a half, it’s even become more intense as organizations are really had to not necessarily rethink, but refocus their culture in the time of COVID social justice.
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And now as we go forward in the future of work. So with that said, I and with Katie leading this award winning transformation at HP, I know it’s been quite a journey for you all at HP, and I’m just wondering if you can tell us a little bit about that journey and and how it all got started. Yeah, absolutely.
00:02:22:04 – 00:02:45:01
A little bit of storytelling going back to 2019, really before, because we were in a lot of ways a new company. So Hewlett-Packard is a name that people recognize, but the company split into two and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the company I worked for, was born again. And in some ways and we had a new CEO, we had a new focus.
00:02:45:01 – 00:03:18:03
We had a giant transformation mission that we were trying to execute. We knew that we had rallied people around what we needed to do, our strategy, but we hadn’t clearly articulated how we needed to achieve that and what was our cultural foundation as a new company. So we started by just simply articulating the blueprint of what we wanted our culture to be and how we wanted people to show up and what we thought they needed to demonstrate in order for us to continue to to grow as a company.
00:03:18:04 – 00:03:38:13
I think that some of the things that set us up for success long term, so I can talk about this today, is that we got the right stakeholders involved very early. It was not an h.r. Or comms thing. This was a leadership thing. This was a company thing and getting all the stakeholders involved allowed us to get that early.
00:03:38:13 – 00:04:12:07
Bye. In the early alignment that we know is so important from a foundational standpoint with with culture transformations. In fact, i think it’s funny because the leader that really rallied the most around this was our CFO. You may remember this. And so because you partner like you and to see the numbers guy be it is so into culture and what we needed to achieve was really kind of explained how we were successful from the beginning in this so we could get the numbers guy involved and we can get anyone fired around around culture.
00:04:12:10 – 00:04:50:05
I remember that. I remember specifically getting coaching. On how I should interact with him because he was going to be your biggest cynic and use are cheerleader. And yeah, I think that getting that involvement allowed us to talk about this really authentically. So it wasn’t an h.r. Thing. It was a company thing. It was a business thing. And we really spent the first year after articulating those our culture beliefs, as we call it, behaviors, just building awareness around what they were and getting credibility by leaders talking about it and endorsing it, and that this was what we needed to work going forward.
00:04:50:06 – 00:05:18:08
So you had such a strong foundation and it was so successful in its implementation and you got to live with that foundation for a couple of years before 2020 hit. So. So then 2020, tell me at a very broad level, what where did what happened from a cultural perspective, from your perspective, especially in your role as sort of being one of the critical ushers of that culture?
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Yeah, it was a I think we can all say it was an interesting year. We we had from announcing sort of in rolling out our behaviors and beliefs, maybe only a half a year actually until we got to 2020. So we were still pretty new in the journey. And I would say that the biggest shift we had to make was honing our focus.
00:05:38:06 – 00:06:02:14
It was, where are we going to put our energy, how are we going to prioritize? Because there was a lot people were dealing with personally and at work. So we knew we needed to really hone in on what this critical. And one of the things we did is actually we went to employees, went to leaders, and we said what out of our culture beliefs do you think is most important to our transformation and that we need the most work on and on?
00:06:02:14 – 00:06:23:10
That buy in actually came up with the three things we wanted to focus on in 2020 were carrying those through this year as well. And we tried to keep it really tight because it just became too much for a lot of people. What were those three things They are? And I think these will come through our conversation today over comfort.
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So as an old new organization and being a technology company, we really need to help people see the benefit and taking smart risks. And of course, and there’s an audience on the phone, everyone kind of starts to go like, you’re telling people to take risks, But we really needed a more iterative way of working across the company versus checking all the boxes and then shipping a, you know, a product.
00:06:51:00 – 00:07:11:10
So courage over comfort was big and commitment Go was the other one. That’s about coming to a decision and making it and just everyone get on board and we got to go as fast as we can and the last was pushed for better. And these worked really well through 2020 because you can see how it’s not just our culture but how we should work.
00:07:11:11 – 00:07:31:11
And this is that’s really interesting and we’ll keep talking about those as we as we go through this. So I know we’ve we’ve framed this sort of as like, what are those red flags to watch, watch out for? And I’m going to talk about them more as lessons learn and reverse them and make them a little bit more positive.
00:07:31:12 – 00:07:59:10
So let’s take a deeper dive into to one of these. Now, one of the lessons that is coming out as we look forward into these new models of work is around flexibility. We know from the data is and you probably know this better than me, people in spite of all the a lot of the miseries of the last year and a half, people really value that flexible ability no matter where they sort of fall on the wanting to return to office versus remote spectrum.
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And so a lot of companies are looking at sort of chasing after what is the perfect model for for the work of of the future. And I think that can be a little dangerous because there is no perfect model. It really needs to work for your organization and your culture. So I’d love to hear a little bit more about how you’re navigating this at HP as you go into or out of out of this era and into the future with regards to how you’re treating flexibility at HP?
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Yeah, I mean, this is huge and what’s been really hard about it is nobody knew when that time would potentially be. So it’s like you don’t even know the time frame in which you need to make this decision. And what we’ve done is first communicate along the way and say, this is what we’re exploring, this is what we’re thinking about and getting feedback.
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But really starting a year ago, what we did is looked at our real estate data and said, How were people already using the office before? What was the historical view of how people used the office? And then we went and surveyed and got feedback from our employees and said, In the future, how do you want to use the office?
00:09:10:09 – 00:09:35:00
And talked to a lot about leadership around what are the things that are critical for people coming together and what do you see the future looking like? So based on all that input, we came up with a hybrid model and to your point, there’s no perfect models. I’m not advocating for a hybrid model for everybody, but I do think that fundamentally employees will be looking for flexibility going forward.
00:09:35:00 – 00:09:56:04
And I think companies that don’t embrace some level of that will have a harder time attracting and retaining talent because so many people are embracing it’s sort of the table stakes now. So our our approach is what we call edge to office. And team members were told in the future. Our sites mostly are not open in the US, they’re not open.
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And we told them you’re either going to be edge, which is where primarily outside of the office or office, which were very few people. And we were transforming, actually physically transforming our sites to be more like culture and collaboration centers. So they are more conference spaces, more cafes, places where people can come together. But for focus work there.
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We were able to do that virtually, and team members said they liked it. So that’s the model that that we’re going with going forward. I like how you spent a lot of time listening, and I think that’s another I know we’re not well, we’ll talk about that more in the context of how you’re communicating differently. But I really do feel like that’s such a huge lesson of this time.
00:10:42:10 – 00:11:05:03
Is it listening even harder than ever with your employees and your leaders? Yes, I think that’s an expectation to team members. Employees don’t want to just be told what to do. They want to have a say in it, even if it doesn’t go their way, because then you can say, well, listen, we looked at all of this. We think that this is best and you get much greater buy in when you do it that way.
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And, you know, hopefully make the better decision based on everyone’s feedback. Yeah, absolutely. So let’s talk let’s shift to talk a little bit more about a second lesson that we’ve that we’ve talked about, and that’s around the idea that systems need to evolve and change as you’re doubling down on culture to get the culture that you need and that you want.
00:11:29:09 – 00:11:59:02
So within that context, I know you talked about a couple of different systems from a communication and talent management perspective that connects to all of this. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing there and what what you’ve learned in this over this time. Yeah, I mean, we knew from the beginning that our culture needed to be more than just words that were on a poster and they needed to be embedded in every single touchpoint in the employee’s experience in our internal processes, programs, etc..
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So that was sort of on the way. But the two that that I’ve called out first from a communications perspective was just purely the, the frequency and the manner in which we communicated. Just as an example, before March 2020, we had quarterly really highly produced at member meetings. So once a quarter went out and said, Here’s what you’re doing, here’s the update.
00:12:23:12 – 00:12:53:00
Lots of Polish. In March 2020, we started going to weekly meetings. It was a huge shift for us and sometimes we had nothing substantial to say other than we’re in this together and there’s a lot of uncertainty, but it really allowed us to come together. It was a coalescing moment and going through the challenges that everyone was facing as a team and it allowed us to bring a lot of humanity into the way we work.
00:12:53:00 – 00:13:20:13
So instead of the Polish, you got our CEO in a t shirt and the dogs barking in the background and people just started to feel like they could relate to that. And so while that wasn’t necessarily planned, when we built our culture blueprint and sought to articulate it, I think it helped accelerate it. Because if you talk about courage over comfort for us, a vacuum going off in the middle of a team member meeting in 2019 would have been like a disaster.
00:13:21:00 – 00:13:41:09
Now it’s just everyone kind of chuckles and says. So that happens to me all the time. It’s just a new sense and relaxation and an understanding, and it tied really well. And then the second point you brought up was talent management. In this virtual environment, it back has been a lot harder for people to get because they don’t have a gut check right next to them.
00:13:41:10 – 00:14:13:11
So we have had to put a lot more rigor around helping our leaders have a really concentrated conversation around feedback and it’s a model where we thought at first we could just say, Hey, leaders, go and get going, have feedback with your team members. It just didn’t work. People were so busy in 2020 that things started just slipping, so we had to create some systems and tools, digital tool that we put out there that allowed for these nudges of.
00:14:13:12 – 00:14:55:01
Have you given feedback now? Have you thought about getting feedback on how, how your team member might need a mentor or do a shadowing program? So it was more high touch than we’re used to, but we got great feedback on it. And then if you want to go into that, it’s really it’s really important because some of the research I’m seeing now is as, as people have been disconnected, there’s retention issues, especially for people who have just joined companies either before COVID or during COVID because they haven’t had the chance to really develop the networks and the connections and the bonding that folks, you know, if you’ve been there for a few years and you
00:14:55:01 – 00:15:33:02
know, people, it was easier to to kind of get through this. So I think that’s it’s really important. I also, you know, as we get into our next issue here, I really like what you said around kind of the the way you’re communicating now is sort of bringing out the humanity in in people and your leaders. I heard that a lot from clients that that’s been a real side effect and that the same time leaders have really had to stretch their comfort zones to create that humanity and empathy in a way that would not honestly probably been thought of as appropriate in the past.
00:15:33:04 – 00:15:58:02
So this is one of the third lessons, which is really that needing to support leaders who need to now be leading and who have been leading through uncertainty, first of all, not knowing what’s coming around the corner, what’s next, what they should say, what they how they should communicate. And secondly, that idea of leading with know with empathy, pushing through that discomfort.
00:15:58:02 – 00:16:21:03
I know you have a lot that you have been tackling in that area. So tell us more. Yes, we needed people, leaders to show up big in the last year and on multiple fronts because we can do so much from a global level to 60,000 employees. But the experience is built on the person that you report to. I mean, everybody knows that.
00:16:21:04 – 00:16:43:03
So one of the things we did is just start really clearly outlining our expectations for leaders. And we didn’t have to create a whole lot of resources. People were really smart and we said, just simply start checking in with your team members, ask them how they’re doing, and then say, How are you really doing? Because everyone would say, Yeah, I’m okay, it’s fine.
00:16:43:04 – 00:17:10:03
But getting to that next level of connection and opening up a conversation that can be vulnerable and seeing from a wellness perspective, perspective how they’re doing that also is so much happening from a social justice perspective and political perspective. Just having that conversation and opening up the dialog was critical last year and we started communicating more with the the leaders.
00:17:10:03 – 00:17:37:12
We created a custom hub where we could put resources, our CEO doing video messages to them because we really needed them to drive in and be comfortable with getting a bit uncomfortable and doing things they hadn’t done in the past. And I remember you telling me, you know, connected to that, that there was a lot of work that you did not only around kind of the wellness and mental health that you’re talking about, but also in the DNI space.
00:17:37:13 – 00:18:06:11
And I was I remember you did this wonderful thing. You know what I’m what I’m talking about right now, the past. But yeah, well, the little when people when leaders were listening to the voices of employees related to DNI issues. Yes. So we knew that telling everybody that our belief is to be unconditionally inclusive is one thing. But hearing stories is really powerful and understanding why.
00:18:06:13 – 00:18:34:11
And we recorded some of our team members telling their personal stories, and we put them into a podcast. We called it a walk cast because we wanted leaders to go out and walk and listen to it and hearing the stories and the experiences of our team members. Some of most were not actually in the work environment it was growing up or other situations really drove home.
00:18:34:12 – 00:18:53:08
This experience of this really matters to me. I need to stand up and do something about this versus as telling them they need to do it. So it was a great success and it was just a way to highlight stories and build the tool, the the system of starting to listen because we needed the leaders. Even if they don’t know the answers.
00:18:53:10 – 00:19:15:03
You need to listen and open up. Silence is not an option anymore. Yeah, I just love what you did there and I think it was really, really powerful. And we’ve got one more lesson. And then I do want to go to some we’ve got some good questions coming in, so we’ll go to those next. So the last year, lesson learned is really being thoughtful.
00:19:15:04 – 00:19:41:11
You know, in this time that’s been so difficult and so challenging and, you know, really tragic for for real people. There’s also been some, I think, learnings and things that we want to carry forward as people and as organizations and being just being thoughtful about how you do that so that you don’t lapse back into those old ways that really weren’t weren’t better.
00:19:41:12 – 00:20:09:14
Tell us a little bit about that and how you are doing that at HP and what are the things that you are working to carry forward? Yeah, I think there’s there’s a lot we want to carry forward from a communication standpoint. I think embracing courage over comfort, as we called it, or this kind of continuous learning pilot mentality is something we have to carry forward not just for the pandemic, but because it’s critical to our business going forward.
00:20:09:14 – 00:20:31:07
And we’ve actually embraces as a communications team. We came out a couple of months ago and said, we’re launching this new digital experience to help with this future of work. Here’s where we’re going. We’re not exactly sure how we’ll get there, but we’re going to tell you along the way, and even reading it from a global level lets people say, okay, wait, they didn’t check all the boxes before they came out and announced it.
00:20:31:08 – 00:20:53:09
I think that’s really critical. And the second piece is this whole concept of trust and empowerment that had to be given to people because they’re working from home. And I think it’s really critical seeing that leaders need to carry forward that we trust you to get your work done. We trust that you’re going to make the best decision for the company.
00:20:53:10 – 00:21:15:03
And empowerment is only as good as is when you take it and use it. And that’s the expectation, because we’re not always going to all be physically together to say, Hold your hands. Yes, it’s okay, go do that. So we had to really hit on trust and empowerment, and we’ll certainly carry that forward as a key element of our culture going forward.
00:21:15:04 – 00:21:38:04
I love the way that you really actively modeled this idea of courage over comfort and broadcasting your uncertainty and like, we’re going to try this and see if it works. And there’s a lot of talk I have seen in organizations about trying, you know, promoting that idea of experimentation. And part of that is that, you know, if you’re not feeling some of the time, you’re not doing it right.
00:21:38:07 – 00:22:08:13
So being able to really model that as a leader, I think is really important. The other thing you brought up yesterday that I when we were talking that I really wanted to touch on is we were talking about and I think everyone in this room can can relate to the citizens digital exhaustion. This idea of meeting exhaustion over one of the things we have relied on over the last year and a half or so is, well, we’re all virtual, so we’re living by Zoom, we’re living by the calendar and living by meetings.
00:22:09:00 – 00:22:29:01
I have a client who got their their Microsoft Analytics data back that said that they had ten times the number of meetings last year than they had before. It is unsustainable. That is not a norm. We want to continue and I know you know that, and I just was very interested in what you guys are doing to address that.
00:22:29:02 – 00:22:52:11
Yeah, it’s almost like we took what was working in an office and try to make it work exactly in a virtual environment. But then we invited everyone to the meetings because the meetings rooms weren’t confined to five chairs in the room. It’s it’s been a big issue. And what I saw a study that said that while the number of hours has gone up exponentially, that doesn’t necessarily translate to productivity.
00:22:52:12 – 00:23:17:02
So we’re not getting more done. We’re just spending a lot more time doing it. So our approach has been just to not necessarily have the solution, but to go out, acknowledge that it’s a problem and that it’s not an expectation that everybody is in meetings all day. And we rolled out some what we call house rules and the very simple things like does it need to be a meeting, Do you need to have a meeting on this?
00:23:17:05 – 00:23:58:02
Or maybe is just an email or a quick side conversation? And also who should be in a meeting? You shouldn’t have anyone there that doesn’t have a role in the conversation, the debate, the decision, the discussion. They can read the meeting notes, if not so just readjusting expectations and guidance, but then ultimately saying, yes, you’re empowered, you’re empowered to claim the meeting, you’re empowered to put this into practice, even when as far as saying no more our meetings, there should be 50 or 55 minutes, no more 30 minute meetings, 25 or 20 minutes at 10 minutes in the day actually makes a big difference and it sucks.
00:23:58:02 – 00:24:21:11
Creativity and innovation. So certainly a focus came in clearly. Absolutely. I read somewhere that even just getting up and walking around your house a couple loops or your apartment or your room or whatever in between meetings helps so much for circulation, exercise, mental health. So that’s a good suggestion you can make in your house. You’ll use that 5 minutes.
00:24:21:12 – 00:24:47:02
All right. Let’s go to questions because I think there’s some good ones. I know some things that you’re working on right now. So the first one is Sandy asks, How do you sustain collaboration in a hybrid work model? Well, one thing is to set the expectation that well for us that if you’re an edge worker or you primarily work outside the office, there’s absolutely times when you should be in the office and articulating when that is.
00:24:47:02 – 00:25:13:13
So maybe there’s a brainstorm session or a training or something that people actually do need to come together for. And we encourage that and we’re actually building our sites to facilitate more of that. So more conference rooms, more space that people can come together. I think it’s also about getting the right digital tools and making sure that people understand how to collaborate in a new way.
00:25:13:13 – 00:25:36:08
It doesn’t have to be a meeting. It can be a live brainstorm document, it can be an ongoing forum chat. There’s lots of different tools out there that work, and I think we all need to start getting more creative other than just kind of defaulting to these virtual Zoom meetings of demonstrating what collaboration can look like in a virtual environment.
00:25:36:09 – 00:25:55:13
Agreed. I think another challenge around that people are having, because we’ve all been remote 100% and now going to hybrid, you’ve got some people remote, some people in the office. And that sounds it sounds like organizations are really struggling because that’s kind of the worst of all possible worlds. And in a meeting environment, you know how it is.
00:25:55:13 – 00:26:26:07
You got people around, people in the office. And how do you how do you do that as well? Yeah, we actually came out with a team Norms discussion guide or we gave it to people leaders and said, you need to have conversations about what your team norms are going to look like because we wanted to avoid that. So there may be certain days that you say, Hey, everybody, we’re all going to be in the office on Wednesdays and that way we can have our own ones, We can do our team meetings so no one’s left feeling remote.
00:26:26:07 – 00:26:46:07
Like, I hate the idea that we don’t use the word remote worker because we want to keep the connection. No one should feel remote. that’s encouraging. Yeah. It’s like when you think about it, you’re like, now culture is about bringing people together. I like that. Katie Here’s another question from TARU Howe. Hopefully I pronounce that correctly.
00:26:46:10 – 00:27:11:10
How are you doing? Anything to instill behavior, nudges and what have you done to overcome employee burnout and your push for better good ones? Yes. Okay, let’s go to burnout first, because I feel like that is so top of mind. I think it goes to the meeting piece. So push for better. What we’re trying to ask people to do is not to do more, but to do differently.
00:27:11:11 – 00:27:35:11
And saying it’s just about asking what if and having challenging conversations and encouraging debate. So I really we try not to make it feel like an extra lift, but it’s ingrained in how you work and what you do. And the burnout piece, I think you got to give people space. I mean, one of our house rules is check if it’s after someone’s hours.
00:27:35:14 – 00:28:08:00
Ask them if it’s okay to schedule a meeting, especially if you’re a senior executive, because people will just make it work and you don’t know it’s their daughter’s birthday. So having these kind of boundaries on people’s time is really important. We also ruled out Wellness Fridays and we always had those for half days. Now we have for summer two full Fridays every month and little things like this I think are really helpful and prioritizing wellness and helping with burnout.
00:28:08:01 – 00:28:30:04
So I think that was the first one and then the first one was about nudges behavior. Are you using behavior? Nudges? Yes. So like the feedback I mentioned earlier, we say, hey, people either have you gone and given feedback lately? We do a lot of these nudges. Sometimes they look like like that. Like we are clearly asking you to do something.
00:28:30:07 – 00:29:03:03
Sometimes they’re more subtle where it’s, hey, the CEO standing up and saying, I had this conversation. I encourage this person to go this to embrace this risk and do that. And it’s more about storytelling and showing the way versus a hard push nudge. It’s more setting the example and telling the stories around it that hopefully start to get in people’s minds of like, I could go this easy way, but I really think this harder way is right and I think I’m going to go for it and then celebrate.
00:29:03:03 – 00:29:31:10
And that’s great. Eric had a follow up question to what you mentioned before. What what were do you use instead of remote worker? What do you say? EDGE So we have a business called the Intelligent Edge. It’s about data at the edge. So it’s a vernacular that we use. And because remote didn’t work, home doesn’t work either. People can get their work done in a park or in a coffee shop.
00:29:31:12 – 00:29:50:02
So we wanted it to be a really broad term that allowed people to pick the place they feel the most productive. Yeah, that I love that. That makes so much sense. And I love the way you branded that that the edge, which is very special for you guys at HP. Okay. We are being nudged right now off the stage here.
00:29:50:02 – 00:30:14:10
I know there’s a few more questions and everyone, you know, feel free to reach out to Katie on LinkedIn or myself on LinkedIn. And if you want to learn about Daggerwing, you can visit our our, our virtual our virtual booth as well. So, Katie, you know, I love you and thank you so much for for the conversation and to sharing all the great things that you’re doing at HP.
00:30:14:10 – 00:30:35:13
It’s very exciting. Yeah, I’m glad they nudged us because you and I could go on for hours about this. So obviously you’re very passionate about it, but thank you for having me. It’s been a great discussion and thank you and dagger win for your partnership. It wouldn’t have been possible without you all. Thanks, Katie. Grades. Well, thank you both to Katie Michelle, for those insights.
00:30:35:13 – 00:31:04:10
I learned certainly quite a bit, putting back authenticity, back on leadership. I love that. Obviously, I’m with the company. We’ve just gotten started and then we’ve already heard from so many wonderful speakers. And now it’s time to hear the most important voice at the conference and that is yours and you being our participants. So when you see a pop ups enter your first networking session on culture change, we hope that you join with your camera on and your audio ready.
00:31:04:11 – 00:31:29:05
You’ll be in a Zoom meeting with our discussion leader show Ferguson from Daggerwing Group co-founder and President. She will give everyone a question or two to discuss. Then you’ll be sent into smaller breakouts with small group discussion begins. Please introduce yourself and make sure everyone has a chance to contribute when small group is discussed. When the smog of discussion is over, everyone will come together again to share some insights as a group.
00:31:29:06 – 00:32:16:04
The networking session will start in just a few minutes at 115 Eastern and we hope to see you there. Thank you.