2022 JCA Company Meeting—Chicago, Celebrating Colleagues, and Lessons Learned

May 03, 2022

Last month in Chicago, JCA held its first in-person company gathering since the start of the pandemic. In our 30+ year history, we’ve made it a priority to take time annually to gather and discuss the state of the company, industry trends, and how we can be a more effective partner for our nonprofit clients.

A Distributed Company

Back in 1988, JCA started out as a traditional “work from office” company based in New York City. However, in the late 1990s, a couple of our colleagues decided that they wanted to move out of New York. Instead of waving goodbye, though, we decided to invest in technology that would allow them—and any other staff—to work remotely. Instead of being NYC-centric, our philosophy morphed into hiring the best people no matter where they lived. And, that’s what led us to be the distributed company you see today. Though we still have our traditional (downsized!) office headquarters in New York City, we have consultants and team members who work from home-offices from Oregon to Massachusetts to Florida. We even have a couple of teammates who are residents of our neighbor to the North—Canada!

Our Goal: Celebrate Our Colleagues

Since it had been several years since we all gathered, we went into the meeting with one clear goal: to get to know and celebrate our colleagues. Our planning committee took this into consideration when planning, with a clear focus on social sessions, collaborative activities, and team-bonding events. Almost everything we did played into the meeting’s overall theme: Superheroes Work Here!

Our Agenda: Sessions, Client Speakers, and Social Events

Core sessions included topics ranging from industry insights to project successes to a day in the life of a JCA team member. There were also social sessions, including speed networking and “Guess the JCA Superhero,” which offered fun and interactive ways to learn more about our coworkers. Additionally, several internal committees led sessions, including our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) taskforce, which ran an interactive session on leading inclusive meetings, complete with an original skit!

We had the privilege of having representatives from two Chicago-based clients—Steppenwolf Theatre Company and The Field Museum join us. They spoke about their organizations, mission, programming, and how JCA’s recent work had made a positive impact.

And, we can’t forget about the events! There was plenty of time for socializing and experiencing Chicago. We held a company outing at the Chicago Athletic Association, where our team was able to not only grab food and drinks and pull up a barstool to chat, but also go head-to-head in pool, bocce ball, shuffleboard, and foosball. Smaller groups organized outings to see a Chicago Blackhawks game, take in some local theatre, and some even braved Karaoke.


Lessons Learned

The JCA company gathering left employees feeling invigorated and excited for the future of JCA. It was a great reminder of the meaningful work that we provide to our nonprofit clients, and how we apply our Company Values of Integrity, Honesty, Excellence, Accountability and Respect in our day-to-day work.

We look forward to resuming our annual in-person meetings and creating the roadmap for JCA as we help our nonprofit partners build a brighter future.