Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Community Service

3 Ways Organizations can Achieve their Goals

ADKAR, Community Service, Employee Engagement, Event Recap, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Prosci, Sacramento, Team Building

By Debbie Blagsvedt, CSM, LSSGB

A few weeks ago, I attended a networking event for Junior Achievement of Sacramento sponsored by the Sacramento Business Journal.

Dream Big & Reach Your Potential

Junior Achievement of Sacramento offers volunteer-delivered, kindergarten-12th grade programs to foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills. Junior Achievement uses experiential learning to inspire students in our community to dream big and reach their potential.

Walking Down Memory Lane

Walking through the doors, memories of my involvement with Junior Achievement in high school came flooding back. Listening to business leaders at the ripe old age of 16, I recall feeling a sense of excitement and curiosity about what it would mean to “reach my potential.”

The concepts introduced over 40 years ago still resonate with me today in my role as an OCM consultant as I work with organizations and encourage them to, “dream big and reach their potential.”

Major organizational change is about transformation—it’s a process of profound and radical change that takes an organization in a new direction and drives them to reach their potential.

So, what can organizations do to bring the lofty idea of dreams and potential into reality? Consider adopting these concepts when embarking on your next change initiative:

Change Initiative Tips

1. Collaborate on the vision. A vision is an essential part of any change initiative—and something that’s recommended by all the change management methodologies.

Without a vision, organizational change efforts can lead people in circles or question the organization’s sanity.

A well-developed vision helps boost urgency and maintains focus on the future.

Effective visions start with senior leadership imagining the future—but it doesn’t stop there.

Creating a vision requires collaboration with key stakeholders at all levels to ensure buy-in and shared ownership.

2. Embrace change as an opportunity: While working on a reorganization project, I asked workgroup members what excited them about the project. One member responded “opportunity,” which was followed by several heads nodding in agreement.

Change provides the opportunity to think differently, repair what’s not working, and build on elements that contribute to an organization’s success.

To go back to Junior Achievement principles, part of change being an opportunity is the commitment to “dream big.” Allow project teams to realize this opportunity through their engagement and involvement.

3. Believe that challenges can be overcome: Have a little faith, my friends! If we can land a man on the moon or develop a hand-held device that provides answers to the most obscure questions in seconds, then organizations can overcome formidable challenges.

Leaders must put their trust in staff to lead the charge.

In order to develop solutions to challenges, an effective approach is to have those closest to the challenge together work together with people who are not.

Engaging the right people at the right time with the right skills and attitude can bring an end to what was once a daunting barrier.

Final Thoughts

It was an honor to be back at my former Junior Achievement stomping grounds—and to be reminded that no matter our age, job, or current project, we can always use support to help us achieve our big dreams.

Does your organization need change management support? Contact us at info@kaipartners.com to learn more about how we can help your organization meet its goals!

About the Author: Debbie Blagsvedt is an Organizational Change Consultant with over 25 years’ experience in change management, performance management, process improvement, training, and facilitation. She has a worked in both the private, public, and non-profit sectors in industries that include health, legal, financial, social services, high tech, and transportation. She currently works as an Organizational Change Consultant with KAI Partners on assignment with a public sector agency. Debbie is passionate about collaboration among teams which she believes leads to high employee satisfaction and is equally fascinated with the rapid-fire speed of change and what it means for organizations today. Debbie grew up in the bay area but now considers Sacramento her home. She has many interests from home projects to wine tasting, volunteering, witnessing the changing face of Sacramento, and going on new adventures with her family and friends…Not to mention nightly walks and occasional mountain hikes with her dog, Emmett.

KAI Partners Staff Profile: President & CEO, David Kendall

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Community Service, Corporate Training, Entrepreneurship, Front Street Animal Shelter, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Learning, Managing/Leadership, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Professional Development, Program Management, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, Servant Leadership, Small Business, Training, WEAVE, Workforce Development

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of our very own President & CEO, David Kendall! David founded KAI Partners in 2003. As our President & CEO, he is a managing director for the organization, as well as service delivery lead for a number of our clients.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

David: I spent nine years in the U.S. Air Force performing a technical role related to electronic warfare. At the same time, I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from University of Maryland University College. After the Air Force and graduating from college, I worked for several different companies in project manager and program manager roles.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

David: I have my Project Management Professional (PMP)®, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®), and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO®) certifications. I’ve found that certifications give us a common language to talk about a particular domain. They provide a framework to execute tasks in a specific order to achieve an outcome. They also provide a professional community and opportunities for community service.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

David: For clients, my favorite part of my job is providing solutions to business problems. Helping solve problems means I can really see the value for our customers, partners, and our staff. My favorite part of being a small business President & CEO is individual and team development.

KAI: What is one of the most common questions you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

David: I frequently get asked by clients, “How do I manage change across my organization?” I recommend building coalitions, identifying change agents, and including these people in the process early and often. Internally, I sometimes get the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question. I think it’s important to communicate why we do what we do and how this relates back to all aspects of a person’s work—their own development, the team’s development, our community, and our customers.

At the end of the day, our goal is to help provide more reliable services to Californians, so it’s important to keep this at the forefront.

Now that we’ve learned more about David’s background and current work as both consultant and KAI Partners’ President & CEO, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with David Kendall:

Daily, must-visit website: For work, I visit Asana.com. It’s a flexible work management tool that allows the team to create a set of business rules so everyone can work successfully. For news and information, I go to the New York Times, LinkedIn, and—of course—social media sites.

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: The most recent audiobook I listened to was “Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us,” by Dan Lyons. I read this for the bi-monthly KAI Book Club. The book club is a newer endeavor for us internally. I’ve enjoyed the participation and a diversity of perspectives and thought-provoking discussion that comes out of our meetings. We also have a resident mixologist who creates thematic cocktails based on each book!

Best professional advice received: “Leaders are not appointed.” Another piece of advice I received is simply said (but not always simply done), and that is: Manage expectations. I’ve found that this applies to any management job at any level.

Book you can read over and over again: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio.

Most-recent binge-watched show: “Letterkenny” on Hulu.

About David: Mr. Kendall’s career serving the public sector includes key consulting positions for various health and human services agencies. Mr. Kendall supports a number of community partners in the Sacramento region, including WEAVE, Sacramento Steps Forward, and Front Street Animal Shelter. In his spare time, David enjoys playing golf and cooking.

Building a Business Community in Sacramento

Community Service, Conferences, Entrepreneurship, Event Recap, Innovation, Public Sector, Sacramento, Sacramento Metro Chamber, Small Business, Startup Company, Technology

Photo Credit: Sacramento Business Journal

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

KAI Partners is a community of diverse and talented individuals who believe in the value of service. We actively engage with our clients to find solutions that meet their goals and objectives. As a local small business, we are also involved in the Sacramento business community.

We recently attended business events hosted by the Sacramento Metro Chamber and the Sacramento Business Journal. We gathered alongside other local businesses at two unique and important events helping to raise the profile of doing business in the Sacramento region and celebrating local businesses’ successes.

It is truly mind-blowing what transpires in a room filled with people from disparate groups who enter quietly…and who are then asked to engage and lean into conversations that ultimately unite them. Not only does the volume seem to exponentially rise, but the feeling of hope and potential seems to take hold, permeating the room and the bloodstreams of those in attendance.

Competitors become partners, strangers become friends, and dreams become reality.

KAI Partners attended a members’ meeting at the Metro Chamber, which gathers local business representatives to reconnect with the Chamber and allows them to engage with other local business members and those looking to join. We participated in a group activity which sought to better understand the why regarding membership in the Chamber. The results are below, and I don’t think you’ll be surprised by the answers:

Most everyone in the room seemed to be searching for a more personal connection to others in the community—they wanted to be part of something bigger than themselves and realized that in order to benefit from this important resource, they needed to actively engage.

The Fastest Growing Companies event, sponsored by the Sacramento Business Journal, was slightly more glamorous and involved a sit-down lunch, but it too was built on community and focused on raising awareness around the success that many businesses—50 to be exact—are experiencing in the region.

It is interesting to note that the combined revenue generation of the top 50 companies exceeds $500 million—an accomplishment that we can all get behind considering these are mainly small- to medium-sized businesses.

This event was a reminder that we can all be successful. In the words of Bret Fair of 360 Risk Partners, one of the companies highlighted at the event, “Focus on what you do best and do it so well that people start to talk about you.”

On that note, let’s all get back to work and do what we do best—and let’s act on that. Did you attend either the Metro Chamber or Sacramento Business Journal events? What were your key takeaways?

About the Author: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe, on behalf of start-ups and non-profits. She has represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, press, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne has both American and E.U. citizenship. She is fluent in English and French. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She currently resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.

Sacramento’s Commitment to Community through Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development

Community Service, Coworking, Entrepreneurship, Event Recap, Hiring, Human Resources, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Non-profit, Public Sector, Sacramento, Startup Company, Technology, The WorkShop, Training, Workforce Development

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

It’s an exciting time to be in Sacramento—especially if you’re looking at it from the perspective of our sports franchises. From the King’s most successful season in over 10 years to a potential Major League Soccer bid and subsequent arena built in the Railyards—the sky is the limit and our local economy benefits from this success.

Beyond making headlines in the sports pages, nothing screams vibrant economy like a strong workforce and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

KAI Partners takes our community engagement role seriously. Our leadership not only makes community engagement possible—they make it a priority. Community engagement is fundamental to our values, and it is what helps us continue to thrive as an organization.

KAI Partners recently had the opportunity to participate in two events focused on community engagement through workforce development and entrepreneurship.

The first event, sponsored by Valley Vision, was the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Advisory Committee meeting. This event brought together educators and employers to continue to push forward important work around developing the ICT Workforce and relevant pathways.

A strong turnout by educators allowed for interesting discussions around curriculum and its relevance to various industries’ skill demands. In the future, I hope more employers attend events like these. Employers are one of the most important stakeholders in this ongoing conversation and after the ICT meeting, one thing was clear:

More exchange is needed between educators and employers.

An exercise we performed within our breakout group highlighted this disconnect between employers and academics. We were given two job descriptions and were asked to give feedback on the skills—both technical and soft skills—needed to perform these jobs. We found that the technical requirements that employers associated with specific degrees did not match the actual skills acquired through that academic program and were outdated. This highlighted another reason why all stakeholders must work in tandem to ensure perception matches reality.

Next up on KAI Partners’ agenda was Pitch Week, sponsored by Sacramento State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The day-long event included two afternoon sessions of startup pitches sponsored by StartupSac and Future Four & More (an annual regional Business Concept Competition for northern California community college and California State University students, hosted by one of the participating schools in the region).

According to Katherine Cota, the Executive Director at the Carlsen Center, “The purpose of this event is to develop business startups, boost economic development, encourage entrepreneurial thinking, connect students to angel investors and venture capitalists, and provide them with a wider, regional network of students, mentors, and professionals.”

From a plant-based prepared meal service exclusively for kids, to a blockchain solution to reduce efficiencies for real estate land registries, it was gratifying to see entrepreneurs of every age and creed participate.

The future looks bright and KAI Partners looks forward to continuing to support the innovation ecosystem.

We will continue to partner with academia, non-profits and public servants alike to ensure our region becomes stronger, more innovative, and more resilient. KAI Partners is always looking to meet new people, support organizations, and help cultivate solutions—especially solutions around public sector innovation.

We’d love to get to know you better—drop us a line in the comments below, or stop by our coworking and collaboration space, The WorkShop Sacramento.

About the Author: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe, on behalf of start-ups and non-profits. She has represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, press, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne has both American and E.U. citizenship. She is fluent in English and French. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She currently resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.

What IF Conference Recap

Alpen Technology Group, Community Service, Conferences, Event Recap, Healthcare, Information Security, Information Technology, Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, Systems Engineer, Technology, WEAVE, What IF Conference


Photo Credit: Impact Foundry/What IF Conference

By David Baker, CSM

I recently attended the What IF Conference along with a KAI Partners colleague. This event was sponsored by the Impact Foundry and took place at the McClellan Conference Center.

The sold-out event brought together non-profits and service providers from across the region to network and share best practices.

This year’s theme focused on creating sustainable community change, which demands increased collaboration across the non-profit community and increased investment by funders.

Dan Pallotta, a renowned public speaker whose TED Talk is the most viewed in the history of the series, served as Keynote. His presentation brought to light the hypocrisy of society’s expectations of non-profits’ effectiveness and impact while limiting their ability to fundraise, increase overhead costs in order to scale, and attract talent by offering competitive salaries not common in the corporate world (where salaries are inflated and impact is questionable).

As an IT Professional who provides Managed IT Services to small businesses and non-profit organizations, it was interesting to me to learn that IT is low on the priority list of non-profits and yet can yield the most value and ROI.

The What IF Conference provided an excellent opportunity to meet non-profit leaders and discuss the benefits of IT and how it can help them meet their goals. For example, a smooth-running IT infrastructure can help non-profits serve the community faster and more efficiently by:

  • Establishing network uptime, so clients can always reach you;
  • Keeping computers updated with the latest Microsoft patches so employees don’t lose productivity due to a slow computer; and
  • Increasing network security to prevent network breaches or virus attacks.

One panel that focused on the value of IT was Mini City, a start-up based in Atlanta, Georgia, that provides a platform dedicated to serving the homeless population in the area.

Mini City is technology-driven and is a great example of how technology can help non-profits and their customers. To date, Mini City has secured 500 Near Field Communication-enabled wristbands. Like Fitbit, this is wearable technology and serves as an identification tool for homeless residents and a connection to services at no charge to them. I thought it was awesome to see how technology is used to help the homeless.

In our local region, KAI Partners staff have participated in the Sacramento Steps Forward Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) counts, which helped gain a better understanding of the structure and data recuperated during an event like the PIT count. We also support key healthcare services through our work with healthcare-focused state agencies, and support non-profits like WEAVE to be more productive and effectively serve their community through our managed IT and consulting services.

KAI Partners strives to support systems with our IT and consulting services so that we can assure our vulnerable communities are getting the most from the talented non-profit staff who work tirelessly to provide services to them.

About the Author: Mr. Baker has 11 years of experience in IT ranging from help desk to network/systems engineer and working with different technologies such as Cisco, SonicWALL, Dell, VMware, and Microsoft. Mr. Baker currently works for KAI Partners as a Systems Engineer, helping clients meet their IT needs. For fun, Mr. Baker enjoys enjoy BBQing, photography, and fitness.

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