Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Event Recap

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associated with specific degrees did not match the actual skills acquired through that academic program and were outdated.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.

Bizwomen Mentoring Monday Event Recap

Communications, Event Recap, Marketing, Sacramento

Photo Credit: Sacramento Business Journal

By Shyanne Long, CSM

The Bizwomen Mentoring Monday event was held at the Sacramento State University Union Ballroom this year. There are 43 mentoring events by Business Journals throughout the country. During the introduction, it was shared that the Sacramento event was the third largest in size!

The first portion of the event consisted of mixing and mingling while enjoying some light refreshments. The sponsors had booths set up and they were handing out goodies while spreading the word about their organizations. Once everyone got settled in their seats, we were welcomed by the publisher of the Sacramento Business Journal. It was funny when he pointed out that he was the only man in the room. All the women looked around the room at each other and laughed. It was refreshing to see a room full of women varying in age, race, experience, and expertise.

Tina Reynolds, the founder and president of Uptown Studios, was the keynote speaker for Mentoring Monday. She offered a great sense of humor, confidence, honesty, and some helpful advice to the group. It was inspirational to hear her story and that many years of hard work paid off for her. One thing she said that stuck with me was that “we are all mentors.” We all have something to offer and can help people grow. Mentoring doesn’t have to just be about business. A mentor can support you through tough times in life, as well.

After Tina wrapped up her speech, the speed mentoring sessions began. All the mentors sat at tables and when you wanted to talk to a specific person, you’d line up to do so. Each session was seven minutes long and when the time was up, they’d ring a big bell.

Someone who stood out for me was Christine Mahon, the Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Associated General Contractors of California. She was in Sacramento’s Top 40 Under 40. I wanted to talk to her because I am studying communications in college and wanted to gain insight from someone who does it in their job every day. I gained specific tips and advice from her that I plan on using throughout my time in college.

I’d love to attend this event again next year. If you are considering going, I’d highly recommend it. I know it can be intimidating to talk to a lot of strangers, but the mentoring is well worth it–and the seven minutes flew by while speaking with the mentors!

About the Author: After completing the internship program, Shyanne is now an Associate Business Analyst for KAI Partners. She attends Sierra College and is studying Communications. Ms. Long plans on transferring to a university after completing her units at Sierra College. Shyanne is passionate about expanding her knowledge, working collaboratively, and making powerful connections. For fun, Shyanne enjoys spending time with her family, reading, listening to podcasts, volunteering, and (attempting) to recreate recipes she finds on Pinterest.

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.

StateScoop’s California Innovation Summit Event Recap

Agile, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Digital Transformation, Event Recap, Government, Information Technology, Innovation, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Lean Six Sigma, Learning, Professional Development, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

Photo Credit: StateScoop

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

The ballroom at the Kimpton Sawyer hotel was lit in neon pinks and purples; stylish tulip chairs graced the stage and large screens sprouted up from each side of the stage. This was not your typical public sector event—you could feel a sense of energy and possibility usually reserved for private sector sales events.

The event was StateScoop’s California Innovation Summit, which brought together agency CIOs, technology vendors, consultants, and public sector employees who filled the room to capacity (exemplified by the crowd of latecomers who lined the back of the room two rows deep).

We can safely assume that this event benefited greatly from the new Governor’s recent pronouncements and Executive Order, which clearly sent a signal as to his priorities for a more innovative and dynamic public sector.

Speakers included a formidable group of CIOs—some who are innovating locally, such as Ann Dunkin of the City of Santa Clara, and some who come from agencies where innovation and technology are critical to provide lifesaving services, such as Carla Simmons from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

I’ve attempted to summarize the highlights and calls to action that I took away from the event, including:

  • The public sector needs to focus on solutions that are citizen-first.
  • Trending technologies in the government sector include players like Smart Communities, AI, Digital ID, Blockchain, NIST/IO, and Gartner’s Digital Government Framework.
  • Hybrid IT is the new normal.
  • Collaboration is paramount, i.e., sharing information and resources like templates and best practices.
  • Exploring the potential of Sacramento as a Public Sector IT Hub.
  • Technology procurement demands improvement to keep up with technology advancements and collective bargaining opportunities.
  • Workforce gaps are real due to the speed of technology innovation.
  • A cultural shift is needed to support innovation.

From KAI Partners’ perspective, this is an incredible opportunity to address the multitude of challenges facing the public sector and help ensure a seamless, secure, and efficient delivery system where citizens are considered from the onset in developing strategic plans and programs.

KAI Partners has the privilege of working with complex systems and diverse projects across the public sector, where we can apply best practices and technology solutions through our network of partners and subject matter experts.

We also work hard to address the technical skill gaps in the region through our KAIP Academy. Our training courses include Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, and Agile/Scrum—these courses empower everyone from beginners to those more advanced in their careers to build their professional skills and respond to the needs of the market.

Amy Tong, CIO of the State of California, closed the event by reiterating the importance of a culture of innovation and encouraged attendees to be bold in developing new and creative ways to address problems, even if there is a risk of making mistakes or failures.

It’s clear the new normal that is beginning to envelop the public sector is a step in the right direction. KAI Partners is excited to continue to do our part to encourage and support public sector leaders to ring in this innovative chapter of government.

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 signed and represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, journalists, 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.

Rev Tech X “Future Technologies for a Better Government” Conference Recap

Conferences, Event Recap, Government, Information Technology, IT Modernization, Project Management, Public Sector Partners Rev Tech X, Sacramento

By Ryan Hatcher

California has long struggled with large technology projects and those of us working in IT often hear complaints about how Silicon Valley is only two hours away but decades ahead in software engineering.

This private/public divide is not new and there have long been efforts to borrow strategies and techniques from our southern neighbors. Some have succeeded, and some haven’t, but the fact remains that many state IT programs are large, complex, and resistant to change.

However, the benefits of modernization for taxpayers, state workers, and program beneficiaries represent a holy grail that is worth striving for.

For the last couple years, a team from KAI Partners has helped a large California state agency plan for the modernization of its IT system. Considering many of the subsystems targeted for modernization are 40-years-old and run on programming languages developed in the late ‘50s, this effort represents a monumental change for this agency and state government as a whole.

Replacing massively complex systems over several years for hundreds of millions of dollars requires research, careful planning, thorough change management efforts and, most of all, a clear vision.

That vision, along with other technology and innovation-centered topics from state agencies and organizations, was recently presented to a crowd of experts and state officials at the Rev Tech X conference in Sacramento.

The theme of this year’s event, hosted by Public Sector Partners, was “Future Technologies for a Better Government.”

By describing the vision for both a modernized system and a transformed state ecosystem capable of operating it, presenters in the session, “Technology Advances, Your Legacy IT Does Not” painted a clear picture of how public-sector IT projects can be done using private industry best practices and modern development techniques such as Agile development and Digital Services.

The ideas presented in this session have long been tested and proven individually in the public and private sector. However, when combined, successfully implemented in a state environment, and aligned to a clear vision, they represent what many see as our best hope yet of narrowing the gap between software development in the Sacramento and Silicon Valleys.

Many modernization projects are still young, but are on track to someday serve as a model for similar IT efforts. Until then, one thing is certain from the Rev Tech X conference—whether you’re in the public or private sector, it’s an exciting time to work in tech.

About the Author: Ryan Hatcher is a skilled communications and management consultant with over a decade of experience campaigning for government, public affairs, and political clients. A recent addition to KAI Partners, Ryan serves as an executive consultant providing communications support to one of California’s heath care agencies. He resides in Sacramento with his wife, Nikki, and their two dogs.

next page »