Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: The WorkShop

Sacramento’s Impact Global Venture Summit recap

Conferences, Event Recap, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, Internet of Things, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Learning, Non-profit, Public Sector, Sacramento, Startup Company, Technology, The WorkShop


Photo credit: Impact Venture Capital

By Terry Daffin (PMP), Shyanne Long (CSM), and Lucie-Anne Radimsky (CSPO)

KAI Partners was in full force at Impact Venture Capital’s recent Impact Global Venture Summit!

Our organization thrives on innovation and partnership, so the summit was a great opportunity to meet with local entrepreneurs, businesses, and funders of next generation technology in Sacramento.

While the idea of “global” attached event in Sacramento might raise some eyebrows, we can assure you that the event lived up to its geographic expectations—we met with people from over 20 different countries who are currently living and innovating in the Sacramento area.

The innovative organizations in attendance at the summit represented industries such as agriculture, construction, IoT, VR products for the military, Blockchain, education, and entertainment.

What Sacramento may lack in density, we make up for in diversity, which is critical to long-term growth and success of any organization and/or region. The Impact Global Venture Summit was a good reminder that although Sacramento has always been top of mind due to its proximity to political power as the State’s capital, its popularity is starting to grow.

Rising costs in the Bay Area; our region’s thriving healthcare, construction, and agriculture sectors; the proximity to research institutions; and a skilled workforce and space spurring a resurgence of manufacturing all play an important role in attracting entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world.

Take for example autonomous vehicles, which is a priority for the Sacramento Urban Technology Lab, led by Louis Stewart of the City of Sacramento. Mr. Stewart presented this concept at the summit and discussed the initiative’s far-reaching implications in terms of raising our profile globally to Asia and Europe, including work-study visits to Germany and discussing with China the possibility of a training university co-locating in our region. Louis was joined by the CEO of SMUD, who have announced they will contribute $15 million toward the creation of a California Mobility Center, which will play a pivotal role in redefining SMUD’s future beyond selling electrons.

This topic was reiterated by Jan Geldmacher of Sprint, who discussed the rising importance of networks supporting the technologies of the future through 5G. He detailed Sprint’s latest project, self-driving robotic charging stations, which will service parked cars in heavily dense urban areas where static charging stations are uncommon.

It was empowering to have strong businesswomen in attendance and speaking on panels. During the “Women in Tech” panel, it was noted that in the future, there will not need to be a separate segment and panel just for women. Hopefully, it will be a given that women will not only be included, but also ingrained in technology, innovation, and all things business related. One panelist who stood out was Brissa Quiroz, the Director of the Valley Industry Partnership (VIP) Program at Fresno State University. With a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering, Ms. Quiroz expressed her passion for fostering students interests in STEM programs, especially those who come from low income and minority groups. Ms. Quiroz made it clear that she hopes to get more girls into STEM programs and keep their interest thriving.

The event also included Epic Office Hours for current and future startup founders to ask questions and receive advice from some of the area’s most successful founders and investors on what it takes to succeed in this new ecosystem of innovation and disruption.

KAI Partners was pleased to be one of over 1,000 attendees enjoying this premiere event supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in the Sacramento region. Did you attend the Impact Global Venture Summit? What were you most excited to learn?

About the Authors: Terry Daffin is the Community Manager of KAI Partners’ coworking and collaboration space, The WorkShop Sacramento. Lucie-Anne Radimsky KAI Partners’ Business Development Lead, covering all divisions of KAI Partners, including training and managed IT services. Shyanne Long is an Associate Business Analyst supporting business intelligence and research.

Sacramento’s Commitment to Community through Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development

Community Service, Coworking, Entrepreneurship, Event Recap, 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.

Giving Tuesday: Sacramento Edition

Community Service, First Responder Support Network, Front Street Animal Shelter, Giving Tuesday, River City Food Bank, Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, The WorkShop, WEAVE

Happy #GivingTuesday, Sacramento! With Thanksgiving behind us, we’re now officially in the holiday season. We always want to keep our eye on what’s important, which is why we wanted to highlight some of our favorite charitable organizations in the Sacramento area—and, we’d love for you to share your favorite community service organizations with us, as well!

WEAVE, Inc.: WEAVE is the primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County.

Sacramento Steps Forward: Sacramento Steps Forward is a nonprofit organization committed to ending homelessness in our region through collaboration, innovation, and connecting people to services.

First Responder Support Network: The mission of the First Responder Support Network (FRSN) is to provide educational treatment programs to promote recovery from stress and critical incidents experienced by first responders and their families.

River City Food Bank: River City Food Bank’s mission is to alleviate hunger in Sacramento County by providing healthy emergency food and other assistance.

Have canned goods to donate? The WorkShop Sacramento is home to a River City Food Bank donation bin this season—stop by 3301 C St. #1000 with your non-perishables!

Front Street Animal Shelter: The Front Street Animal Shelter not only cares for lost and abandoned animals in our community, they also provide a variety of services that protect both citizens and animals.

Happy #GivingTuesday!

3 Tips on Using Servant Leadership to Build Successful Relationships

Communications, Coworking, Employee Engagement, Human Resources, KAI Partners, Managing/Leadership, Sacramento, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, SHRM, The WorkShop

By Melissa McManus, Ed.D, SHRM-CP, CSM, LSSGB

As a People Operations Manager (traditionally, an HR Manager), my focus is relationship centric. From relationship management to talent management and everything in between, people are at the center of what I do—hence my job title!

Without strong relationships, I would not be able to do my job effectively. Business relationships are important both outside and inside of the organization. Strong relationships lead to strong teams. These are important in any organization because there is an ability to accomplish more together than as individuals. But how does one go about building strong and resilient relationships?

Relationships fundamentally, must be two pronged. There must be effort made on both sides for a strong working relationship to develop. The expectation must be mutual where all parties feel that equal participation and effort are being put forth. This creates accountability and reliability as well. Managing that expectation is important to making sure everyone is on the same page.

In my organization, we have always worked in teams in one way or another. I have worked with teams as small as two and as large as eight. As an introvert, working on teams was not always my first choice; however, I’ve come to not only appreciate the team dynamic but in some instances, I rely on those relationships when I’m stuck or just need to talk through something that I am working on. And, I am able to offer the same to my colleagues as well, because we have built that relationship.

Ideally, the focus of the relationship is not what you can get out of it.

Relationships are about what you put into it and what you can offer the other person, like the sharing of ideas and strengths to get to the best possible outcome.

In my opinion, a relationship needs be cultivated and built. One way this can be done is through a servant leadership approach or attitude, which demonstrates care and compassion. It is the will to serve others first. Here are a few ideas to demonstrate how using a servant leadership approach can assist you in developing strong lasting relationships and teams.

  1. Demonstrate and Encourage: Build the kind of relationship and team you want through example. Let others see you serve and it will naturally encourage that behavior in others. People see what you do and if you are serving others that in turn cultivates strong relationships and teams, it will catch on and others will want to join you.
  2. Invest: Give others your time. Offer to assist with projects, brainstorm together, etc. Let people know that you’re not too busy to assist them. Everyone’s time is valuable—show that by giving away some of yours.
  3. Care: One of the best ways we can build relationships in through example. The way we treat others is a direct reflection on how we want to be treated. Showing care for others is a fundamental stepping stone to building a strong, resilient, and lasting relationship.

KAI Partners recently celebrated 15 years of doing business in California. One way we’ve accomplished this is by fostering our relationships. Our new coworking space, The WorkShop – Sacramento, follows this same model. If you’re looking for a community of individuals who are always willing to talk through an issue or help one another succeed, then look no further than The WorkShop.

About the Author: Dr. Melissa McManus is the Human Resources Manager for KAI Partners. Melissa is passionate about human behavior and knowledge transfer and believes that human capital drives any organization to success. Melissa is a CSM, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and SHRM-Certified Professional. She holds a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. She is ardent about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), going to the movies, spending time with her munchkins, line dancing, being with friends and wine tasting.

Innovating Sacramento: Bringing STEAM Education to Sacramento Youth

Coding, Game Design, Information Technology, KAIP Academy, Learning, Sacramento, Sprite Tech Labs, STEAM/STEM, The WorkShop, Training

By Jonathon Kaufman

Current perception points out San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Montreal are the places to be if you want to develop games. But Sacramento is quickly becoming a nerve center for gaming innovation. The city is culturally diverse, home of government, twin rivers, and, according to the ESA (Electronic Software Association), 25 game development studios including Electronic Arts.

We have a strong gaming community here in Sacramento with groups like Sac Dev Collective and the Sacramento Unity Users Group, and it is only getting better. I believe that within the next decade, Sacramento will be in the top five cities in North America that people talk about when they discuss games.

Next Level STEAM Education for Youthful Innovation

As an independent game developer in Sacramento, CA, a member of the Sac Dev Collective, and a member/organizer of the Sacramento Unity Users Group, I had a discussion earlier this year about what to do with school-aged kids over the summer. This discussion led to the idea of creating a game design camp for kids. But naturally the idea grew into why only run it during the summer–why not all year-round?

That’s when Sprite Tech Labs was born. Sprite Tech Labs is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to bringing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education to Sacramento.

Our goal is to bring these programs to all the communities in the greater Sacramento area.

Character Design: Kids Game Design Boot Camp

The first venture in #LevelUpSac, as we call it, is our Kids Game Design Boot Camp. Earlier this week, we started our first week-long camp, where kids learn not only skills for games including Game Design, Level Design, and a game engine, but skills that they can use in other areas, such as programming and rapid prototyping.

During the boot camp, kids also learn basic coding skills using the Game Maker Studio game engine. These coding skills can be transferred to all kinds of areas, such as engineering, software engineering, VR technology, and much more.

They also create their own games. At the end of the boot camp, the games they develop will be available for anyone to play. This quick development is called rapid prototyping. By creating games quickly, they develop problem-solving and design skills that can be used in many different industries.

What’s Next for Sprite Tech Labs

Our goal is to slowly add other programs, such as animation, VR technology, programming, and other STEAM related programs, that can be taught year-round. Through these programs, kids can participate and learn the skills that can help them jump-start their careers–and possibly help them decide what they want to do as they grow up. With this program we are–as they say in gaming terms–Leveling Up Sacramento youth and giving them skills they can use in the future.

For more information on Sprite Tech Labs, or to get details on future programs, visit: http://www.spritetechlabs.com/ 

About the Author: Jonathon Kaufman is an independent game developer with a degree in Game Art and Design from the Art Institute of California, Sacramento. He is a co-founder of Sprite Tech Labs, an organization dedicated to educating young people in the art of game development. He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge and growing Sacramento into a future game hub for game developers to live, work and create. Jonathan lives in West Sacramento with his wife, Ashley Christman, 14-month-old son William, two dogs, Rigby and Bela, and a cat named Oliver.

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