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CEO Spotlight: Sue Evans, Evans Incorporated

Posted on July 16, 2012
Natalie O'LaughlinWritten by Natalie O'Laughlin | Email author

This month we interviewed CEO, Sue Evans of Evans Incorporated, a 2012 Helios Apollo Award winner. In this Q&A, Sue shares their employee development practices, community impact initiatives and the culture that Evans Incorporated embodies.

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Helios: Please tell us about Evans Incorporated and your passion as an organization.

Sue Evans: Evans Incorporated is passionate about helping leaders in organizations achieve significant results through human-centered change.  We partner with clients at all levels of the organization to create solutions that enhance the way people, process and technology work. We are recognized as leaders serving leaders in complex cultures, delivering human centered change that works in Federal agencies, Fortune 500, and international institutions.

Helios:  As an Apollo Award winner, what is one employee development initiative that you are most proud of?

Sue Evans: Evans recognizes that learning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. We developed a comprehensive employee development program that is designed to be tailored, where employees and their managers work together to select the approach that best meets individual interests and career plans.

To help attain the goal of an additional degree, Evans recently added a Tuition Reimbursement component to our Professional Development Policy despite the economic challenges and small size of the company.  As students, individuals are exposed to applied research and concepts directly related to our service offerings.  As employees, they actively bring their new knowledge back to the company to enhance their ability to address client problems, and to share with staff through regular brown bags and skills share sessions.  By partnering with these student/employees as they pursue their degrees, we’ve seen a stronger level of confidence and engagement in their client service delivery, and a greater passion and investment in the company’s growth and collaborative culture.  Helping staff attain graduate degrees continues to be a win-win for the individual and the company.

Helios: How does your organization make an impact in our community?

Sue Evans: We believe that an integral part of leadership development is encouraging and allowing employees to take ownership and responsibility for projects that are outside of their daily client responsibilities. We also wanted to broaden our volunteering efforts, so when one staff member approached the CEO with a plan for launching a new Corporate Volunteer Initiative, support and resources were dedicated to launch the initiative.

Volunteerism is thriving at Evans, and employees look forward to continuing to develop and demonstrate their leadership skills under this year’s theme, “Empowering Women for Positive Change.” Employees recently raised $3100 with over 50% staff participation the Susan Komen 5K run/walk for Breast Cancer; prepared dinners that were cooked and served at a local men’s shelter; and continue a year-long food drive in support of Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Helios: How do you keep employees engaged with your vision?

Sue Evans: Having a clear vision statement is the first step.  We follow the statement with frequent and clear communication around what it means, how we all impact it, and what we are doing to achieve it.  Our recent “voice of the employee” survey indicated that engagement with the vision is an area where continuous improvement is needed.  We’re working with staff to involve them in developing messages that are understood and resonate – to improve their sense of engagement with where we’re heading and why it’s important.

Helios: What’s the one word to describe your culture?

Sue Evans: Collaboration. As soon as an employee starts at Evans, there are opportunities designed to create collaboration.  Whether it’s the onboarding peer you receive through your 90-day onboarding process, cross-project team meetings, staff led brown bags, article sharing through the cloud-based collaboration site called Chatter or monthly staff meetings that imbed sharing and learning into the agendas, the culture fosters sharing with and learning from one another.  Evans recently demonstrated an outward display of this collaborative culture through a change in their physical environment  by investing recently in a new office location in Fairview Park with an open design, meeting rooms with large white boards for brainstorming, and space for open areas for discussion.  When the white board space runs out, there are special markers to catch all the ideas flowing on the windows, or “window-vation” as some staff like to call it.

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