SQA News | Winter 2019
Wins & Challenges
Out here in Los Angeles, we’re used to summer weather starting around now, but I still find myself reaching for a jacket every morning. Despite our lack of success in avoiding weather, we’ve been very successful in learning and growing as a company thanks to some leadership initiatives that have set us up for an incredible 2019 business year. We celebrated the most productive year ever at our holiday party in December, which was extra- special because we don’t often get a chance to see the entire team in one room at the same time. Our friend and renowned corporate advisor Don Lavoie shared some great advice with the team that I’ll talk about later, but I will say that I felt so proud sharing our successes with everyone and watching the team get inspired by Don’s presentation at our Corporate Update meeting that preceded our holiday celebration. I’ve never felt closer to the company as a whole- not only with my old friends who’ve been here to help send our growth off the charts, but also with our new team members who will help us keep growing.
We’ve worked hard for the past 24 years, and all of that groundwork has given us a broad reach across the many industries we’re so lucky to serve. My dad and I started SQA with the goal of establishing the trust and stellar reputation that we now have with our clients. Now is the time to keep selling our brand, especially the hands-on approach we take to quality. STEPQ, our Amazon cloud-based event management software, has been revamped and is already gaining a lot of positive attention from our key clients. Security with cloud-based systems is the hot topic of the day, with so many companies suffering from data breaches. Fortunately, our development and IT teams have worked tirelessly to make sure we use the best security measures to keep our clients’ data safe. We’ve also added on to our Business Development team to make sure we’re ready to support the industry. We’re more than prepared to tackle the challenges brought about by Brexit, new global compliance trends like serialization, and quality systems for fresh frontiers like cell therapy and biologics. Our team has never been bigger or better, and we look forward to many more challenges and wins as more companies expand their global supplier quality strategy.
As I mentioned earlier, Don Lavoie has helped out our team tremendously. As we grow, new challenges arise, and Don had the chance to talk to the team during our Corporate Update in December. He shared his ideas about time and priority management, some practical applications of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and 20 key tips for being a great leader. I listed a few below that I think everyone in a business setting could benefit from:
- Do what you say you will do
- Develop a sense of urgency
- Proactively collaborate
- Help raise the performance bar
- Consistency beats intensity
We also invited Don to our leadership retreat in February. He led us through two days of seminars that gave us some actionable ways to elevate our leadership strategies. We bonded even more as a team, and came back to work energized and ready to help our team tackle new challenges. Speaking of which…
Growing with the Times
Things sure have changed since SQA got its start back in 1995. The new workforce has unique assets that we are learning to leverage. It can be daunting to embrace a new perspective when the old way has worked for years, but our more tenured team members have done a great job of staying open-minded and adapting. Our global presence is strengthening every day, and being local around the world is a challenge for sure. By using technology and expanding the Regional Associate Manager (RAM) and Associate Awareness programs, we are doing a much better job of staying in touch with our global Associates. We’ve already had the chance to sit down and get to know 50 Associates from 15 countries this year! We’re tightening the bolts of our process via Kaizen and by keeping our internal team inspired through daily dashboard metrics and our very popular mantra sheet. Data security is evolving daily, but we’ve anticipated these issues by going to the cloud, implementing two-factor authentication, and using top-notch security for STEPQ.
Macro to Micro Challenges
We’ve been working in quality for almost a quarter of a century, but it seems that the challenges of a supply chain within any regulated industry are always the same. One of our biggest opportunities is to improve the way we anticipate these challenges and offer solutions, whether they are economic, geographic, technical, administrative, or related to scalability. Communicating how our services can mitigate these issues always needs to be our priority; it’s easy to forget that not everyone sees how hard our team works behind the scenes to support our Associates and ensure our clients get the best service on the market.
How can we be more engaged with our global Associate network? Are we reaching you on social media and through email blasts? What are we missing that you would benefit from?
Quality-critical industries are consistently evolving as technology grows, and we value outside input on what we should be looking out for. What are some trends that will make a big impact on quality over the next five years? How will Brexit impact quality assurance in global supply chains?
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to contact me for any reason at email@example.com!
Yours in Quality,
Out & About With Team SQA
Our leadership team had a fantastic time at their retreat back in December. Don Lavoie helped us come up with some great strategies to help each department be as successful as possible, and everyone came back to the office with fresh energy and ideas for 2019. Thanks so much for your help, Don!
Carla, our office manager, executed a fantastic outing for our annual SQA Olympics! #TeamSQA competed in javelin throwing, relay races, flag decoration, and Kahoot. Getting to know everyone better outside of the office was so much fun!
Nick Healy and Gil Jimenez ventured to Seattle in January, and got the chance to meet with two of our Associates. Nick is doing a fantastic job on his mission to meet 30 Associates in person this year, and our company-wide goal to meet 400 Associates is well underway. If you want to meet us in person, please reach out to your ADM representative to see if we will be in your neck of the woods this year!
SQA has the pleasure of sponsoring the SoCal PDA chapter, and we had a blast at their annual Vendor Night event at the Marconi Auto Museum. Our teammates Gerard Pearce and Liz Keenan serve on the board of the SoCal PDA, and the whole SQA team was happy to lend support to this awesome organization.
SQA volunteered with Walk With Sally, an incredible organization that provides a network of support for kids and families who have been affected by cancer. The Walk With Sally team organized a fun-filled day, and we’re so grateful that we got to help the kids and mentors with baking cookies, playing games, doing arts and crafts, and having an overall blast!
The SQA team will be attending and exhibiting at the following events:
- ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement (May 19-22, 2019)
- Space Tech Expo (May 20-22, 2019)
- Generis American Bio-Manufacturing Summit (June 18-19, 2019)
- PDA Europe Annual Meeting (June 26-27, 2019)
- Generis Pharmaceutical Outsourcing (September 22-24, 2019)
- PDA/FDA Joint Regulatory Conference (September 24-26, 2019)
- ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo (October 27-30, 2019)
- Generis Medical Device Summit (October 27-29, 2019)
- PCPC Symposium and QAC (October 29-30, 2019)
- Southern California Quality Conference (November 2, 2019)
- Generis Automotive Summit (November 3-5, 2019)
- Generis Aerospace & Defense Summit (December 10-12, 2019)
We are proud to announce that the SQA team has put 18 US military veterans to work so far in 2019! If you know any veterans with a background in quality assurance who are looking for work, please refer them to an Associate Development team member.
Jeanette Gonzalez has been an incredible asset since she joined the SQA family more than a year ago. She initially joined the team as the Office Manager at our Tech Center office in Hawthorne, but her curiosity and willingness to help the entire team succeed has led her to take on several different roles. She began splitting her time between the roles of Office Manager, Travel Coordinator, and Program Coordinator, and she now serves full time working in our Operations department. She’s an amazing team player, and she devotes the same mentality and energy to her community. She became a surrogate mother to help out a family friend, has two children of her own, and regularly volunteers at her local homeless shelter. Congratulations, Jeanette!
Chris Wells is an engineer with a background in aerospace and military quality assurance. He joined the SQA Associate team in 2015, and he has been an incredible asset to a program with a leading Southern California aerospace company. Both the client’s team and Chris’s peers at SQA have noticed how devoted Chris is to getting the job done correctly and enthusiastically. He’s been touted as a great teammate and the kind of guy you want to work alongside. He has worked to gain additional certifications to enhance his skills through Hexagon and Cerisurf, and he went through the process of obtaining Top Secret security clearance in order to work on various assignments. In his free time, Chris plays guitar, keyboard, and harmonica in a variety band, and he enjoys camping and hiking.
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