March 2023

Superhero of the Year: Meet David Sluss! 

By Adam Hayden

Summary

Briljent BRAVO is our employee recognition program that issues quarterly calls for nominations from colleagues and clients. At the end of each year, our recognition team reviews all quarterly nominations and selects one annual winner to receive the Briljent BRAVO Culture award. Congratulations to David Sluss, Instructional Design Team Lead and this year’s winner of the Culture Award!

I see passion in my coworkers. They care about their clients, and they care about their work, and we care about each other.

David Sluss

Recognition is our Superpower!

Matt Odum, Briljent President, often tells us, “Recognition is our superpower.” Following Matt’s lead, we’ve worked to institute Briljent BRAVO, an employee recognition program that issues quarterly calls for nominations from colleagues and clients. This approach to recognition is more than an opportunity to lift up our exceptional staff each quarter—it keeps recognition front and center in all our daily work. We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to recognize our peers. It is our superpower, after all.  

At the end of each year, our recognition team reviews all quarterly nominations, and from those submissions, the team selects one annual winner to receive the Briljent BRAVO Culture award.   

Congratulations to David Sluss, Instructional Design Team Lead and this year’s winner of the Culture Award! Let’s learn more about David and the selection process for the award. We asked David for his words of wisdom, and we can all learn something from his responses!  

Congratulations to David, Briljent’s 2022 BRAVO Culture Award Winner!

Last year, the Briljent BRAVO team received 79 nominations. From these nominations, the team awarded David for best meeting the criteria of the Culture Award (see more on the criteria below). This is a big deal! To win the Culture Award is to affirm that you showed what it means to be Briljent! We sat down with David to hear his experience and advice for living our culture and values.

How long have you been with Briljent, and what are your first memories of Briljent’s culture and its relevance to your work? 

I started with Briljent in July of 2015 and have been with the same client that entire time. My earliest impression of Briljent’s culture was how friendly and easy-going everyone seemed to be. It is always stressful starting a new position, but the collaborative environment created by my Briljent project managers and teammates made it a very comfortable space to learn and grow.

How do you see Briljent culture show up in Briljent’s leadership?

Briljent is coming up on its 25th year as a company. The character and values of our founder and CEO, Kathy Carrier, are woven into the fabric of who we are and how we work.   

In a previous position with another company, I used to teach a class that spoke to organizational culture. Most of the time, little thought is given to organizational culture by leadership. So, the result is often a culture that is muddled at best and toxic at worst. I do not know if Kathy set out to define a specific culture when she created the company. I think that it simply flowed naturally from who she is.

What are one or two ways that Briljent’s culture show up in your leadership?

The first word that comes to my mind is “passion.” I see passion in every communication and action from Briljent leadership. This is true not just from the very top, but in every layer of management down to the front line. I see passion in my coworkers. They care about their clients, and they care about their work, and we care about each other. 

At Briljent we root our culture in our NNIs. Which NNI speaks most loudly to you?

I think that the six Non-Negotiable Items combine to create that passion, mentioned above. If you had asked me at other times, you may have received a different answer, but right now, I would say: “To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required.” As I mentioned above, I am coming up on eight years with one client. That client supports programs for my home state’s most vulnerable individuals and families to gain access to the healthcare that they need. That is good and honorable work. I have been blessed to work for a company that actually lives out the ideas in its values statement. And since I have been blessed, it is important that I pay that forward in service to my client and the people that we serve together.

What does being recognized as a Briljent BRAVO Culture Award winner mean to you?

Everyone always says that they are humbled when they win an award. I do not win a lot of awards, so I never knew what they meant. And honestly, I never really believed them anyway! But with this award, I am humbled when I think about all the other folks who I think probably deserved it more than I did. Still, I can look at the plaque that came with the award on difficult days and maybe believe that I am doing alright in my work, after all.

Is Recognition Your Superpower, too?

No wonder David was this year’s Culture Award winner! We’d agree that you are doing alright, after all; in fact, we think you have superpowers! Congrats, David, the 2022 Annual BRAVO Culture Award winner!  

If recognition is your superpower, you’d fit in with us at Briljent. Check out what Brilliant Possibilities may await.

About the BRAVO Culture Award

The Briljent BRAVO Culture Award winner is decided by an intentional set of selection criteria, including participation, total nominations, sphere of exposure, culture concepts, and story. Let’s dig into these categories to see what it takes to be a Culture Award winner.

Participation

The Culture Award has always been focused on demonstrating our Briljent values (the Non-Negotiable Items, or NNIs). To keep the focus on recognition top of mind, we make sure the Briljent Culture Award Winner has sent at least one quarterly nomination to recognize another colleague.

Total Nominations

The award team factors in total nominations received for the year. Also, they track nominations from previous years to ensure we award a new winner each year and look for a pattern of participation and recognition over time.

Sphere of Exposure

We are mindful that some employees may have more exposure across the organization than others. While our projects vary, with expertise in healthcare, information technology, and social services, our employees do interact with several cross-functional teams, but given the variety of our client engagements, employees naturally work with some groups more than others. Also, our Work from Anywhere policy is a huge net benefit for our employees, but that policy may limit exposure, when we’re not all grabbing coffee from the same break room! To balance this effect, more weight is given to someone who is nominated while serving in a traditionally less visible role.

Culture Concepts

A strong nomination will highlight employees’ alignment with our NNIs, the Communication Creed, and each quarter’s culture theme. These are the foundations of Briljent’s community and culture. Each quarterly prompt is developed to encourage thoughtful reflection on actions that show one or more of these concepts.

Story

The most impactful nominations paint a picture of how the employee has embodied our culture and the specific quarterly theme. We ask that when giving a nomination, we help the Bravo team view the employees through their eyes. What did you see or hear, how did it make you feel, or how did their unique contribution support a fellow colleague or client?

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