10 years of Diversity and Flexibility
When I received a request to make this speech, I thought: “What an excellent opportunity for myself to reflect upon the past 2,5 years at the company”. What does Visionary Analytics mean to me? It was both a personal adventure for me as well as a professional adventure for the company itself. I can now proudly say that I have witnessed a quarter of the company’s history. I am sure that many of you will agree that this period has been an emotional and a professional roller coaster for all of us (e.g., the worldwide pandemic, the war in Ukraine). But today I mean it in a positive way. Because all the challenges we faced have shown to us the true values of the company and of the people who work here.
What does Visionary Analytics mean to me? I believe that I have an answer to my research question after a series of in-depth interviews, focus groups, and careful triangulation of evidence. What makes us unique both as a company and as a group of people working together is the ability to accommodate, understand, accept, and adapt. VA means flexibility, VA means perseverance, and – very importantly – VA means acceptance and inclusion. When I started at Visionary Analytics back in January 2020, I was the first expat employee to work at the company. Despite that the company processes and documentation have all shifted to English to accommodate for my needs. People have always been there for me whenever I needed help or guidance. I had my own mentor. And believe me I have never heard of a consultancy with such flexible working arrangements. I am very serious as I do have quite a number of friends who envy me when it comes to how flexible my work is. I believe that we should be proud of ourselves and of what our working culture has become.
Of course, I cannot stress enough how much all of you mean to me personally. Not just as colleagues. Moving to Lithuania for me was an adventure, a gamble. I had not heard much about it, apart from the fact that the former president Dalia Grybauskaite was a real kick-ass. But, no, seriously. I couldn’t stop thinking: “Who would my future colleagues be? Would I fit in? Would my relationships with them work out well? What would my new team look like?” Fortunately, I was greeted by a team of one of the most inclusive and considerate colleagues that one could possibly wish for. I discovered Visionary Analytics, and I discovered Lithuania. Today I am proudly advertising not just jobs and internships at VA, but also recommending Trakai to my friends and insisting that they have Cepelinai and Šaltibarščiai.
So, what is it that makes us so great as a team? For starters, what I appreciate about every single one of you is that you strive for the better. That is our key to future success. The way we communicate with each other, and acknowledge our own faults as well as try to work on them. That is something that helps to propel the company forward. How to write better tenders, how to communicate more openly, how to get new clients, how to improve administrative processes… Every year we try to find new areas where we could improve, and we are never satisfied with mediocrity. I believe that it is wonderful. That is motivational. That is inspiring. Because this is the motor of progress.
What I also find wonderful is how flexible we are when talking to each other. There is no rigidity. No informal social hierarchy among us. Never have I felt patronized but always as an equal whose opinion matters and who is encouraged to take up his own share of responsibility. It is also kind of cool to have lunches with your director and talk about anything at the table – ranging from the Eastern European accents of the local Prime Ministers to future travel recommendations. This has greatly helped me in breaking some of my own cultural barriers. And I have you all to thank for that.
Look at us today, an international company in every sense of that word. We are all very different people with very different backgrounds. Despite that, as the European Union says: “We are all united in diversity”. While I might have felt like an expat, when trying to buy a višnaite from a babuška in a kioskas, I have never felt like a foreigner in this company. And for that I am also very grateful for. The ability to accommodate and accept people for who they are, to see the best in them, and to help them grow is what will push VA forward. Let us stay united in diversity!
– Ildar Daminov