This past month we announced the official launch of thrive(3), our company-wide initiative under one culture, one team, and 100 percent alignment with our partners. In order to better deliver on our three pillars, focused on sustainability, digital innovation, and diversity, we’ve partnered with industry experts to help us strategically reach our goals this year and beyond.

We sat down with Verdis Group, Slalom, and LV Jones Consulting to discuss what makes them experts, why they are excited about the future of their unique industries, and what they’re looking forward to in working alongside SSA.

Sustainability growth with Verdis Group
Verdis Group Logo

Tell us a bit about what makes you an expert in your field.

Verdis: We specialize in strategic climate action, climate resilience, and sustainability planning for large organizations. Since 2009, we’ve completed numerous in-depth planning projects including creating and implementing Climate Action Plans. Engagement is at the very core of what we do, and mission-driven organizations such as the SSA Group are our favorite clients to work with.

Over the last 13 years, we have dedicated ourselves to our mission to create a thriving and resilient world. Many clients retain us to implement the strategies that emerge from the planning processes, allowing us to have built wide-ranging expertise on issues such as emissions reduction, active transportation, climate resilience, community engagement, behavior change, waste management and recycling, and much more.

Where do you see the industry headed in the next year/next five years?

Verdis: We see sustainability and climate action accelerating rapidly across all industries over the next five years. As organizations realize our economic activities cannot be decoupled from environmental impacts, we’ll also see an increase in nature-based solutions and regenerative principles.

What is your vision for the work you are doing with SSA?

Verdis: We see a company catalyzing sustainability and climate action across cultural organizations. SSA already has a solid sustainability foundation and thus a strong influence in their organization and with their partners. Our vision is to meet them where they are and see how much more transformative they can be to the 50+ million people they serve annually. SSA can model regenerative business and catalyze climate action across cultural organizations, helping to create a thriving and resilient world for generations to come.

Why do you enjoy partnering with SSA?

Verdis: We have had an overlapping engagement with SSA in zoos and aquariums over the last five years and have been consistently impressed with SSA’s leadership role in developing and implementing sustainability initiatives with their clients and partners. In recent years, service providers have received requests from clients to come along on their sustainability journey; While SSA has seen some of that, they more frequently receive requests for guidance. That kind of innovation and leadership is admirable and signals an ability to be forward-thinking, flexible, and eager to tackle challenges.

Digital innovation with Slalom
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Tell us a bit about what makes you an expert in your field.

Slalom: We are a global consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation. We build deep relationships with our clients in 42 markets around the world while sharing insights across markets to bring the full breadth of Slalom’s expertise to every engagement. Our regional Build Centers are hubs for innovation, attracting top talent to rapidly co-create the technology products of tomorrow. We also nurture strong partnerships with best-in-class technology providers, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Tableau.

Where do you see the industry headed in the next year/next five years?

Slalom: Digital and omnichannel will continue to become more prominent and in-demand among guests. Sheltering in place during the pandemic forced consumers to adopt digital channels for everyday activities from grocery shopping to telemedicine. This “forced digital adoption” accelerated consumer comfort level and preference for e-commerce and digital channels. This is even true among consumer groups who have historically been technology laggards.
Omnichannel, which leverages the best of physical and digital interactions into engaging experiences, will become a common expectation among guests. Thanks to the pandemic, consumers have become accustomed to omnichannel retail such as buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and buy-online-pickup-at-curb (BOPAC).

Omnichannel spending increased more than 70% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021 across the restaurant, retail, and grocery industries and contactless in-store payments have increased 450% since the start of the pandemic*. Cultural institutions that provide frictionless, omnichannel experiences will benefit from increased guest engagement, spending, and satisfaction.

*Carat 2021 Insights Report

What is your vision for the work you are doing with SSA?

Slalom: To help SSA:

  • drive frictionless digital and omnichannel experiences that enhance guest experiences while simultaneously driving business value for SSA and helping partners realize their missions.
  • continue leveraging digital and technology to reduce the time and effort staff members spend on burdensome tasks and enable them to focus on initiatives and tasks that transform the industry and guest experiences.
  • continue to quickly and successfully build internal capabilities necessary to meet thrive(3) mission statement.

Why do you enjoy partnering with SSA?

Slalom: Our shared values. Like SSA, our focus is our people – our staff, clients, and community. Slalom was founded on the idea that consulting doesn’t have to be a grueling, road-warrior career. We live and work in the same communities as our clients. Our promise, “Love your future”[1] guides our culture, our work, and our relationships—helping us uncover solutions that others don’t.

Diversity, equity & inclusion with LV Jones Consulting
LV Jones Logo

Tell us a bit about what makes you an expert in your field.

LV Jones: ​​LV Jones Consulting is a diversity marketing consulting firm founded by experienced community expert Tasha L. Jones. We’ve built our experience on partnering with public/private partnership organizations and nonprofits seeking brand alignment work to build strategic direction and team synergy in respectfully communicating with and about diverse audiences. For public/private partnerships and nonprofits looking to represent diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in their brands, LV Jones Consulting assists in building strategic insights to include stories, imagery, and experiences from the perspectives of diverse voices that are ethnically, mentally, physically, and neurologically diverse, as well as representing gender parity and sexual orientation equality. We are fiercely dedicated to the success of our clients by helping them thread an inclusive lens in alignment with their DEAI commitments.

Where do you see the industry headed in the next year/next five years?

LV Jones: I consider DEAI a culture, as opposed to an industry. I believe the culture of DEAI is going to continue to reveal pipelines and opportunities for team synergy throughout workplaces that choose to behave inclusively. There will be greater clarity in the work of operationalizing DEAI as businesses, leaders, and teams begin to respond to their DEAI assessments and staff surveys by implementing inclusive hiring processes, professional advancement matrices, and performance scorecards.

What is your vision for the work you are doing with SSA?

LV Jones: I look forward to exploring what SSA has been doing well and where there is room for improvement. SSA leaders have proven committed to the organization’s DEAI journey for the better part of a decade. Understandably, they’re ready to reassess their efforts and enhance their commitments. My vision is to start with an assessment of how SSA has delivered on their DEAI commitments and introduce opportunities to go deeper in the work of operating as a DEAI leader. What LV Jones Consulting will do is help SSA communicate their DEAI goals and initiatives with authenticity through language, imagery, and action.

Why do you enjoy partnering with SSA?

LV Jones: At LV Jones Consulting, we only work with clients who have already begun their own DEAI journey, as our vertical in this space focuses on diversity marketing and communications. Since DEAI is about workplace culture, our contributions are best suited for organizations that are committed to learning and operationalizing DEAI. That’s when we’re able help an organization authentically communicate how they’re walking the walk. SSA is an inspiration in the genuine way they’ve been self-evaluating and recalibrating their internal efforts. It’s refreshing to partner with this family-oriented business as they embark on this next phase of their DEAI journey.