Table XI Blog


Things we say at TXI

Does your organization have its own lingo? I’m thinking of words or phrases that are almost immediately associated with a particular person, team, or practice. Having worked at TXI for 2+ years, I’ve been reflecting on how our organization speaks to and with each other and why those personalized sayings become the glue that keeps our organization strong.

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New Hire Onboarding Rituals for a Distributed Workforce

In today's distributed workforce, starting a new role is often challenging. New hires are faced with creating a sense of belonging through virtual platforms, like Zoom, missing out on traditional in-person orientation experiences. Table XI has a different approach that not only checks all the boxes one would expect as a new employee but unifies the new hires with the entire organization through innovation and adaptability.

Pre-pandemic, one of the great benefits of being a TXI employee was the catered lunches provided by in-house chef Mark Estabrook.  Chef was a treasured team member and the organization wanted to prevent the need to furlough him.  TXI’s leadership deliberated how to continue their commitment to having him stay with the team as well as find a new role that would allow Chef to grow within the company. “Evolving his role and making a commitment to his desire to stay with the company was a priority of ours. We were responsive and adaptive in finding a place for him. These are the people who help create the authentic culture of the company. They help create an experience like no other.” shared CEO, Mark Rickmeier. Mark hired a facilitation coach to train Chef into becoming the coach he is today. 

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Technologies to Support Health and Happiness of LGBTQ+ Youth

Hopelab, a social innovation lab based in San Francisco, uses co-design methodology to explore solutions to common social problems faced by LGBTQ+ youth and young adults. The best design is functional as well as stimulating, but can it be aspirational? Can design thinking encourage wellbeing and be a process for manifesting hope? Can design create resources for a promising future for the LGBTQ+ community? Table XI and client partner, Hopelab, has confidence this can be achieved.

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Table XI Delivery Lead Talks the Power of Belonging

It’s Pride Month in Chicago, and at Table XI, that means celebrating diversity and inclusion.

Diversity, a term used more often to describe people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders and sexual orientations, really only captures a fraction of Lora’s story. Lora Ferraro, a long-term consultant and delivery lead at Table XI, possesses a colorful background of professional and personal life experiences. A passionate advocate and active voice behind the power of belonging within the workplace, we sat down to understand how the choices that she made helped her to arrive at the height of her career today.

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Judith Sol-Dyess talks Table XI, Values, and Creating an Inclusive Company

Judith, a TXI delivery lead, is sitting in her office filled with a lush garden of plants that creep up her wall giving way to a collection of framed lithograph art. She moved across the pond to Catalonia last year with her family to begin a new chapter of her life. Even though Judith embarked upon a new phase, she still has strong ties to Table XI and has managed to find a balance so she can continue working with the company as a consultant.
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Kinetic Learning: Learn to Love Self-Conferencing

A few weeks back, I was clearing out my inbox and browsing the folder where I had bookmarked dozens of articles to read (at some point) when it suddenly dawned on me: my routine had become my enemy. 

Let me explain. 

First off, it will probably come as a surprise to no one that I work exclusively from home right now. This means my day is relatively predictable. I know who I am going to see, what I am going to talk about, and when I am going to do these things. From one perspective, it’s rather fortifying. No surprises (for the most part). On the other hand, though, it’s quite limiting. No surprises. 

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One Year Later: Reflections on Table XI’s DEIB Progress

A year ago, Table XI made a commitment to incorporate a more rigorous DEIB lens to every facet of our culture and business in light of demands for change across the world. In response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others call for racial justice resounded around the world, and the team at Table XI took time to listen and reflect. A year ago today, we committed to making systemic changes to our organization’s approach to business with racial justice and accountability serving as guiding principles. One of those commitments was to be transparent about the actions we take and our progress along the way.

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Acknowledging Indigenous land and working toward reparations

A critical aspect of being anti-racist in America means to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. As part of a continued anti-racism effort at Table XI, we wrote a land acknowledgment to recognize the Indigenous peoples of what we know today as North America. Specifically, we recognize that members of Table XI reside on the stolen homelands of:

  • The Council of 3 Fires (Ojibwa, Odawa, and Potawatomi) - Chicago
  • Duwamish Tribe - Seattle
  • Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Ute Tribes - Denver

Land acknowledgments have become increasingly common in areas of the world that are colonized — namely the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. They primarily serve as a reminder that the land we reside on was taken by force from Indigenous peoples, and that many of those peoples live on today. However, we also recognize that the land acknowledgment falls flat when used as a superficial gesture without any further call to action (this critique of land acknowledgments explains further).

Our intent is to avoid performative allyship and engage in meaningful support. For that reason, it was important that our land acknowledgement include relevant historical context, draw knowledge directly from Indigenous content creators where possible and encourage donations to specific Indigenous organizations local to our areas.

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A diversity survey and report that allows nuanced identities

We had a lot of beliefs about who worked at Table XI, but not a lot of data. We had never done a diversity survey to see how people identified, in part because we weren’t a large organization and in part because we felt like we already knew the answer. Which is proof we fall into the same trap we’re constantly helping our partners avoid.

Forget what you think you know and ask questions of the people you’re trying to understand.

See the results in our first annual diversity report

To pull together the right survey questions, we had to think about what we were trying to learn, where it would ultimately be shared and most importantly, how we could make everyone feel comfortable sharing information about how they identify. It took us about half a year to figure out, but what we have now is a repeatable and representative process we can use to put real goals behind our diversity efforts going forward.

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Optimize Remote Facilitation with These 9 Tips

We had remote employees and remote project managers well before COVID-19, but the pandemic made remote facilitation part of everyone’s reality. It also made us realize we weren’t as optimized for remote work as we thought. 

In the past, if a technical issue came up during a meeting, we’d try to resolve it, but it would usually fall on the remote person to figure out what worked best for them. COVID-19 changed this: We had to get more deliberate, and our facilitations are better for it. 

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