By Kassie McRostie
Throughout the year 2021, we have seen our team put in efforts like none other. To be a part of Team CANA is something special, not only because of our values, hard work, and uniqueness as a remote company but also due to the people who make this team special. We wanted to highlight four of our team members who recently were awarded the 2021 CANA Excellence Award for their significant efforts this past year. The awardees include Dan Sterrett (Principal Software Developer), Kristin Fairman (Senior Contracts Manager), Renee Carlucci (Principal Operations Research Analyst), and Aaron Luprek (Senior Software Developer).
We asked these team members a few questions about receiving their award. The first question we asked was, ”what did winning your award mean to you?”
Dan: “It was great to be appreciated and recognized for my personal achievements this year.”
Kristin: “Winning a CANA Excellence award for 2021 was an amazing experience. To be recognized for the work that I do was a wonderful feeling and being surrounded by my peers at the CANA offsite was truly a sweet experience.”
Renee: “It was an honor to be recognized for my work. There are a lot of great things happening at CANA, and I am thankful and excited to be a part of some revolutionary products we are creating for our customers.”
Aaron: “It meant a lot to know that leadership at CANA has confidence in me and the work that I've done. "Impostor syndrome," where you doubt your own abilities is very common in the tech field, and with recognition like this it is helpful to know that people you respect trust in you.”
Most successful people could usually tell you that they have some sort of “secret” to their success. For some, it may be their routine, mindset, or even the environment they are in. We asked our team members to share their “secret” to their success at CANA:
Dan: “My success at CANA can be attributed to all the great people whom I get to work with every day. We have a really talented team of individuals who all contribute to making each project successful.”
Kristin: “The secret to my success at CANA is to appreciate what each individual brings to the team, always ask a lot of questions, and know that it takes teamwork to be successful.”
Renee: “I am only successful due to the great team we have here at CANA. What a wonderful, brilliant, and collegial team we have - we inspire each other and together overcome the challenges presented to us.”
Aaron: “My secret to success at CANA is communication. It's an extra challenge at a remote company, but communicating freely with the team is essential to developing a quality product. Ask questions early when you don't understand something. Share what you've learned with the team. It's amazing how breakthroughs happen when you collaborate.”
In further recognition of these team members, CANA gave them a monetary award as well as a matched donation to a charity or foundation of their choice. We asked our team members who they decided to give their matched donation to and why?
Dan: “World Vision because they help people in impoverished areas across the world in a variety of ways from providing clean water and schooling to helping disaster survivors and refugees.”
Kristin: “I chose the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers. This center is located at Hillman Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, and is open to children and adults for treatment.
My Mom is living with and being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and we are thankful for each day that we spend together.”
Renee: “I selected to donate towards the Military Operations Research Society (MORS) Eugene P. Visco Prize. This prize recognizes excellence in research quality, contributions, and presentation. Promoting international collaboration, the Visco prize provides for early career and junior analysts conducting impactful, technically rigorous, and multi-disciplinary research to share their work at the International Symposium on Military Operational Research (ISMOR). This prize was established in March 2019 to honor and memorialize Gene Visco, FS, a personal friend/mentor of mine, who was an ardent supporter of collaboration within the international operations research community.”
Aaron: “I chose St. Jude Children's Research Hospital because I'm so moved by the work they do treating both in treating children and in research that helps people around the world.”
As a fully remote company, even before the pandemic, we like to get together in person at least once a year. This past fall we went to Austin, Texas, for our annual offsite, but what made this one unique was that it was the first offsite we have had since 2019! We asked the awardees, “how was it getting together again after so long since the last offsite?”
Dan: “It was great to see everyone in person after such a long break. The company offsites are always a highlight of my year.”
Kristin: “The Texas offsite was my first offsite with CANA and what a great adventure it was. The Team dinner was wonderful and being able to meet everyone in person and make memories together was priceless.”
Renee: “Alas, I was unable to join everyone at the offsite this year due to a previously scheduled family vacation to Costa Rica. However, I did get to enjoy many photo and video recaps of some of what I missed.”
Aaron: “It was incredible to see people from the team in person again. I love the flexibility of remote work, but periodically meeting up in 'real life’ is essential to building bonds with people. Since CANA has grown a bit since the last offsite, there were quite a few co-workers I had never met in person. This also is a great chance for catching up with people at CANA who I don't get to work on day-to-day projects.”
Every year is another year to get better and look forward to the future, so we asked our awardees, “what are you most optimistic for this New Year?”
Dan: “I'm looking forward to continuing the great work we are doing for our clients by creating amazing applications that exceed their expectations.”
Kristin: “I am looking forward to saying thank you and goodbye to 2021 and ready to jump right into 2022 with the excitement of what the new year will bring!”
Renee: “Like most Americans, I am optimistic that we may finally weather the end of this pandemic in the coming year, with vaccinations, boosters, and treatments available to render COVID-19 sufferers at most similar to flu sufferers.”
Aaron: “Going into the New Year, I'm most optimistic that we will continue to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, and have more opportunities for in-person events, both with work and personally.”
Needless to say, we are very proud of these four individuals, for all their efforts in making CANA the high-performing organization CANA is, and the hard work they put in day in and day out. We are looking forward to what 2022 brings and the growth of each of our CANA team members individually and collectively!