Consistent Commitment to Personal Improvement – Growing at UNCOMN
At UNCOMN, we challenge our team members to grow both personally and professionally. “Growing at UNCOMN” provides a snapshot of just some of the professional development our people take part in. In this installment, Operations Analyst Kerry Scherer reflects on her experience during her first year with UNCOMN.
A Company Where Employees Are Valued
While she has been at UNCOMN for just one year, Kerry is not a stranger to the Scott Air Force Base area. First working for United States Transportation Command in 2002, she worked with UNCOMN President Jason Carter from 2005 – 2009 while he was still in uniform. When she was looking for her next career move in late 2018, she knew she needed to find a company that would let her grow in her field and with her past work with Jason, UNCOMN was a strong candidate.
During my interview with UNCOMN, I asked specifically about their approach to training, and was told the company strongly supports professional development. As I near my one-year anniversary, I have found this to be a true statement. I needed additional SharePoint training for my duties in TCJ5/4, beyond what the USTRANSCOM Web Shop offered, and UNCOMN brought in a professor from Saint Louis University to teach an advanced 2-day class to team members. Whenever I have questions, my UNCOMN colleagues are generous in sharing knowledge, providing job aids, and giving quick impromptu demos.
In addition to the Sharepoint training, she recently was certified in Scaled Agile Framework 5.0, the most recent updates to the agile process. Professional development can sometimes become an afterthought when employees need to spend most of their time working with clients and customers but at UNCOMN, team members are strongly encouraged to set aside time during regular business hours to work on professional development.
When the winter weather hits, some companies push their employees to still make it into the office, but when snow made it unsafe for Kerry to commute to work, she was told to stay home. There was one condition, however. She had to spend that time on professional development. Jumping at the opportunity, Kerry tackled the new certification course and was surprised to see that the updates were more significant than previously expected. “This went way beyond code sprints – in fact, it sounded like the future of business”, says Kerry.
The support provided to team members goes much farther than just professional development. After being with the company for six months, she needed to take time off to see a family member that was battling cancer. UNCOMN’s Director of Team Member Services kindly reminded Kerry that the first value of the company is to prioritize people. She was given the full leave she needed without any push back from her manager.
How Professional Development Works at UNCOMN
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are UNCOMN’s mechanisms for team members to grow in their own field or learn about a different area that they are interested in. They give every person the opportunity to control their own professional destiny and grow in the way that they choose. Each week, a CoP training event is held at headquarters during regular operating hours. They are open to any person at the company and are live-streamed for those that can’t attend in person.
Kerry started out in Data Science to expand into a new area but later pivoted to join the Business Architects when she wanted her CoP experience to be more closely aligned with her everyday position. Whichever development path a team member chooses, UNCOMN is behind them 100%. In order for clients and customers to get the best solutions to their tough problems, every consultant needs to be an expert in their field, but also have a passion for innovation and growth.
There are more than just opportunities for professional growth at the company as well. After joining the team, Kerry has been involved with the annual Spirit of Christmas event. This is in addition to the other community service she takes part in for the Macoupin Art Collective and Got Your Six Support Dogs.