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Akili PHD: The Athlete

 

By Ben Wilmoth | Senior Business Planning Consultant

In 4th grade, I started playing football and learned early on what it’s like to be a part of a team.

As a kid, I liked to joke around a lot, so my parents were looking to get me into whatever activity that would keep me from getting into trouble. My mom tells me stories of when I would stack pillows in the living room and pretend the stack was a running back. And in an attempt to stop the stuffed running back from scoring imaginary touchdowns, I would continuously tackle it as if I were starting for the Dallas Cowboys. I’ve always wanted to play and it just came natural.

Add a couple of years and more than a couple of pounds, and I found my fit as an offensive lineman. And as I grew, so did my desire to compete. To be a successful competitor, it meant I had to learn how to be disciplined, fundamentally sound and coachable. Through the variety of ups and downs playing football competitively provides, I had acquired all of these skills and more. Most importantly, I learned how to be a contributing member of a successful and productive team, which would help establish a foundation that would support me in my future career.

Today, I’m on a whole new team with and although I’ve switched from reading defenses to reading user requirements, the passion is still there. As a matter of fact, many of the skills I used in football are apparent in my role as a Senior Business Planning Consultant at Akili.

Just like an offensive lineman, you have to be accountable for your role, but also be cognizant of the roles of your teammates. You have to be decent at making changes on the fly (both literally and metaphorically).

You have to be quick to adapt.

The core of how we implement projects at Akili is based around being agile. It’s about keeping everything in control and taking frequent status checks. It’s also about being transparent and understanding that if what you are presenting to the client does not meet the mark, you need to pivot immediately.

In football, the offensive line doesn’t get all of the glory. As an old offensive line coach once told me, “Your job is to finish your block and get out of the way.” Being an offensive linemen is not a glorified role. In fact, the general premise is that if you are being noticed, you are making mistakes. Similar to Akili, our main goal is to make our sponsors and clients look good. This means that in the end, we’re not always the one who receives the credit.

For us, that’s OK because our greatest sources of pride come from successful implementations and continued business. We perform until the expectations of our clients have been exceeded and at Akili, that’s what truly matters.

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Employee Spotlight: Meet James Cannon

 

From planning business solutions to bike routes, Solution Leader James Cannon puts the pedal to the metal when it comes to personal growth. This week, we learned more about his experience at Akili and even took away some solid advice.

What’s your role at Akili and the most satisfying aspect about it?

Officially, my role at Akili is a Solution Lead within the Anaplan platform. Unofficially, I wear a number of hats. No day is ever the same, which is one really satisfying aspect of my role. I’m able to help drive change within our clients’ organization, as well as help drive change here at Akili.

How did you become interested in your line of work?

I’ve always had an interest in technology and building things, so it’s almost a perfect fit for someone like me. When you add in the fact that I also get bored easily, this industry is fitting because it requires the ability for rapid change. I’m usually rolling on to a new project every 4-6 months.

What about Akili made you decide to join?

The people! When I interviewed, the individuals I met were the real reason I chose to work here. At the end of the day, I’d rather work with people I really enjoy and call friends than make a few more dollars somewhere else and be miserable.

What’s a memory that stood out to you at Akili?

There are honestly too many to list over the past 4 years, but most of them either involve having a great conversation over a drink with a fellow Akilian, or some office shenanigans.

In your opinion, what makes Akili different? 

A lot of the same reasons that made me want to join Akili (the people, the culture, the leadership, the team spirit, etc.) are what I think allows Akili to separate itself from others in our industry and make it a really special place to work.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Anything outdoors, really. I am an on-again, off-again avid mountain biker. In the summer, my weekends are often spent playing golf or going to the lake. In the winter, I’m usually trying to make my way to a mountain to go snowboarding.

What keeps you motivated?

Helping people is a really big motivator for me. I’m a firm believer in continuing your own personal education, so I really like to learn new things. Sharing my knowledge with other people to help either benefit them, or their organization, is my main motivator.

Tell us about some of the greatest advice you’ve ever received.

I wouldn’t categorize it as the greatest advice given to me, but there are two maxims I circle back on when working with our clients. The first one is, “Work smarter, not harder” and the second is, “You can only manage what you measure”.

The first one is something I believe we help our clients achieve with our services. At the end of an engagement, I like to think we have helped our clients facilitate the change needed for their group or organization to work smarter everyday by doing less work through the tools we helped implement.

The second, is an idea that I truly align with. You are not able to fully understand the impact of a problem unless you measure and track it. This idea has limitless applications and is a great way to improve either a personal process or an organizational process.

Anything else you’d like everyone to know?

Don’t be afraid to gamble on making a jump to something new. I knew nothing other than a Google search of who Akili was or what they actually did. Making that leap of faith into this field and this company has been eternally rewarding for me, both from a personal and professional standpoint. It has allowed me to continue to grow and develop as a person and along the way, it has allowed me to meet and connect with some amazing people.

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Akili Ranks Among Best Companies to Work for in Texas for 2018

 

Akili is proud to announce that we were recently ranked 18th among the 2018 Best Companies to Work for in Texas, making our fourth appearance on this list. Our firm was recognized yet again for our unique culture, positive work environment and rewarding client work.

Made up of 100 companies, the 2018 Best Companies to Work for in Texas was designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best places of employment in Texas, benefiting the state’s economy, workforce and business.

“We are humbled to be recognized as one of the best companies to work for in Texas, yet again,” Akili CEO Shiek Shah said. “As a professional services organization, our employees are our key assets. Our management team strives to create an environment where our employees are happy, challenged and produce meaningful outcomes for our clients. This honor attests to our on-going efforts to recruit and retain the best of the best.”

To be eligible for this recognition, companies have to meet the following criteria: Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity, a publicly or privately held business, have a facility in the state of Texas, have a minimum of 15 full or part-time employees working in the state of Texas, and must be in business a minimum of one year. Best Companies Group conducts a two-part company assessment to gather detailed data for each participating company. Part one includes an employer questionnaire and part two is a survey for the employees to complete.

Akili fosters a strong culture of investing in our employees and developing an environment that values our employees as individuals, provides the support of a team and enables employees to pursue their career goals without restraint. Our vision is to create a work environment that gives our people the opportunity, encouragement, and recognition they need to truly excel at what they do.

Anyone that spends time in the company of the Akili team realizes that the core values on which the organization was founded on are present in day-to-day business. These values guide all of the key decision making processes and are present within every layer of the organization.

About Akili

Akili (pronounced (uh • kē’ • lē) meaning “knowledge” in Swahili) is a niche information technology consulting firm founded in 1992. Akili is headquartered in the Dallas suburb of Irving, TX, with locations in Houston, TX and Denver, CO. We have over 20 years of precision implementation design and trusted delivery services to small regional companies, mid size national companies, and multi-national Fortune 5 companies.

Akili is focused on Industry solutions for Oil and Gas, Telecommunications, Finance, Chemicals, Hi-Tech, REIT and Retail. Functional solution areas include Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Business Analytics (BI, EIM, DW), ERP (Including PRA, JVA, Asset Management), HANA, and Cloud Services (Finance, Operations, Sales).

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How to Navigate SAP BPC’s Changing Solution Roadmap

Join Akili February 28 at 10AM CST for a live demo on SAP's BPC v11.

 

By Alan Boyer | VP of Delivery

SAP announced BPC Version 11 for BW4/HANA, the next generation of the Business Planning and Consolidations (BPC) product, on June 15 at the SAPinsider Financials Conference in Amsterdam. This is the first significant update to the standalone version of BPC since 2014.

So, let’s explore a little of what this new version means.

What’s new?

  • When SAP released BW4/HANA last year, one of the glaring omissions was the lack of a planning or consolidations solution. That gap has now been closed as BPC 11 runs on BW4/HANA, providing complete planning and consolidations functionality to SAP’s new enterprise data warehouse platform. BW/4HANA is a very open solution and all methods of bringing data into BW4HANA are, of course, available to get information into BW. Getting master and transactional data from S4 is still very easy, but it is also easy to load data for other non-SAP sources. This diagram provides an overview of the integration approaches available:

  • Tight integration to Analytics Cloud is also a highlight of the new BPC version, including user initiated data synchronization that includes delta loads. Analytics Cloud also supports live connection to BPC for enhanced analytics capabilities. This opens the use of the Predictive capabilities in Cloud Analytics to be used to create forecasts/plans that can be synched to BPC.
  • BPC 11 also provides the ability to enhance the performance of the system even with large sets of data. Fox formulas can now be “pushed down” into HANA to speed execution times.
  • Interface – The homepage and navigation have been redesigned to the latest Fiori standards. Enhancements include the ability to capture favorites, easier navigation between tasks and an enhanced “My Activities” section.
  • Improved Modelling tools in BW4/HANA makes it much easier to create the planning structures for embedded models. Of course, these models can be connected to the BPC admin tools, which allow users the ability to use BPC Admin functions to manage the system.

What happens to other versions of BPC?

The BPC 10.1 NW and the 10.1 MS versions will be supported for some time. However, these versions will receive maintenance only. Enhancements will no longer be delivered for these versions. BPC Optimized for S/4 and BPC for BW4/HANA will be the primary versions of BPC going forward. The chart below depicts the product history and path going forward:

It is important to note that BPC 11 for BW4/HANA is a new legal version. Customers that plan to upgrade to this new version will need to acquire new licenses.

What’s the same?

  • Both standard & embedded are still available in BPC 11.
  • The EPM add-in will still be available and will be the proper interface for standard models. Analysis for Office will be the proper interface for embedded models. (Note that EVDre will no longer be supported in BPC 11).
  • BPC will still provide a single unified platform for Planning and Consolidations.

That gives you a quick preview of what’s coming in BPC 11 on BW4/HANA. Stay tuned for additional information coming soon.

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My First 90 Days at Akili: Josh Huilar

 

By Josh Huilar | Anaplan Consultant

When I first think of Akili, two words come to mind: Culture and fun. In fact, at Akili, they are one and the same. Many companies tout the mantra of “Work Hard, Play Hard”, but is it really work if you truly enjoy your job and the people you work with?

That’s been my experience at Akili so far.

Coming to Akili was a big decision for me. I am originally from Wisconsin and my career up to this point had been working for much larger organizations based in my home state. I’ve always envisioned working for a smaller firm much later in my career, but I am glad I made the move. Despite its size, Akili offers many of the same benefits and amenities that much larger organizations provide. For those of you considering relocating to the Dallas area it has much to offer, from professional sporting events, live concerts, excellent restaurants, great weather, eclectic neighborhoods, and reasonably affordable housing and cost of living when compared to other major U.S. metropolitan cities.

Here are some highlights from my first 90 days:

Wine & Whiskey Wednesdays: On Wednesdays, everyone in the office takes a break from the hustle and bustle of the work week by pouring a glass or two of their favorite libation after 4:30 P.M.

Chicken Wing Eating Contest: Need I say more?

Office Hoverboards: In previous offices, this would have been an immediate safety violation and not allowed. At first, the hoverboards made me squeamish, but now I find myself cracking a smile anytime I see heads floating above the cubicle walls.

Flexible Work Arrangements: I was able to work remotely in Vegas and Atlanta when I had vacations planned before I came here.

No Office Politics: Our leadership team genuinely wants you to succeed. At Akili it’s pretty simple. Do what is best for your clients and coworkers, and you will succeed.

Overall, I have no regrets joining the Akili family. I follow many of my coworkers on social media and spend time with them on the weekends. Now that I am settled in, my primary focus continues to be managing my current client’s ongoing conversion to Anaplan. Recently, my client identified additional Anaplan projects they would like to undertake, and requested an extension of my work assignment. The best compliment you can receive from a client is an extended work assignment. It demonstrates the client’s trust and confidence in you as a consultant, the firm you represent, and in Akili’s case, Anaplan as their tool of choice to meet their integrated business planning needs.

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Are you ready for one of the biggest accounting changes ever?

 

After discussions for the better part of a decade, the new FASB lease accounting standard (ASC-842) is official. The new lease accounting standard represents one of the largest and most impactful reporting changes to accounting principles in decades, since most companies utilize off-balance sheet financing with operational leases. The standard itself is voluminous (over 400 pages) and digesting it will be a major task for companies, auditors, and accountants. Implementing practical solutions is where the rubber really meets the road.

Is your company ready to meet this challenge?

Situation

The new standard includes leases of all property, plant, and equipment and excludes (1) leases of intangible assets, (2) leases to explore for or use non-regenerative resources, (3) leases of biological assets, (4) leases of inventory, and (5) leases of assets under construction. Overall, the measurement of an operating lease is the most significant difference from previous standards; the lessee will be required to place all operating leases with a duration of 12 months or more on the balance sheet.
For several years prior, the accounting standard-setting body in the United States, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and the international accounting standard-setting body, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), have been working on various convergence projects to achieve a more uniform, worldwide standard for lease accounting.

The new standard becomes effective for public business entities, certain not-for-profits, and certain employee benefit plans for annual periods (including interim periods) beginning after Dec. 15, 2018; and for all other entities, annual periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2019.

Most companies have not implemented a solution to help them become compliant with these requirements; and adding real estate and equipment leases to the balance sheet will be a sizable task.

Business Issue

To start down the road to compliance, businesses need to focus on several key activities:

Data Assessment

The initial step is to understand the size and scope of the lease profile of the company. It is important to understand the classification of the lease type (building, equipment, etc.), but also understand the key characteristics that will drive the lease calculations. These characteristics can be summarized in a table to ensure you have addressed all of the functional requirements and can directly correlate an accounting procedure to meet the requirement.

While there needs to be an initial push to gather this data, most likely, you will update this information throughout the process. The key is to gather data on the most impactful set of leases as quickly as possible.

Accounting Assessment

Next, your company can start the process of applying the new accounting standard to different lease profiles identified in the data assessment. The interpretation and application of the lease accounting standard will require a written auditable procedure in 2019, but during the initial assessment, establishing a framework that can be built upon over the implementation process will be sufficient. Additionally, the initial interpretation does not have to cover every existing lease, but rather just a solid assessment of the key leases will be sufficient to start the implementation of a solution. The outcome of completing the assessment process over a set of key leases will be a deeper understanding and will allow the team to identify individual scenarios that need specific consideration in the process. Overall, establishing the accounting procedures for the company’s leases will continue throughout the implementation process.

Solution Assessment

While you are completing the Data and Accounting Assessments, you will need to identify and engage with vendors on the different solutions available. Many times, high-level requirements, such as cost, functionality, or flexibility, will quickly eliminate some vendors. The key is to get to a short list of vendors that can provide you with a demonstration and proposal immediately following the assessment. Some vendors, like Akili, can support the assessment and be instrumental in defining the solution scope and change requirements. In addition to meeting the basic requirement of your company, the solution should be flexible as changes to the standard emerge over time. Furthermore, it will be important to understand and establish who will be making and implementing those changes. Is it the vendor, your IT department, or is the solution managed by the business team? All of these are key criteria in choosing a solution and implementation partner.

Lease Accounting by Akili

Akili has developed a lease accounting model based on the Anaplan Platform. Anaplan’s powerful modeling and calculation engine helps managers quickly evaluate lease accounting results. Anaplan’s platform boasts the world’s most powerful and flexible modeling and calculation engine, called Hyperblock™. This in-memory engine enables the creation of detailed models that utilize all your data, down to the transactional level, for real-time impactful business execution. Anaplan allows models to be built to any level of granularity with as many dimensions as your business requires. This allows a company to visualize the lease accounting data by legal entity, by lessor, or other management hierarchy.

Anaplan was built from day one as a cloud platform combining cutting-edge security, in-memory data management, and massive scalability. Business users can use familiar business syntax, drag-and-drop hierarchies, and built-in logic for time, versions, and scenarios. With Anaplan, there are no technical barriers between you and business insights, and requires no reliance on IT for business rules adjustments, model creation, or changes. The Anaplan platform gives you the power and flexibility to plan for any area of your business, enabling collaborative decision-making to drive improved business performance across the organization.

Akili’s Lease Accounting solution on the Anaplan platform focuses on the core requirements required to be compliant with the lease accounting standard.  The requirements of the solution are detailed below:

Lease Compliance

  • Consolidate lease information
  • Calculate lease payment schedule
  • Lease contract classification
  • Lease Accounting
    • Lease data management
    • Calculate lease accounting entries
    • Monthly lease reconciliation
  • Lease Analytics & Reporting
    • Business disclosure reporting
    • Business management reporting
    • Lease administration analytics
  • Lease Planning
    • Lease planning simulations
    • Lease budgeting solution
    • Connected planning with FP&A

 

Akili’s Lease Accounting cloud-based solution running on the Anaplan platform will provide a robust set of functionalities, the flexibility to update the model by business subject matter experts, and be at a reasonable cost. To learn more about Akili and the Lease Accounting Solution, please go to Akili.com or email us at info@akili.com.

 

References

Robert Singer, A. P. (2017, August 23). Accounting for Leases Under the New Standard, Part 1 – The CPA Journal. Retrieved from CPA Journal: Accounting for Leases Under the New Standard, Part 1 – The CPA Journal

Stephen McKinney, T. K. (2016). An Executive Summary of the FASB’s New Lease Accounting Standard. Deloitte Development LLC.

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My First 90 Days at Akili: Dan Vollmer

 

By Dan Vollmer | Sr. Sales Executive

I first heard of Akili through a few employees that I’ve been happy to call friends for almost 20 years. Even before I really knew about Akili, the passion and joy the employees shared with me about their work, colleagues, and clients were apparent. So when I was approached with the opportunity to support Akili clients and expand the Akili brand to the east coast, I knew I had to learn more about this company that has multiple awards as “one of the best companies to work for in Texas.”

When I interviewed with our CEO, the executive team, and employees, the reoccurring theme was a cohesive culture. It emphasized the importance of a good work/life balance, and how it positively affects an individual’s and company’s performance. As a remote employee in Atlanta, I do not get to enjoy the office spoils every week like happy hours, ping-pong tournaments, hoverboard races, etc. And that’s OK. I am still able to have a sense of inclusiveness through active message boards, company meetings, and even being flown out for a number of company events each year.

An organization’s culture is crucial in today’s connected economy, but unfortunately, many organizations lose sight of their core values for the better of a few, not the many.

But not Akili.

In my opinion, culture is what makes Akili a unique place to work and a great company to do business with. I continue to see a presence of the 12 core values of which Akili was founded on. Not every company or employee is perfect all the time, but I continue to see every employee hold each other accountable, work with integrity, and deliver great results to our clients, while having fun along the way.

I am overly impressed by the client reference and retention rate, which confirms to me the quality of work our team consistently provides.

Looking forward, I am most excited about my impact on Akili’s growth on the east coast. My mission is to ensure current east coast client successes as well as support new clients in obtaining their business planning goals. In 5 to 10 years, I want to look back at this post about my first 90 days at Akili and not only see that I have accomplished these goals, but also that each new employee feels the same pride and passion as we do today!

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Employee Spotlight: Meet Sean Granfield

 

As a fairly new member to fatherhood, a foodie, and a leader of the sales and marketing team at Akili, Sean Granfield has all the right reasons to be the go-getter he proves to be. This week, we pulled him aside from the office hustle for a chance to learn more about his role and what keeps him hungry.

What’s your role at Akili and the most satisfying aspect about it?

My role at Akili is Vice President of Sales and Marketing – developing and driving our go-to-market strategy through our team of three account executives, an inside sales rep and a marketing coordinator.

I really enjoy the creative freedom Akili provides around the overall development of our strategy, content, and brand image within our target markets. There’s nothing more exciting and satisfying than working with our team to create a unique and compelling strategy for our company and seeing the efforts being executed across our channels and people!

How did you become interested in your line of work?

I’ve always loved the idea of creating something. That passion wasn’t always specific to the business world however, when I finished school at the University of Oklahoma on the back end of the recession, the opportunities I found in front of me were in the startup space, mainly in software. I quickly found myself loving the ability to make a tangible impact. I was also very lucky in terms of the environment around me at the time: smartphones were fairly new, cloud technology was enabling powerful ideas to grow from exciting new sources, and I was fortunate enough to experience it all at the ground level. Ultimately, that was the hook that sent me down the path of selling software and cloud technology.

What about Akili made you decide to join?

It was always about the people for me. Before I came on board, I was great friends with an employee who consistently raved about the people, culture and day-to-day office environment. Once I was provided the opportunity to interview with the broader team, I knew it was a place I would be comfortable at, while still being challenged to grow and excel. Further, when you’re in sales, and services sales at that, you’re essentially selling your people. Having confidence in the team behind you is absolutely critical to the success of a sales person or leader, and I’ve never once questioned our ability to deliver!

What’s a memory that stood out to you at Akili?

There are truly too many to list, but I’ll refer back to something early on: I came on board in April of 2015, only weeks before one of our technology partner’s big annual event. Naturally, I was a bit intimidated by the runway. I had to first understand who Akili was, and then our partnership, in a way that I could confidently represent Akili and hold substantive conversations. With that as the backdrop, the trip ended up being one that sticks in my memory more than almost any other for the level of support I felt from our team. I never once felt they were questioning my ability or asking too much of me at the same time. They totally endorsed my way of interacting with our partners and clients, while providing valuable guidance. It’s a time and event that I will always remember as the experience where I became an Akilian. 🙂

In your opinion, what makes Akili different?

It’s really hard to not go back to our people, which is absolutely a key differentiator, but something else that comes to mind is the trust the leadership places in every single employee at Akili. There’s no micromanaging, ideas are welcomed (and encouraged), and you never have to question yourself when you feel your opinion needs to be heard. It’s an incredibly empowering feeling which I believe brings the best out of everyone.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Traveling, eating exciting food, cooking, and spending time with my family. Most of all though, it’s being with our 8-month-old son. It may sound cheesy, but there’s nothing I’d rather do than be with him all day, every day!

What keeps you motivated?

It’s a long list. Providing for my family, driving success for our company, supporting my team, being the best partner to our technology partners – all of these keep me motivated. Ultimately though, trying to get absolutely everything I can out of myself makes all the other areas achievable – that’s my underlying motivation!

Tell us about some of the greatest advice you’ve ever received.

As I continue my professional growth, there’s something simple my dad always told me that stands out more than ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re the smartest, fastest, strongest (name the adjective). What matters most is your willingness to prepare more than your competition or even your colleagues. He was quite successful in his own right and if you were to ask him today about what drove that success, he would without a doubt say his preparation!

Anything else you’d like everyone to know?

In the context of an employee spotlight blog and looking at the element of being an employee, I would encourage everyone to find a professional home where your leadership is truly invested in you as a person, not just a headcount. There is nothing more powerful in my estimation than having a person (or persons) who want you to succeed just as much as you do, in and out of the office!

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Akili PHD: The Volunteer

 

By Christina Neubauer | Business Development Manager

When I was 21, I bought my first rabbit; a baby lop-eared girl named Ava. At the time, I thought I knew enough about rabbits to properly care for her. It took about a week for me to realize my error.

In that week, my ruffian little rabbit had proven to be a handful. So, I dove headfirst into research and quickly learned that my first mistake wasn’t my lack of knowledge on pellets versus rabbit-approved veggies. It was that I had bought Ava from a pet store instead of adopting.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about 6.5 million companion animals are brought to shelters in the United States every year. And of those 6.5 million, 1.5 million are euthanized. It’s a staggering number to be faced with, especially when many pet stores in my own area are never in short supply of kittens, puppies, and of course, baby bunnies. I learned very quickly that rabbits are overpopulated and under-cared for by owners.

And I was one of them.

Over time I learned more and more about rabbit care and eventually found myself at Chicago’s Red Door Animal Shelter. Started in 2000, the Red Door Animal Shelter rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes the top three pets in the US; dogs, cats, and rabbits. All while being a no-kill, non-profit, 100% donation-run organization.

I became a volunteer, then an adoption coordinator and educator, and recently a board member. Working with the shelter has shown me many good times, like finding a sweet but abandoned cat a new home with loving people. But it has also shown me many upsetting times, like the day a cardboard box of emaciated kittens was dumped on our doorstep. Nevertheless, I became determined to do everything I could to educate people and place our animals into caring homes. I became more thorough and hell-bent to put all of my effort into each individual situation.

That same determination has carried over into my work at Akili. The passion I have for animals somehow transferred seamlessly into a passion for above-standard service. As a business management and technology consulting firm, our job is to improve the business performance of our clients by presenting well-researched solutions to fit their needs, all while providing the best support from the best people for the best mix of technology and consulting.

It’s clear that I’m not alone. Every member of the Akili team is determined to bring the very best results to each of our clients and to each unique situation or need. From Business Planning to Support Services, we’re passionate and determined to make the business lives of our clients easier.

Whether it’s finding loving homes for animals at the shelter or solutions for clients at work, my passion for service always shines through.

Christina with Avalanche, the 15-lb Flemish Giant Rabbit
Christina with Lex, the Human-Climbing Cat
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Employee Spotlight: Meet Keith Fenske

 

Big or small, whatever the technology issue may be, Keith is here to solve it. When you don’t see behind the scenes, it can be easy to take working technology for granted – until something goes wrong! This week, we had the chance to learn a lot more about Keith and his role, as well as share appreciation for all that he does to maintain a smooth operation.

What’s your role at Akili and the most satisfying aspect about it?

I am an IT Consultant. I provide technical solutions and infrastructure to the point of it going unnoticed. Success is measured by little or no technical disruption for both end users and company services and operations.

How did you become interested in your line of work?

I was fascinated by the rapid technology development pre-dot com and seeing how the personal computer was going to transform everyone’s work and home life. I felt that this movement was the future, so I decided to make it my career.

What about Akili made you decide to join?

I was referred by a former coworker at a large corporation who had recently joined Akili. At first, I was hesitant leaving a large company for such a small entity, but once I met the owners and they shared the core values, the company direction, and their openness that I could walk into their office at any time to meet with them, I was sold.

What’s a memory that stood out to you at Akili?

A few core values come into play: Teamwork, Intensity, and Fun. In the earlier years of Akili, we were going through an acquisition of a Houston company and needed to move the acquired company’s IT infrastructure and desktop computers into the Akili Houston office over a weekend. The complete IT team traveled to Houston, rented a large truck, and worked long hours every day to get the move completed. At the end of each day, we made sure to decompress and enjoy some refreshments, play pool and share our best jokes.

In your opinion, what makes Akili different?

So many things. The culture: where work is just as important as having fun. The people: where everyone knows everyone and enjoys each other whether it’s on client projects or at company events. The teamwork: where collaboration leads to results.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy going on bucket list vacations (Australia, New Zealand, Italy) with my wife, getting together with family and friends, and playing the frustrating and rewarding game of golf.

What keeps you motivated?

Many people feel intimidated by technology and embarrassed to ask for help. I’m driven to comfort people of this anxiety and provide technical assistance no matter how simple or complex their issue may be.

Tell us about some of the greatest advice you’ve ever received.

Live for today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Life moves very fast, so make the best of it in the moment or you may regret it.

Anything else you’d like everyone to know?

I jumped out of a plane not only once, but twice (3,000 ft and 10,000 ft). Having this experience, I was able to convince my wife to para-glide off of a mountain in New Zealand.