DENizens: Who Are They?
An easy assumption to make is the gratitude for a company that provides multiple outlets for involvement outside of an employee’s standard, day-to-day tasks. A step past gratitude would be the acknowledgement that in today’s society and workplace, these outlets are necessary for an inclusive, productive, and content workforce. Cue Dev Technology’s Women in Technology at Dev (WITD), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) group, Toastmasters, Fun Patrol, Denizens, and more.
Now if we can back up a moment, we land at ‘Denizens.’ What exactly is this group and what is its purpose? This thought may have popped up for some of you in the past, and I would like to take the time to shed some clarity and share some information.
The DENizens began as an effort to unite the company’s emerging young professionals to Develop, Educate, and Network with one another (hence, the ‘DEN’). The group was initiated in 2019 with the help of Dev Technology’s Executive Chair and Co-Founder, Susie Sylvester, and CEO, Kendall Holbrook, with the founding mission to shape a nurturing community where the Denizens can connect and have meaningful interaction, while growing and learning together, living Dev core values, and having fun.
Susie and Kendall handed the reigns over to Danielle San Felice, Scott Dykes and Rithvik Mandalapu in the groups first year as Steering Committee. Denizen memorable events from that year included meeting up for an escape room event, Top Golf with members of Dev’s Executive Team, and a Thanksgiving community service initiative where members packed food boxes for delivery.
In 2020, Casey Acosta, Ariana Snyder, and I took over as the Denizen’s Steering Committee and had the unique challenge of leading the group during the first year of the recent global pandemic. Memorable 2020 events included the kickoff of the Denizen’s Interactive Blog on Teams, several themed happy hours and trivia nights, a speaker from DHS and a holiday ‘gifts that give back’ initiative.
As the pandemic has taken a toll globally on companies and their employees in many ways, but especially the new “Zoom Fatigue” I have had a continued challenging, but fun task to keep the Denizen train moving in 2021 as acting leader of the group. So far this year we have hosted a Denizen Lunch, Denizen of the Month campaign, Denizens x Interns Panel, collaboration with the Wellness group and HR on financial awareness, Movie Club and continued use of our interactive blog.
“I really enjoy learning about my fellow Denizens through the Denizen of the Month spotlight,” said member, Caitlin Wong, who just joined in 2021, “and I’m looking forward to meeting them in person and getting to know them better!”
In short, while the Denizens may have started for ‘emerging professionals’ to get the group up and running, we have evolved to focus less on age and are more interested providing support to those in the early to mid-stages of their career, both professionally and personally. We aim to host and support activities and events that cater to the Denizen member in and out of the ‘office’, again, all while living Dev’s core values and having fun. Something I know everyone can have a bit more of.
For those of you interested, members on the Denizen email group and Microsoft Teams channel have either participated in the group in the past or were automatically enrolled by HR. It is a working process to greet each new member/employee and confirm their interest and membership into the Denizens. We are eager for both participation and feedback as this is a group for us, by us so we have a unique opportunity here to make it what we want. If you have any more questions regarding the group or simply any comments or feedback, please reach out to me directly – cheers!
IDIQ Operations Lead