A Day in the Solstie Life: Chris Burzynski, Connective Program Manager
It was November 2014 when I walked through the doors of our sleek (but much smaller) office at 111 N. Canal Street. It was interview day. I showed up in a suit — my standard attire at the time — and met my recruiter, Lucy, at the door. As I navigated the halls, I remember seeing so many smiling faces and hearing laughter in the air, and thinking “Surely they aren’t putting this show on just for me?” As the day continued on, and I met with people who would become my new co-workers, peers, and close friends, the energy levels stayed high. I’ll never forget walking away and saying to myself, “This is where I want to be.”
Today, almost 5 years later, both my career and the office have greatly blossomed and that same high-energy environment I felt on my interview day is still vividly present each and every day.
A college professor once told me that you never know where your career will take you, and to be prepared for and open to anything. Throughout my Solstice journey, I’ve worked with a large financial services organization to define and deliver their digital strategy and most recently completed a 1.5-year assignment in London working with our Connective partners across the pond. No two days are the same for me, which is what I love most about Solstice. Here’s a look into my world.
One of my favorite things about London was the number of food and retail markets. Here’s me walking back from lunch at St Katharine Docks World Food Market with co-workers.
5:30 AM: Alarm Goes Off
I take a shower at night, so it’s a quick wash of the face to wake me up. Breakfast is a must — usually a granola bar and some fruit. I am out the door and on the bus by 6:00 AM. I use the commute time to catch up on Slack messages and emails, and to listen to music that pumps me up (usually electronic in nature).
6:45 AM: Arrive at The Office
I start my day early to align closer to the working hours of our Connective partners in the United Kingdom. I prefer this, as I am a morning person anyway! Because I am usually the second person in the office after our OX team (shout out to Ginny), it’s a quiet morning upon arrival.
7:00 AM: First Meeting
As Connective Program Manager, my primary responsibility is to align project and change management efforts towards the successful execution of our strategic plan, which helps to make sure that we provide the best experience for clients and employees. My day starts by meeting with Nick, who works at Pragma | Kin + Carta, and supports the Connective’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. We are discussing the 2020 plans for moving towards becoming a triple bottom line business — that is, one focused not just on the financials of the business, but on the impact we have on people and the planet.
7:30 AM: Demand Team Stand Up
Three days a week our Connective demand team, comprised of our Connective Growth Partners, Marketing, Partnerships, Sales, and Strategy, meet to discuss what we are working on individually, what we need to work on as a team, and other issues that we might need to collaborate on. It’s also a time to identify blockers and figure out how I can support in removing them so the team can easily move forward.
7:45 AM: Casting Stand-Up
I meet two times per week with Anna from TAB | Kin+Carta in London and Peggy from Solstice | Kin + Carta to work on our fulfilling of the quarter’s initiative to create opportunities for employees at TAB and Solstice to cross-train and experience each other’s culture and clients either virtually or via a relocation to another part of the world.
8:00 AM: Operations Leadership Meeting
Once a week I meet with our executive leadership team to give an update on our Rock progress — a set of goals we have each quarter to continue evolving and growing the business. After catching up on what everyone did over the weekend and discussing how the US Women’s Soccer Team is going to stomp England in the semifinal, we get down to business. One thing I have always appreciated about Solstice is how approachable and accessible our executive leadership team is, and this is no different when working with the broader Connective.
9:00 AM: Connective Delivery Update
Lauren from TAB | Kin + Carta (formerly from Solstice | Kin + Carta) and I are meeting to discuss the status of client delivery for some of our key Connective clients. It’s a time to celebrate successes and troubleshoot any problems she’s seeing across delivery teams.
10:00 AM: Budget Meeting
Time to go to bat with Finance! Okay, just kidding. However, we use this time to align our strategy for our next fiscal year budget. It’s actually more fun than it sounds.
11:00 AM: Executive Leadership Meeting
The CEOs from across the Connective speak daily and meet twice a month to provide a business update, knowledge share, and solve open problems. I also use this time to provide them all with an update on where we are at with delivery of the strategic plan, something they are invested in seeing through to success. It’s always great to see everyone’s faces dialed in on Zoom across the various time zones and from at least six cities around the world.
12:00 PM: Lunch
I usually eat while working, but do manage to squeeze in a 15-minute lap around downtown Chicago. I couldn’t have had better walking weather today — sunny and 70*!
1:00 PM: Philanthropy Committee Meeting
One thing that I love about Solstice is the ability to bring my passion for volunteerism and giving back to the community into the workplace. I do this through the philanthropy committee. The mission and purpose of our committee is to support the philanthropic initiatives of Solstice in accordance with our firm's core principle of Making a Difference. We are meeting today to plan our annual day of volunteering, PayitFWD!
One of my proudest moments as an employee was working with Carlee, Leanne, and Val to host our inaugural day of volunteering, PayitFWD!
2:00 PM: Mentor Meeting
At Solstice, every employee has a mentor (someone who provides them career mentorship). I'm lucky enough to be a mentor to two Solsties — Nicole and Lizzy, who make this role very easy. 🙂We meet every two weeks to catch up, and even though I am the mentor I usually walk away feeling as though I’ve learned from each of them.
4:00 PM: Time to Head Home
5:00 PM: Gym/Run
I am taking advantage of today’s nice weather by going for a run around the nearby park.
6:00 PM: Dinner
I love to cook my own food. Tonight it’s a quick chicken stir-fry because I am meeting my friends at Black Dog Gelato for dessert. Yum!
Between Chicago and London, I’ve had the incredible opportunity with Solstice to work in multiple offices across the Kin and Carta Connective. Here’s a photo of me exploring Budapest with Andrea, Lucy, and Sarah.
8:00 PM: TV
Since I have just returned from London after a year and a half, I have a lot of American T.V. to catch up on that I couldn’t watch while I was abroad. I’ve recently been spending a solid hour each evening binging Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago PD, and The Resident (are you sensing a theme yet?)
9:30 PM: Bed Time
I need a full eight hours of sleep or I am not a happy person to be around the next day. I guess that’s the trick to being “a morning person.” Goodnight, world!
Do you want to work alongside Chris? Check out our careers page for more information and to apply.