Forward Into the Future

Forward Into the Future

My colleagues at Forty1 have asked me to reflect on our one-year anniversary with The Creative Engagement Group. How could I refuse? What a great opportunity to consider a year of tremendous growth for our team!

To paraphrase Maya Angelou: I have great respect for the past, but I’m a person of the moment. So when I look back, it’s with the intention of learning what we need to forge ahead.

In January 2021, we announced to the world that the company I founded and led for 30 years, Vitiello Communications Group, had joined forces with London-based TCEG and would be combined with the agency’s employee engagement consultancy, Forty1.

From day one, our new friends at TCEG welcomed us warmly. They were eager to meet us, learn about our expertise, and partner with us to bring even more services to our collective clients. And our clients were thrilled to have access to an expanded range of offerings that include training and capabilities development; film and digital; live, hybrid and virtual events; a creative studio; a behavioral science practice; and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Centre of Excellence. It was a joy to introduce our clients to Russ Lidstone, CEO of TCEG, and Richard Burton, Global Managing Partner of Forty1 and Head of Strategy of TCEG. Richard’s concise model demonstrating the impact of the pandemic on organizations resonated deeply with everyone who saw it.

During our first few months together, we focused on integrating our business systems with TCEG’s and learning how to operate as members of a large, transatlantic team. We were fortunate to have change management skills, honed from decades of supporting transformation initiatives for our clients, and now it was time to bring those skills to bear within our own organization. As members of Forty1 and TCEG, we found ourselves working alongside like-minded professionals. Our shared love of the work, the inclusive culture and client-centric mindset, and everyone’s natural good humor made our adjustment both pleasant and efficient.

Once rooted, we blossomed. By June, two key leaders, Nadine Green and Kristen Erickson, were promoted to new positions. They guided the expansion of the Forty1 North America team, hiring new recruits and promoting others into roles of greater responsibility. The team nearly doubled, adding consultants in the western and southeastern states, all to keep up with the exploding demand for our employee engagement consulting services. Thanks to the team’s deeply established client relationships, we welcomed five brand-new clients and grew the business by 38%.

The many opportunities we had to collaborate with our colleagues at Forty1 UK and in the other divisions of TCEG made the year even more interesting. I was thrilled to co-host a global, online focus group with Luke-Matthew Iveson, the Head of our DE&I Centre of Excellence. A session on wellbeing was conducted by Richelle Feigin, PhD, Vice President of Communications and Engagement, and Laura Hunt, Engagement Consultant. My delightful counterparts at Axiom and Cormis, Michael Ballas and Bob DuFour, respectively, invited us to present our capabilities to several of their clients. Our associates at Logicearth developed an excellent compliance training program for one of our long-standing clients. At Forty1, we introduced WRG to our clients, and film and digital colleagues to our prospective clients. Perhaps most excitingly, Forty1 UK and US combined our talents to pitch to – and win – an important new client.

When we joined The Creative Engagement Group, I had three growth goals for our momentous move:

  • Broaden our service offerings to meet our clients’ needs.
  • Provide greater career development opportunities for our talented team members.
  • Expand our geographic reach to the United Kingdom and Europe to enable us to serve our global clients more efficiently.

I am proud to report that our amazing, combined team has achieved all three of these goals.

But I have learned from working with my TCEG colleagues for over a year now that meeting challenges is really just who we are as a group. What excites me about this incredible collaboration is the team’s ethos of bold ambition.

At Forty1, our purpose is to create experiences that enrich people’s working lives. We know from the extraordinary client work we do – whether it’s driving a business transformation within the global research and development organization of a world-class pharma company, or integrating two powerhouse providers of foods and medicines into a company aimed at eradicating hunger and improving world health – that experiences can inspire lasting change in behavior, culture, and engagement. And as we’ve seen in our work with DE&I, wellbeing, and global secondment programs, when you enrich and change people’s working lives, they can change the world for good.

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman wrote, “Every day, we write the future… Together, we sign it… Together, we declare it… We share it… For this truth marches on… Inside each of us.”

Her words describe the spirit of Forty1 and The Creative Engagement Group. This unique organization brings together individuals who are committed to making an impact for good, and who believe they can achieve more for our clients together than they can alone.

That’s why I’m confident about stepping forward into the future with Forty1 and TCEG. We are unlike any other agency on Earth – collaborative, congenial, and certain that our collective abilities make a genuine difference to people everywhere.

Get in touch