It is the question on everyone’s mind — how did your organization respond to the Coronavirus? We believe strongly in integrity and servant leadership, so those are the principles that guided our response to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. A company’s core values are nice to talk about but frankly only matter if they represent reality. It is not always the case. Actions matter more than words, so here are key details from our COVID-19 response that underscore our core values:
1. Early Communication. As the situation was unfolding in early March, leadership engaged in emergency meetings to develop, prepare, and deliver updates to staff via email and Microsoft Teams.
2. Continued Communication. We identified main points of contact, sent out spot surveys and questions, had informal check-ins, included coronavirus-related discussions during meetings, and more. We supply as much information as we can and are transparent about how much we know (or don’t know). Monthly newsletters go out with in-depth information to our team members as well.
3. Emergency PTO bank. By the middle of March, our team members banded together to create a “PTO bank” for a worst-case scenario: either that one of our own got the virus and would need to take extra PTO to recover, or in case one of our contracts were negatively impacted. Together, we pooled hundreds of hours from our team members and enacted a policy on how to access it.
4. Facilitated Transition to Work From Home (WFH) with our government clients, when applicable – encouraging the use of Microsoft Teams, shift work within cleared facilities, and more.
5. Growth Focus. Leadership continued to pursue new opportunities with heightened urgency. We invested in internal new hires to strategically further growth, geared towards maintaining our current team members and bringing on more. We avoided the scarcity mindset not only to continue delivering top-notch service to existing clients but also to expand our market footprint.
6. We keep our offices clean, sanitized, and distant. Once stay-at-home orders were lifted in Virginia, in collaboration with our building management and in line with CDC guidelines, we created a sign-up sheet to ensure appropriate social distancing in our HQ office space. We also have masks and hand sanitizer readily available, as well as daily cleaning services throughout the facilities. Additionally, health and safety policies are in place to protect our team members when present.
7. We keep learning. Our leadership and HR teams have stayed up to date on important information from the CDC, health officials, and government agencies – and share it with our team members and prospective candidates.
We understand that this is an evolving situation. As a dynamic small business, we strive to achieve our goal of being “Mission-Oriented. People-Driven.“ so ensuring the safety of all team members is paramount. We are grateful that we have an adaptable and understanding group that is dedicated to each other and our clients. Thank you to each team member for your trust as we continue to navigate this time together.
Blake Willson Group, LLC Ranks No. 1065 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 436 Percent
ARLINGTON, VA, August 18, 2020 – Blake Willson Group once again earned a spot on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 listing of fastest-growing private companies!
Each year, Inc. magazine announces the most successful and fastest-growing private companies in America. This list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment — its independent small and mid-sized businesses.
This honor further recognizes BWG’s passion for growth as a team and that the dedication and hard work of our team members is truly paying off. It is especially telling this year, as the companies across the country face uncertain times, and this honor speaks to the strength of our team as a whole.
When asked about this recognition, R.J. Blake, CPA, CGFM, President & CEO, shared, “Blake Willson Group is honored to be ranked among the country’s most successful and innovative companies for the second year in a row.” Andrew Griffin, CDFM, Sr. Vice President, added, “We believe this is attributed to our steadfast commitment to the firm’s core values and our team members that share in those values, most importantly servant leadership.”
Blake Willson Group celebrates Kristin Heinle, the company’s newest Certified Public Accountant! After months of dedication and hard work, Kristin passed the rigorous CPA exam in June 2020.
We sat down with Kristin, BWG’s first successful CPA candidate while employed with the company, to learn more about her CPA exam journey and what the designation means to her.
Kristin graduated from Elon University with her degree in accounting, which put her in the perfect position with the required number of college coursework hours to qualify for the exam. Inspired by her Dad to pursue this certification, she always knew that the CPA would be in her future but stressed the importance of making sure the timing is right. For Kristin, the timing was perfect, having a solid support system and home life to help balance the demands along with the support and encouragement from BWG.
While prepping for the exams, Kristin dedicated time to researching the exam online and discovered the value of CPA Exam Review Forums. She discovered that this resource was rich with material suited for each person regardless of learning style. No matter your preferred study method, there are resources available for you online. While studying is time-consuming and, at times, seemingly endless, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Kristin recommends planning mini breaks or vacations after each exam to allow yourself much deserved R&R before hitting the books for the next exam.
Thinking about taking the exam? Kristin’s advice: Go for it. Seize the moment when the timing is right and take it one test at a time.
Despite advice to take the hardest test first, she recommends starting with the section you are most comfortable with. Doing so not only builds up your confidence, but helps you become familiar with the material as you learn how to study.
No matter your learning style or approach to the exam, the hard work pays off in the end. Kristin is more proud of her CPA certification than any other educational achievement and knows that the sky’s the limit for her now as a Certified Public Accountant.
Congratulations, Kristin Heinle, CPA, CGFM!
MICROSOFT TEAMS, June 17, 2020 – BWG celebrated Mary Rowlett, the company’s first retiree through the virtual communication and collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams. Members of several families were in attendance to include the BWG family, Mary’s work colleagues, and her own family. RJ Blake, President & CEO, and Drew Griffin, Senior Vice President, shared tributes to Mary, who played an integral role in the world of federal contracting for over 20 years. The evening was filled with kind words, well wishes, awards, and gifts to commemorate Mary’s life of dedicated service.
The ceremony transitioned seamlessly to the virtual environment amid social gathering restrictions and resulted in a memorable event for both the honoree and her guests. Blake Willson Group extends its congratulations to Mary and we wish her great joy and relaxation in the many years ahead!
A company-wide message from Blake Willson Group CEO & President, RJ Blake.
I hope you are safe and staying sane and hopeful during these unprecedented times. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the civil unrest caused by the systemic injustices in America, the times have been undoubtedly challenging. Hearts are heavy, and emotions are high.
In line with our core values of Integrity, Servant-Leadership, Reliability, and Diversity, we acknowledge the injustices that negatively impact our Black community and, as an active response, plan to create an open dialogue within our team that will yield positive change. We must stop systemic racism and hold police accountable for unlawful actions.
The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words are the foundation upon which America was built. However, these words on paper do not and have not translated as a reality for all, and this is something we must focus on changing, together.
Blake Willson Group is committed to upholding the fair, just, and inclusive culture that our team members deserve and benefit from. We cannot change the world alone, but we can together, starting with ourselves, our friends and families, and our communities. With this in mind, I respectfully ask and encourage our teams to have meaningful dialogue to understand how people are feeling and discuss ways we can continually improve our workplace and our communities, especially our Black communities right now.
We commit to creating a safe place to tackle issues in our daily lives and communities and to propose ways to take action and address change. With that said, we want to hear from you. Tomorrow, you will receive a survey to share your thoughts and feedback on how Blake Willson Group can effectively respond and encourage positive change. We are eager to receive your feedback.
Finally, I encourage you to reach out to me directly if you need to be heard or want to talk through any of this.
With love and respect to all,
RJ Blake, CPA, CGFM | President & CEO