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Volaris 101 Lays Foundation for Fresh Ideas, New Relationships

Attendees met like-minded colleagues and took away key lessons from the in-person sessions in Vancouver

The executive team from Windward Software was among several attendees who traveled to Vancouver for the June 2022 session of Volaris 101. Volaris 101 is a multi-day, in-depth look at the best practices Volaris shares across the company. The learning event brings together leaders from different verticals and functional areas, with the goal of challenging attendees to understand various aspects of operating a software business.

Volaris CEO Mark Miller with Portfolio Leaders Gordon Smith and Rick Bacchus
Volaris CEO Mark Miller and Portfolio Leaders Gordon Smith and Rick Bacchus shared their experiences with talent management and M&A

Windward’s team joined other Volaris employees within North America and had the chance to share experiences and establish new contacts within the Volaris network.

Attendees were immersed in the Volaris Group’s data-centric and financially savvy approach. They had a chance to hear from and meet key leaders, including CEO Mark Miller, Portfolio Leaders Rick Bacchus and Gordon Smith, and Modaxo's Chief Marketing Officer Kim Emmerson.

Modaxo's Victoria Fulton and Kim Emmerson

Modaxo's Victoria Fulton and Chief Marketing Officer Kim Emmerson share lessons

Empowering our leaders

Windward's General Manager, Erna Hansen, leaped at the opportunity to send her team to Volaris 101 in Vancouver.

“The real value of the event comes from the ability to learn from people in similar roles,” she said. “They can learn something from our experience, and vice versa.”

Windward’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Schilter, said the sessions offered a chance to review and recalibrate what his team has learned since being acquired in late 2019.

“Volaris 101 gets us thinking about the goals we set for the financial health of our business, talent management, and is an opportunity to validate what we’re doing.”

-Kevin Schilter, Chief Operating Officer, Windward Software

Schilter had the chance to talk to other leaders about challenges that are common within many software companies.

“It’s helpful to align from a leadership perspective with people who have decades of experience to share in the software industry,” he said.

The big picture of operating a software business

Windward's Tavish Johnson is normally focused on the sales and marketing function, but he says the event presented an opportunity for him to step back and look at broader business challenges.

“Although I’m in sales and marketing, at this event I’m sitting with the finance team and customer care team, and I'm learning about how we have to work together to achieve big picture results of running a software business.”

-Tavish Johnson, Director of Sales & Marketing, Windward Software

“Volaris 101 got us thinking about how we can work together with others to get to end results," he said. "This event specifically forces you to have those conversations and figure out what your dependencies are on the other departments.”

Schilter agrees: “It’s a good exercise to think about the whole business, not just the parts of the business that your job may be more narrowly focused on. Being able to take that perspective is going to make the entire business stronger.”

Building a network within Volaris

Networking is an obvious advantage of the event, said Johnson, who says engaging with peers helps him understand how to implement best practices at an operational level.

“Some of my best takeaways have come from the nuances of discussions with other Volaris businesses outside of Windward," he remarked. "After listening to a presentation, I talk to my peers about specific problems that we’re all going through, and that’s where a lot of my learning is coming from.” 

Business relationships and friendships that begin at events like Volaris 101 can reward attendees for years, says Windward’s Erna Hansen, who has personally seen benefits from the professional network at Volaris. She says: “Coming to this event feels like reuniting with family, and it is great to bring our new employees into the fold.”

Key takeaway: Always be learning and growing

An important message emphasized at every Volaris event is that our employees can enrich their careers by making use of our internal resources and taking part in our culture of learning.

Volaris 101 reminded Schilter that leaders should embrace pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone with the goal of growing professionally.

That sentiment was echoed by Portfolio Leader Rick Bacchus, who said to attendees: “There’s a humility in adopting an attitude that you can learn something new every day. That’s why I’ve worked for this company for so long.”

 

Learn more about events Volaris holds for leaders:

About the Author

Dilys is the editorial director at Volaris Group. She has a background in business journalism, with past experience covering publicly-traded companies, M&A, C-suite executives, and business trends as a TV news producer. Do you have a topic you'd like to see Acquired Knowledge magazine cover? Send your reader suggestions to: acquired.knowledge@volarisgroup.com

Profile Photo of Dilys Chan