In the words of one attendee's first impressions of Quadrants: “They don't do these things in halves!”
From September 25 to 29, 2022, more than 1,100 participants from Volaris-owned businesses came together in London for Quadrants, the world’s largest gathering of vertical market software leaders. They were also joined by nearly 80 participants from across other Constellation Software operating groups.
The 2022 edition of the conference represented a major milestone for Volaris. It was the biggest version yet of the flagship learning and networking event, and the first event of its size overall for the company. Volaris employees filled the entire hotel and were temporarily immersed in a space filled with Quadrants branding.
The Quadrants Experience
Starting with an opening night party kicked off by Volaris CEO Mark Miller and continuing throughout the week, attendees had chances to mingle with Volaris executives, portfolio leaders, group leaders, fellow business unit leaders, and functional leaders.
The conference is conceptualized around our core value of knowledge sharing as a driver of business success. Designed with the understanding that each business within Volaris is in a different stage of growth or profitability, conference attendees were able to customize their individual learning experiences by choosing from more than 1,600 sessions.
Participants also had the opportunity to gather by function, and each portfolio also held a dedicated day for its own activities.
Keeping it Fresh: New in 2022
New additions to the latest version of Quadrants included a trade show area where Volaris businesses could show off their products, as well as professional development meetups, wellness and lifestyle events, and entertainment and relaxation areas for both extroverts and introverts.
Volaris Chief Talent Officer Grace Annab led a Women in Leadership breakfast which featured a panel discussion with leaders including Constellation Software board member Laurie Schultz, Group Leader Tran Ly, Tibersoft Co-Founder and President Mary Wilson, and Trapeze Group North America’s VP of Professional Services, Leanne Tribe.
Volaris held its first-ever dinner for outside business leaders who are considering becoming part of our global network. These prospective members of the Volaris community got a chance to connect with key executives at Volaris and get a taste of the Quadrants experience.
Celebrating Successes, Overcoming Challenges
Day 1 kicked off with a look back at the success of Volaris Group over the past 27 years, through a detailed multimedia presentation showing the company’s journey of learning as the company grew by revenue and through acquisitions.
Volaris CEO Mark Miller encouraged participants to treat the conference as a “professional speed-dating opportunity”. The culture of sharing at Volaris facilitates connections between colleagues, who often trade advice and offer help to those facing similar challenges.
Miller invited leaders and representatives from each of the four Quadrants tracks into the spotlight to talk about the unique journeys of learning each has gone on while at Volaris. Those leaders included Nathan Godfrey, Craig McAlister, Rob Turner, Andy Wheeler, Tony DeSilvester, Cristina Wheless, Chris Wildsmith, David Eason, Tiffany Dunsdon, Tran Ly, Lucy Naylor, and Sarah Thompson.
Volaris employees heard a summary of an extensive culture report compiled by author, academic, and Constellation Software board member Larry Cunningham. The report was commissioned by Volaris to help us reflect on the drivers of our success and take the pulse on how the organizational culture has evolved over time. It also suggested directions in which Volaris could continue to grow, in keeping with our key value of ongoing learning and improvement.
A Culture of Perpetual Learners and Experimenters
Day 2 started with the presentation of the inaugural Volaris Learning Award to Tony DeSilvester, one of the track leaders who played a major role in organizing Quadrants. The award was presented in honor of Marie Borg, a former employee who tragically passed away in 2020. Borg was remembered for giving her enthusiastic support to help plan the very first version of Quadrants.
Next, Quadrants attendees were treated to a thought-provoking fireside chat about innovation and organic growth. Constellation Software President and Founder Mark Leonard took to the stage for an in-depth and entertaining exchange of ideas with Michael Schrage, MIT research fellow and author of The Innovator’s Hypothesis. In a conversation filled with witty repartee, they expounded the benefits of using business experimentation as a method of generating actionable insights for businesses to better understand customers, products, and themselves.
In continuing with the Volaris belief in long-term investment, Mark Miller announced plans for the corporate office to continue offering workshops about business experimentation as a tool to create value.
Someone who learns something new is always a different person than they were before.
- Tatiana Pieper, Quadrants 2022 attendee and Director of Business Strategy and M&A for LATAM, Modaxo
Knowledge-Sharing via Breakout Sessions
A key part of the Quadrants experience is the opportunity for each participant to moderate sessions. Each session at the conference was capped at 12 participants and 45 minutes, which ensured many intimate discussions about a variety of business challenges.
Tom Knoebel, Manager of Development at Tribute found himself in demand as a moderator of several sessions, including one about best practices for open-source code, another about optimizing revenues with an obsolete product, and yet another about how to develop quality metrics. He was invigorated by the opportunity, especially because his team hadn’t gotten many opportunities to experience in-person Volaris events after being acquired in 2020.
“I’ve learned a lot just from preparing my presentations,” Knoebel said. “I had a lot of practical experience with some of the topics based on experience at my company, but with other topics, I researched and dug for information.”
Group Leader John Crook led a session about how machine learning and AI can provide immediate benefits to businesses. He gave an overview of some down-to-earth applications of such tools and demonstrated surprising tasks artificial intelligence can now accomplish.
Quadrants guest speaker and MIT research fellow Michael Schrage found Crook’s session to be “terrific” and further added: “John offered a tour of real intelligence about artificial intelligence.”
Reflections and Key Takeaways
HR leader Susanne Guld said upon reflecting on the event: “A few of my takeaways are: 'Let’s test it’, call a client when you do a reference check, and the last one: 'Always have a big, hairy, audacious goal.'"
The event inspired Modaxo leader Tatiana Pieper to quote a lyric from a Brazilian song—Um passo à frente e você não está mais no mesmo lugar—which translates into: “A step forward and you’re not in the same place anymore.”
What does this phrase mean to her when reflecting on Quadrants?
“It symbolizes transformation. It holds the promise of change. Someone who learns something new is always a different person than they were before.”
As a company that strives to get better all the time—we truly couldn’t have said it any better.