At the beginning of December, Plank turned 20 years old. So while we certainly spent some time over the year thinking about our history, we also turned our thoughts to the future of the company and how we can grow stronger over the next 20 years.
We opened the year digging into the concept of success; what it means, and how we measure it. We realized it depends on everyone being on the same page about our priorities and processes as a team. So we spent some time boiling down our values as an organization and setting goals to work towards together. Communication and collaboration are at the core of everything we do, so we’re being deliberate about how to do both of those things better every day.
Happy Birthday to Us!
We celebrated our 20th Anniversary with an epic shindig at the Cabaret Lion D’Or, which saw alumni travel from far and wide—including Newfoundland and Australia—to party like it’s 1998. Speaking of epic, Warren wrote up the entire history of Plank in a series of journal posts, so take a stroll down memory lane with him, won’t you? Or for a more visual journey, check out our Instagram feed and #plank20years posts.
The Plank crew maintained an even keel in 2018 with Keron Gonzales and Stéphane Boileau moving on, and Megan McEwan and Dave Kellam joining our ranks.
WE SAID HELLO :)
...AND GOODBYE :(
A big shout-out to our two interns from Vanier College’s Computer Science Technology program. Alexander and Jethro were both great additions to the team, and we hope they enjoyed their time with us. We look forward to Naomi Catwell joining us in January.
For our annual Plank Appreciation Day, we took a break from summer’s unrelenting heat with some lazy canoeing on the Lachine Canal and even lazier drinking at a floating bar, followed by pizza and karaoke madness.
For year-round team fun, we showed our appreciation for melted cheeses with lavish lunch spreads of Poutine, Raclette, and Tacos. We’re dreaming up the next feast...
In between all of the partying, boating, singing, and cheese consumption, we did manage to get some work done.
We launched brand new sites for BRiX, a nearby apartment building; the CFL’s Flag Football league; and foldA, a new festival of live digital art that we were proud to support as a sponsor. We stretched our geographic sphere Westward with a redesigned member’s portal for The Women Donors Network out of San Francisco, and Northward with a mini-site for the Cree Cultural Institute, a trilingual site and our first in the Cree language (launching any day now!). We also launched one of our biggest projects ever, a complete redesign and restructuring of The Canadian Encyclopedia, a bilingual resource of over 20,000 articles.
We kept up with our loyal clients with upgrades and maintenance for Culture Days, evenko, Osheaga, Ile Soniq, Heavy Montreal, MTelus, Autodesk, Concordia, the Student Society of McGill, The Sun, Juno Beach Centre Association, Vimy to Juno, Repercussion Theatre, Rush and, finally, eOne Entertainment with a website transfer for Death From Above 1979. Whew, what a list!
We’ve also got some exciting projects on the horizon. We’ve done strategy sessions with the Community Foundations of Canada to redesign their website to better serve their users, and are embarking on a new Virtual Museum of Canada project with Heritage Toronto to showcase the city’s music history. We’ll improve the website for Canadian TV producers Cineflix, and continue work with our partners at Rebus on branding and design support for their personal reader platform. We’re excited to start a new relationship with the Centaur Theatre in this, their 50th year. And of course, we never know what other projects will come our way. It’s going to be another busy year!
Oh yeah, and we also gave our own website some love, evolving our look, tightening up our technology, and translating a huge chunk of our content into French. << Hourra!>>
Every year, we carve out some time for pro-bono work. This year we saw the launch of the Manifeste des Femmes en Tech, a project that we helped out with last year that aims to increase the number of female speakers at technology events. We also pitched in to get Les Scientifines back online after some technical issues.
We Went Places
We opted to try a different approach to professional development this year, so instead of attending conferences, the team spent time honing their skills in different ways. But we still got out and about!
- Owner Summit | Charleston, SC | Warren | February 11-13
- SXSW | Austin, TX | Warren | March 9-13
- Canadian Museums Association Conference | Vancouver, BC | Warren | April 9-12
- Museums and the Web | Vancouver, BC | Warren | April 18-21
- Strategy Session: The Sun Magazine | Chapel Hill, NC | Jason, Jenn | April 27
- Hot Docs | Toronto, ON | Warren | April 29-May 2
- Hack Day: Women’s Donor Network | San Francisco, CA | Chloe, Jenn, Warren | May 14
- Festival of Live Digital Art (foldA) | Kingston, ON | Erin | June 19-22
- Hack Day: Heritage Toronto | Toronto, ON | Jason, Warren, Jenn | August 22
- Supercrawl | Hamilton, ON | Warren | September 13-16
- Strategy Session: Community Foundations of Canada | Ottawa, ON | Chloe, Warren, Veronique | September 26
- Digital Marketing Boot Camp for the Arts | NYC, NY | Warren, Erin | October 18-19
- Ontario Museums Conference | Toronto, ON | Warren | October 24-26
- Creative Director Camp | New Orleans, LA | Jenn | December 2-4
We Did Stuff!
We hosted our second Dinner Party, this one in Toronto, with Jenn Sguigna as a special guest talking about the challenges inherent in executing virtual exhibits. We were joined by a group of other museum and heritage professionals for some great conversation. We also hosted the 4th annual Montreal Baseball Hack Day for tech-loving baseball fans!
Outside of Plank, our team got up to some admirable stuff as well. Steve spoke at the 5th anniversary of Creative Mornings Montréal, as co-founder of the chapter. Massimo is a volunteer organizer for CRC Robotics’ Verti-goal challenge for high schools coming up in February. Debbie spoke about Mental Health in our industry at Lesbians Who Tech Summit and PHPQuebec and helped organize Pride Hacks. Chloé launched the Manifesto of Women in Tech, a new podcast, and continued her work on diversity in tech, earning her a nomination for Diversity Champion at the Startup Awards. Courtney ran Montreal’s first MythCon, a welcoming and inclusive weekend of role-playing for over 50 participants. Warren set a personal record of attending 34 baseball games (and got sat on by the Philly Phanatic), Véronique devoured an astonishing 53 books, and Erin planted her first garden which more or less survived the summer.
We’ll admit that silliness is a big part of our company culture. While Mila’s zoomies are always a welcome source of entertainment, she’s not the only one who lightens the mood.
Early in the year, Steve got some of us obsessed with HQ Trivia to the point where we were featured on The National. And Jerome deserves a prize for being quickest on the draw with the GIFs in Slack. But the ultimate foolishness this year came from ZeBigBigBoss himself, when he ordered a kit of 1,200 sticky googly-eyes. No surface is safe, and nothing will be the same again around here.
We hope you had a great year, and we wish you all the best in 2019!