Instead of asking employees to “tone it down” while they’re at work, Bounteous asks their team members to amp up their individuality.
“Bounteous is very focused on building a diverse workforce,” said Jennine Loisel, Bounteous’ director of solution engineering. “The company encourages everyone to be their most authentic self.”
This culture, where individuality is embraced and diversity celebrated, has helped Bounteous earn a top spot amongst independent digital agencies in North America.
As the firm anticipates another internal growth spurt leading into the next year, we caught up with three leaders who have played a key role in Bounteous’ ongoing success.
EMPLOYEES: 387 total; 175 locally
WHAT THEY DO: Bounteous guides brands of all sizes through digital transformation initiatives surrounding marketing, analytics, e-commerce and strategy.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Chicago, and offices throughout North America.
WHO THEY ARE LOOKING FOR: Energetic innovators unafraid to live their ideas, expand their knowledge and share their expertise.
THE MORE YOU KNOW: In an industry where women typically fill less than 20 percent of the seats, Bounteous has actively increased the gender balance internally to 36 percent, up from 19 percent in less than five years.
D&I EFFORTS: To continue building a team of diverse thinkers, Bounteous has a diversity and inclusion taskforce. Events like their Designers of Color in Conversation and community work with local public schools, chapters of women engineers, and IT professionals for people with disabilities are great examples of increasing access to diverse populations.
Jennine Loisel, Director of Solution Engineering
When Jennine isn’t leading a team of solution engineers to evolve their skills and discover new technologies to best serve their clients, she can be found speaking on behalf of Bounteous at events, networking opportunities and speaking engagements.
RECIPE RENEGADE: With an appreciation for the structure of a recipe, Jennine also enjoys tweaking previous recipes she’s made in the past to reinvent an old dish into something better.
Describe your team’s culture. How is this an extension or reflection of Bounteous’ culture as a whole?
Everyone at Bounteous is dedicated to providing the best solutions to our clients and operating with integrity. Beyond that, we have an extremely supportive environment. We encourage our consultants to think outside their roles and stretch their skills. We also put a strong emphasis on work-life balance, urging people to take time off when needed. Everyone I have worked with here is a great teammate. People are always happy to chip in when another team member is struggling or has something come up in their personal life, knowing that someone else would do the same for them.
Bounteous has a D&I task force that strives to create a more inclusive environment at the company. Why is diversity important for your team?
I would like to continue to expand our team and increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the solution engineering practice. Women and other minorities still make up a small percentage of people in software engineering, and I believe a diverse team builds better solutions. We actively seek out and support folks that haven’t traditionally sought out careers in IT. As a whole, Bounteous is very focused on building a diverse workforce. The company encourages everyone to be their most authentic self at work.
A diverse team builds better solutions.”
Walk us through your role with the development of the internship program. Why is this important to you and what impact has this program had on the company?
I am very excited about our internship program in solution engineering. We are looking for software engineers with drive and a strong ability to learn. Unlike experience, this is sometimes difficult to assess in an interview. I was highly involved in the process of recruiting interns. Yes, we looked for people with programming skills, but one of our biggest criteria was enthusiasm and a commitment to learning. The internship program allows us to bring on people that might have limited experience or came to programming in a nontraditional way — perhaps not through a CS degree — but that we think have an aptitude to learn.
Christine Hull, Design Director
Christine leads and helps shape digital opportunities for prospective and current clients in automotive, financial, retail and manufacturing industries. She and her team focus on delivering engaging, user-centric experiences drawn from data-driven insights and clear, strategic vision.
PUZZLE OF LIFE: If Christine had her way, she’d spend her days in libraries and historical societies to chase down the paper trail of her family ancestry. A big fan of puzzles, she called her family origin and history one of the biggest puzzles of all.
Tell us about your path to Bounteous. What inspired you to join the company?
After a decade at Razorfish, working with and learning from the absolute brightest people in the industry, I needed a change but didn’t want to be a cog in another big agency wheel. I was drawn to Bounteous, then HS2 Solutions, for the opportunity to help build the Experience Design practice, impact change across the organization and stretch my own professional capabilities. It’s been a welcome challenge to contribute to the long-term plans for growth, and to share my background with clients and design operations that shape and drive both internal growth for my teams, the company and our clients.
How would you describe your leadership approach to design? Why has this been successful?
My leadership style is rooted in understanding individuals, their motivations and aspirations, establishing trust in the workplace, and creating conditions that allow both teams and individuals to thrive. Building relationships is a time-consuming but immensely rewarding aspect of the leadership role. It’s foundational to building the practice, fueling teams and delivering great work. It’s even more critical in an environment of change and fast growth, where time isn’t on your side. To be successful, you have to accept that you can only control “how you show up.” As leaders, a positive, curious energy and presence has greater impact than any skills we bring to the table, and it’s contagious.
My leadership style is rooted in understanding individuals, their motivations and aspirations, establishing trust in the workplace, and creating conditions that allow both teams and individuals to thrive.”
What kind of working environment do you and your team strive for?
Our collaborative working style depends on strong teamwork. It’s about respect, empathy, dependability, inclusivity and civility, but also about wellness, care and a sense of community within and beyond our borders. The initiatives that bolster and cultivate our culture the most are those that promote and champion diversity and inclusion. We foster an environment where differences are valued and where our greatest resource, our people, are celebrated for bringing their full, authentic selves to work every day.
Jamie Vonk, Project Director
Problem-solving is her game, Jamie is her name. The project director has been with Bounteous for nearly a decade, having joined when they were a small yet mighty team. While she’s seen a ton of growth and made moves within the biz herself, she said the high standard to produce their best work has never faded.
HIGH ON HIKING: A hiker at heart, Jamie spends most of her vacations seeking out higher elevation, in addition to local spots.
You’ve been with the company for a total of more than 10 years. How have you grown professionally since joining Bounteous?
When I first started, we were a small development consulting firm. I played a lot of different roles then including quality assurance, business analyst and project manager. I grew in my ability within each of those areas. Then as Bounteous grew and started to incorporate design, analytics and strategy, I also had to grow in order to understand and support those areas. It hasn’t been about climbing a ladder, but continually expanding and growing my knowledge and expertise.
How does Bounteous support professional growth or encourage team members to explore new technologies?
Bounteous has a culture of continuous learning. The company encourages and supports employees to become subject matter experts through certifications and trainings and provides endless tools and technologies. To have expert resources in so many areas of the business helps make Bounteous invaluable and mutually benefits both our teams and clients.
We definitely do not work in silos; we have a very open information exchange across teams to answer questions and support the success of each team.”
What opportunities are there to cross-collaborate with other teams?
We definitely do not work in silos; we have a very open information exchange across teams to answer questions and support the success of each team. Recently, one of the senior designers on our team came up with a brilliant strategy for website analysis. I knew we had two to three other teams who had similar projects that would benefit from this strategy. We coordinated a meeting to provide the analysis and direction for their teams to leverage that strategy. Cross-collaborating is ingrained in how we work in order to share information quickly and help in others’ success.