Tell us about yourself.
My name is John Sarvay, and I?m the founder and principal consultant with Floricane, a strategic planning and organizational change consultancy here in Richmond. My background is in journalism and Middle Eastern culture, but I?ve somehow managed to create a new chapter in my career after an extended stint at Luck Companies supporting leadership development and culture change. Floricane has been around for six years, and our team of six ? going on seven ? loves Richmond. I live in Northside with my wife, Nikole, and our two kids ? Thea, who is turning seven, and Jack, who is six months old. They?re pretty much the reason Floricane exists.
What is the focus of your work and the need you are addressing?
My focus is helping individuals and organizations anticipate what?s next, and create a future that?s different from the past (to borrow a phrase from an old mentor of mine). Our team does that with strategic planning, leadership coaching, group facilitation and other change management approaches. The need is pretty clear ? there is no corner of our community that has not been touched by recent economic, demographic and social change. Whether I?m working with a small nonprofit, a large community organization, or a mid-sized business, most of my work is helping people uncover what they already know, make different sense out of it, and move somewhere new with that knowledge. It often feels as if there isn?t a conversation I have that doesn?t trigger some sort of shift ? in awareness, thought or action ? that impacts our community.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
The relationships ? deepening relationships over time, and uncovering new relationships along the way! Having a cup of coffee with a long-time client where we talk about our kids or our hobbies, and never get around to talking about work, is not a rare event. And discovering new people ? new to Richmond or just new to me ? reminds me constantly just how dynamic Richmond is becoming. It is so amazing to have a birds-eye view as a new generation creates new art, new businesses, new communities and new conversations in Richmond that are fresh and alive. It doesn?t seem to matter if I?m talking to someone about their nonprofit in Church Hill, hanging out with a team of engineers, visioning with an arts group or reinventing some tiny corner of the health care industry with a research team ? so many people in Richmond are energized by their work.
Tell us about your biggest accomplishment in this position.
Wow. Surviving? Keeping my head above water for six years feels like an accomplishment ? and being home most nights to have dinner with my family, and tuck my kids into bed. It?s been important to me as a business owner that my work compliments the other corners of my life, and I?ve been lucky that?s been the case with Floricane. Reinvention is a continuous challenge, especially reinventing without losing focus on my core values.
Floricane is growing a lot in 2015, and I?m learning the importance of getting out of my team?s way, of leading with a clear vision, and of investing time ? professional, emotional and personal ? in each person I support ? employees, clients, friends and family.
What is a lesson learned in this position?
A lesson learned? Richmond matters, but it is not the center of all life! I was talking with a team of leaders in Africa and Asia via Skype recently, and one of them jokingly called Richmond provincial ? and he was right! These leaders are working in the heart of global change in some of the most dynamic regions of the world, and they are doing work that just blows Richmond out of the water!
What?s coming next for your organization that really excites you?
The opportunities to reinvent excite me. We have a new consultant joining our team in April, and are losing one of our long-time team members in June. I?m eager to see the first arrive, and depressed to see the latter depart. But both changes create space for our whole team to rethink our work, our relationships, and our story. We?ve launched four new programs this year ? the Leadership Coaching Circle, Manager Development Program, our Insights Deep Dive series and our $10 Toolkit workshops. I love that the $10 Toolkit is so accessible ? one hour, ten bucks and one piece of targeted content. People walk away with something they can apply immediately, and we get to practice playing with new content. It?s such a win-win!
How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?
I devour ConnectVA?s weekly news blast. It introduces me to new faces in our community, and keeps me connected to news, events and resources. More than anything, I appreciate the ways ConnectVA helps me see our community through a new lens, and reminds me of the importance of learning. Probably half of my personal development is triggered off something I read in ConnectVA. And I?m constantly forwarding it to my team, as well.
Anything else you would like to share?
I am enthralled by the changes happening in the Richmond region, and especially in the nonprofit and community sectors. There is so much young talent pushing our community and organizations to get excited about the future, to change the way we work, to broaden and deepen our conversations with each other. And we need to reach outward ? Richmond should be talking to Hampton Roads, to Nashville, to Africa and South America, about its future. The more we connect beyond our local borders, the more dynamic and successful we will be within our borders.