Written by Laura Wakelam
21 Jul 2022

Writing Our Next Chapter at the 2022 North American Summit

What happens when you bring together teammates from across the business for a multi-day gathering for the first time in over two years? What sort of conversations do you have? What plans do you make for the future?

The Daniels family found ourselves in that exact situation when we hosted a summit in May 2022, bringing together colleagues from across the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

With a theme of Writing our Next Chapter, the summit was an opportunity to not just pause and reflect on recent accomplishments but look ahead to where we want to be when we hold our next summit, setting the stage for our next era of growth.


1 / Telling our Story

2 / Cementing our Commitments 

3 / Team Building Gets Mushy 

4 / Learning from our Partners

5 / Writing our Next Chapter 

Telling our Story

With the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first opportunity for many Daniels colleagues to meet in person since joining the company, and our first goal was to get everyone on the same page with warm-up sessions around Daniels history and group breakouts to discuss individual roles and experiences.

Presentations around corporate history as well as recent financial performance were critical to ensuring each attendee had the right context in mind when focusing on where we want to be next. With a tight timeline of activities for the summit, getting everyone on the same page first was key to providing focus on our key objectives; namely, where to continue prioritizing our support for our customers. 

Cementing our Commitments

While it was important to go through some history and examine our performance, the main goal of bringing everyone together was to look ahead, and the majority of our time was spent in breakout sessions working through which business strategies and approaching should be emphasized moving forward.

Naturally, much of this time was spent looking at how to improve customer experience, an area of focus for the last 12 months as we’ve remained committed to supporting healthcare during one of its most difficult seasons.

We dove deep into the mechanisms already in play across teams and facilities, exploring ways to improve key customer metrics such as DIFOT – Deliver in Full, On Time (or, in simpler terms, how often we follow-through on our service promises). While our DIFOT score is already an excellent 98.75%, the goal of these breakouts was to get creative on how to ensure consistency across regions and to get us even closer to perfection. 

Team Building Gets Mushy

On day two we returned to the more light-hearted task of teambuilding with a marshmallow challenge meant to test creativity and innovation by seeing who can build the tallest structure (with a marshmallow on top of course) using spaghetti, masking tape, and some string. While this calls upon skills taught in Kindergarten, it can be surprisingly challenging for savvy business-oriented veterans, and that certainly came true in our version of the challenge.

While each team took a different approach – with some more successful than others – the ensuing chaos was not just an excuse to blow off some steam, but a valuable reminder of the importance of working together to get through a challenging assignment with unexpected hurdles.

Of course, besides these sillier breakout sessions, we would be remiss to reunite for business without venturing out for some fun. Many of our Chicago Support Office team were able to join summit attendees for dinner and drinks following Day 1 of the Summit. 

Learning from our Partners

While this was a mostly internal affair, it’s impossible for a business to improve without a little outside feedback. We were lucky enough to have several guess presenters join us to share their unique perspective and provide feedback on how we can improve when it comes to supporting the customer.

For a GPO perspective, we were lucky enough to have representatives from Premier GPO join us for an in-depth conversation and Q&A session diving into the core challenges their members are facing. The wide-ranging and insightful discussion touched on several themes around improving our experience with customers, including an emphasis on transparency and opportunities to focus on sustainable capabilities.

We also heard directly from our customers through video testimonials that underscored the hard work the team has already done to cement the customer experience. While we came away from the summit with a clear list of objectives, it was gratifying to see the outcome of the work that has already been accomplished so far. 

Writing our Next Chapter

To close out the summit, our last breakout session was focused on identifying the handful of “wildly important goals” to guide the organization for the year ahead.

Whether it’s a focus on breaking into new waste streams, diversifying our service capabilities, or improving our back-end deliverability, each group came back with the same general theme: No matter what we focus on, it all comes back to our ability to deliver consistent service and reliable outcomes to our customers when they need it most.

So, as we turn the page and begin writing our next chapter, the pages may be blank, but the outline is set, and the direction is clear. We can’t wait to share more as the ink dries. 




Header Style: 
Laura Wakelam

Laura Wakelam

Global Chief Marketing Officer

Brand and Communications Curator of Daniels Health global group of companies, Laura is a strong believer in cause-driven brand identity and honest storytelling