I recently sat down with Aspis founder and CEO, Jeff Wagner. I wanted to do a deep dive on ‘The Aspis Values’ and what they really stand for. If you go to the ‘About’ page on our website, you will see that are values are: Community, Integrity, and Diversity. But on the page, they are just words; what do they really stand for?
The first thing that Jeff told me was that the Aspis values have not set order and are all equally important. “They started simply as values that were very important and dear to me.” Most company values are created over a long period of time, with a lot of deliberation from multiple different people. However, the Aspis values were created before we hired a single employee.
Overtime, the values became more than just words. They slowly evolved into dictating who we hired and even who we are willing to work with. Jeff told me, “Whenever I am presented with a dilemma, I can go back to the core values.” And these aren’t just fluff words – when choosing anyone from vendors, to attorneys, to individual contractors, these individuals must reflect our values.
Now lets’ take a deep dive and look at each individual value.
Value 1: Community
The idea behind ‘community’ being one of our values is simple. “We want to be a giver, not a taker,” Jeff told me. Giving back to our local communities is a very important practice for Aspis. Aspis primarily has offices in 3 locations around the US: Kansas City, MO, Duluth, MN, and Washington D.C. We try to support the local communities that we are a part of whenever we can.
One of the largest ways that we support the community is through our HUBZone certification. This certification requires Aspis to hire employees and have office space from Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) to support areas and people who normally wouldn’t get as much attention from local businesses. If you want to learn more about our HUBZone certification, click here.
Another way we support our communities is through the vendors that we choose to hire. For example, our CPAs and HR Agency is local to Kansas City and our web design company is located in Duluth. On top of our vendors, Aspis as an organization is very involved in local Chambers as well as the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Mid America LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
Finally, Aspis recently unveiled a new program that encourages volunteer work. Employees are now permitted to use a portion of their sick time to volunteer in their local communities. These measures are just a handful of the steps Aspis takes to support our value of ‘Community.’
Value 2: Integrity
Jeff told me that he was at a meeting around a decade ago when a speaker brought up the idea of integrity. ‘What does integrity really mean to you,’ was the question that was posed to the room of attendees. An answer was given by someone who Jeff really looked up to and respected and it has stuck with him until today. “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.”
Jeff sees this as important for every company, but specifically for Aspis. When you are a cybersecurity company, a government contractor, AND an employer, integrity has to play a large role in virtually all business that you conduct.
Aspis doesn’t just hold itself and its own employees to this standard – this is a value we look for in any potential business partnerships as well. In fact, there have been times where Aspis has elected not to work with a potential client based on their values not aligning with our own.
Value 3: Diversity
Plenty of companies claim to support diversity, but what does that mean? Jeff made it clear to me that diversity is more that just the physical, noticeable differences between people. It includes everything from sexuality and gender identity, to disability status, veteran status, and general diversity of thought.
In fact, Jeff sees the diversity of Aspis as a competitive advantage. He shared a story with me about a time when Aspis was preparing to make a social media post to celebrate black history month. Instead of just hopping on the internet to find out what they should post, Jeff encouraged the marketing team to reach out to Aspis’ employees that identify as black and look for their input. In doing this, it brought the employees closer together and helped everyone to feel more included and like their voice was heard.
Community, Integrity, and Diversity provided a great foundation for Aspis to be built on. Our core values continue to be our guiding star in everything we do.
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Who Is Aspis?
Aspis is an IT professional services firm headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, specializing in cybersecurity and management consulting. Our values are Integrity, Community, and Diversity and our vision is to democratize cybersecurity. We make enterprise cybersecurity solutions and professional services accessible to all sizes of organizations from medium-sized businesses to large Fortune 500 enterprises; non-profits; and municipal, state, and federal government agencies. Aspis is an Independent Small Business, Certified HUBZone Small Business Concern, Certified LGBT Business Enterprise, Self-Certified Small Disadvantaged Business, Certified Virginia Values Veterans, and Better Business Bureau accredit ted company. To learn more about how we can help you with your IT needs check out our website https://aspis.consulting and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up to date on cybersecurity news, company updates, and need-to-know tips.