From October 30 to November 1, 2019 DT Global convened its first annual Chief of Party (COP) Summit in our Washington, DC offices. The Summit introduced the COPs to DT Global’s new leadership team, organizational values, and vision for the future. It served as an important step toward integrating the COPs from our field offices into the DT Global family. 

Though this was the first Summit for the newly formed company, one of DT Global’s legacy companies, AECOM International Development, had held six annual COP Summits prior. This inaugural Summit gave us the chance to bring together staff from across our legacy organizations to look toward the future of the company as a field-driven organization. As Bikram Ghosh, Vice President for Economic Growth, Governance, and Agriculture and this year’s Summit organizer stated: “In the past, our COP Summits have offered an opportunity for field and home office staff to come together and share lessons learned and best practices. We wanted to continue that mission this year, and but also introduce the new DT Global to our COPs—many of whom have worked with legacy Development Transformations and AECOM for years. The Summit also gave them a chance to meet our leadership, learn about our purpose and values, and discuss how to operationalize these values in their everyday work.”

Learning about DT Global’s Vision, Purpose, and Values

Over the course of three days, COPs and home office staff had the opportunity to meet with senior leadership from DT Global, DT Institute, and Global Peace and Development Charitable Trust—the DT Global family—to learn more about the vision, purpose, and values of the company. A panel session with COPs enabled field leadership to learn about each other, and home office staff to learn more about the leaders of our field teams. These sessions were facilitated by project management staff, who solicited questions for senior leadership and COPs from a wide swath of junior and mid-level project staff.

The Summit included a discussion on technical strategies and priorities with our US Practice Leads from the Stabilization & Transition; Environment & Infrastructure; Economic Growth, Governance, and Agriculture; and Learning & Innovation practices. In addition, sessions covered the company’s global presence; the work of DT Global’s non-profit sister organization, DT Institute; and ethics, global security, communications, and creating an inclusive working environment.

Collaboration to Support Field-Driven Work

The Summit gave field staff the opportunity to meet their colleagues in other field offices, gain a comprehensive understanding of DT Global’s vision as a field-driven organization, and fully understand the support that our home office provides. As Jessica Hidalgo, COP for USAID Amazon Best Socio-Environmental Practices Activity stated, “For me it was very important learn about DT Global and to meet all of you, so that we don’t feel that we are a project working only with our home office project management team, but rather that we know all our colleagues in the home office and the full range of support we can call on.”

To learn about how staff can best work together across international offices, DT Global included a Core Strengths leadership exercise as part of the Summit. Leading up to the event, participants filled out a comprehensive strengths finder assessment.  Using the results of the assessment, an external leadership coach facilitated a session on differing working styles, managing conflict, and best practices for team collaboration. 

Bringing COPs together with home office staff enabled cross-pollination across offices and a better understanding of the challenges staff can face. As US Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation Specialist, Evis Farka Haarke said “I often get stuck in the home office world and what we need to do for the client, so having the opportunity to hear about the complex environments that COPs face, and the stresses and needs that they have, brings a new perspective to my work.”

The COP Summit concluded with a Fall Fest social gathering hosted by US President Sloan Mann at his home, which brought together staff and their families to celebrate the launch of DT Global.