TranscriptI’m Megan Lane, Account Executive at Valorem Reply.


Hi, I’m Merritt Muñoz, a UX Designer here at Valorem Reply.


Hey everybody, I’m Tracey Wharton and I’m a project manager at Valorem Reply.


Hi, my name is Julia Spiers and I am the Business Support Manager at Valorem Reply.




Megan: I attended a session called Remote Work: Making It Work For You And Your Team.


Merritt: I attended the Relationships Are The True Currency: Now More Than Ever’ session.


Tracy: Owning Your Past & Future with OwnTrail.


Julia: I had the privilege of attending the Seattle WIT Regatta for the second year in a row because it was once again a virtual event. There were a number of fantastic sessions but my favorite one was probably Raising Up The Voices of our AAPI Tech Community.




Megan: 12 months ago, most leaders basically had the perception that remote work 100%, or remote work, was not possible. It would be disastrous. And here we are a year later and it's thriving and surviving, and a lot of people probably will be choosing to stay remote 100% [going] forward. So, a lot of people talked about the pros of remote work [in the session]. [For example]:

  • You can travel [and work] from anywhere.
  • You can get company stipends or reimbursements for like Internet and phone now.
  • No commuting, a lot of people put that as a positive.
  • Commonality for everyone. So, everyone's been in the same situation of working remotely so that [created really] great transparency and an even playing field between clients and employees and customers.
  • [Remote work has] also encouraged, the leaders talked about, creativity. How their team members connected. A lot of people in our group realized that everybody at some point is navigating challenges, navigating fears, and having to find courage to keep working in this type of environment with the unknown that's happening.


Merritt: The main theme is the need for human connection. And the value of that connection, might be more important now than ever. I always knew this, but this year with the big changes in how we interact with others, solidified this knowledge.


Tracey: We were able to spend time and reflect on our stories of where we are, like where we've been so far, and also where we’d like to go next. Prior to this conference, I've never heard of OwnTrail. That was a really fun tool that allowed us to create our nonlinear journeys of everything we experienced in our life so far. So, whether it's work milestones, life milestones or any obstacles and also what future aspirations do we have. And I enjoyed how this was inclusive for both life and work. Where we discussed the importance of owning our own stories and then how powerful it can be to share that story.


Julia: [The session] provided a safe space for those in [the AAPI] community to get together and talk about their experiences, especially over the last year with the uptick in hate crimes towards Asian Americans. And for allies to also sit in and hear about some of the ways that they can best support those in the AAPI community.





  • At Valorem we have we started what we call Touch Base Tuesday. That's 15 minutes where we do an intro meeting and get to know someone [within the org] that we don't immediately know or work [closely] with. And that's encouraged across the whole organization. And it's been a lot of fun to actually meet people that I normally would not even interact with.
  • Remote work has also given us the gift of real life in business and having that mesh and merge. So, you know, think about pets, and children, and doorbells, and deliveries, and lot of unexpected things happening on Zoom or Teams meetings. And we all had a really good laugh about that because it has actually made interactions, to some degree, we may not be face-to-face, but they have become a lot more real-life and a lot more human.
  • I learned a new term, most people might know it, but it's a Zoom Mullet or Teams Mullet where you have business attire on top and you have party casual attire down below. And it was funny because the panel showed their “mullets”.
  • Remote work is here to stay. And it will be interesting to see how it plays out with a hybrid and remote work environment.


Merritt: [Key learnings from the session for me were:]

  • It's still possible to grow relationships even virtually.
  • Strengthening your existing network can do the same amount of good as adding brand new people to your network.
  • Loneliness is useful because it brings awareness that we have needs that aren't being met. Paying attention to loneliness and not ignoring it helps us reach out for connection. This is important because, as humans, we are social creatures, and we benefit when we acknowledge our needs instead of ignoring them.


Tracey: By sharing [our] story, it helps build a network of peers to help push and guide women forward. And it could be women who have experienced the same obstacles, or perhaps driving towards that same future aspiration. It also did a really great job of illuminating how there really isn't a right path, as not only your own path might have visually had some twists and turns, but most women there did as well.


Julia: One of the biggest things I took away from the session was the importance of asking somebody, ‘how are you doing’ and genuinely listening to their response. Sometimes that can [just] mean not providing your own story. Not providing your own ‘hey this is how we can fix this’ [or] ‘this is my experience with that.’ Sometimes the best thing you can do is just ask about their experience, let them acknowledge what they've been going through, and tell them that you're there to listen.