Busting Silos, Building Connections: Our Conversation with Dennis Howell

When Howell was introduced to GDI in 2003, he had no idea that he’d go on to help create the notion behind a major GDI initiative, and become a life-long member of the GDI team. While working on GDI projects at client sites, Howell regularly met with GDI’s senior leadership team, sharing and strategizing ways to leverage best practices and capturing the steps that lead to success. This brainstorming led to the idea of Busting Silos within a company, recalls Dennis.

“I’ve always liked being a part of a team,” says Howell.

“The notion of busting silos includes a novel approach to knowledge sharing. Data, processes, and people are silo-driven: each works with just one section of the company by design. With our experience interacting across departments, we strategized ways to communicate between those silos in order to create a complete picture of the business. This led to the innovative concept of busting those silos to break down barriers,” he explained.

The power of communication between departments, he believes, can also apply to the relationship between the agency and the consultant. “I’ve been an independent contractor for a long time, however, I’ve always liked being part of a team. With GDI, I had access to resources; I could go to executives, like Bhushan and Madhuri, and to other experienced consultants.”

Beyond project placement, Howell says that staying connected goes a long way to motivate consultants working at client sites. From the annual GDI holiday party or summer picnic at the Kulkarni home, he told us that these small gestures helped him along the way as he excelled in his career. “I tell my kids: it’s a big world, and we need to make it smaller,” he explained. “For me, GDI makes it smaller because it’s a unique organization in the larger world.”