Company: Dexis Consulting Group.
Employees: 30 locally; 50 worldwide.
When a margarita machine was delivered to their office on a recent Friday afternoon, employees of Dexis Consulting Group knew it was time to get in the celebratory spirit.
The international development firm had just landed a contract for work to promote activism and advocacy in Nicaragua, and they decided to celebrate the win with a Latin American-themed party.
Parties like this one have been a tradition at the District-based contractor since it was founded 12 years ago. Any time Dexis wins a bid for international work, the firm rewards its staff with a party in which the food, drinks, music and dancing are inspired by the culture of the region or country where they will be working.
With these parties, it feels like “Washington transforms for a minute into that country,” said Jennifer Simancas, director of the firm’s contracts division. “I think it’s really good for employee morale.”
At the Latin party, staffers enjoyed nacatamal, a traditional Nicaraguan dish in which meat and vegetables are wrapped in a large plaintain leaf. They also ate gallo pinto, a type of fried rice, and drank imported Flor de Caña rum and Toña beer.
Over the years, Dexis has held celebrations for work in more than 50 countries, including Bangladesh, Peru, Senegal and Croatia.
Mihir Desai, chief executive, said the parties are a way to drum up excitement for the projects and to bring his sometimes far-flung employees together. Accountants, IT workers and junior staffers, for example, rarely ever get to travel.
“There’s that distance that develops between the folks that are managing the project here and the folks that are on the ground,” Desai said.
While most of Dexis’s festivities honor other cultures, at least one party a year has a different goal.
“We always come back home, where we have a very classic American holiday party,” Desai said.
The end-of-year party typically features American-style cuisine and music from a jazz and blues band.