Company: Eagle Hill Consulting.
Employees: 34 locally; 41 nationwide.
Like many firms, Eagle Hill Consulting used to have occasional bagel-and-coffee breakfasts during morning meetings at its Arlington office. Several years ago, finance director Barbara Kelley decided she wanted to kick up the sessions a notch.
“I said, ‘We can do better than this,’” Kelley recalls.
So Kelley, a principal at the firm and a cooking enthusiast, began inviting Eagle Hill’s staff over to her home once a month for a homemade, buffet-style breakfast and a chance to chat about company issues in an informal setting. Seven years later, the breakfasts have become a company tradition.
Kelley spends hours getting her home ready for the event; she has extra tables, chairs and linens brought out each time.
“We look like the Verizon Center if you were to come to my house,” Kelley joked.
Kelley experiments with all sorts of recipes, ranging from breakfast favorites, such as blueberry pancakes and monkey bread to more original creations such as French toast casserole with pumpkin or egg white and vegetable roll-ups.
“It’s kind of my way of sharing and making the group feel like we are part of a family,” Kelley said.
Kelley says she doesn’t mind turning over her home for the event because she feels it helps create a more relaxed, freewheeling environment. At one point, the company briefly tried shifting some of the gatherings to local restaurants.
“Out of a home environment, you’d be surprised how the dynamics change,” Kelley said.
Since her co-workers frequently ask her for her recipes, Kelley decided last year to compile them into an Eagle Hill Consulting cookbook. She then gave a copy of the book to each staffer as a Christmas gift.