Wrapping Up 2023

We’ve just done our usual final team meeting of the year, wrapping up 2023 in our usual way by running through the highlights of the team for the year.  

One of the more common highlights that have been raised by the team is our company culture and values.  We’ve worked really hard since COVID to create a sustainable remote working environment, and this has been a success primarily due to a lot of passion from our team to make things better, especially from our Cultural Champions.  At our final company meeting there were many references to our values and culture that were around “living up to our values”, “looking after each other” and the one that made me the most proud – “not just doing lip service to this stuff”.  This is the softer side of business and it means that we have a really engaged team that pulls together to work through the problems that arise – it’s great to have the team having each other’s back.  We’ve got through some massive challenges this year because of our team pulling together to solve them.

Pet bingo was one of the more fun activities we did this year remotely – if you saw a pet in the video meetings then you got to cross one off!

Another common theme was the benefits of the work we’ve done in the management side of things – with our now expanded management team of myself, Andrew (now our Finance Manager), Justine (our People and Culture Manager) and Tanya (our Operations Manager) really starting to hit our stride as the year has gone on.  Having Tanya and Justine join Andrew and I has brought a breath of fresh air and really revitalised us – and the team are seeing that benefit as we are moving forward with a range of initiatives and are generally making the company really hum.

The other thing that has been pointed out by a lot of the team are the rest of the team.  Our meeting had a fair few “thanks” to others in the team from people that felt particularly supported, and that was often reciprocal across the team.  We’ve brought on 15 new staff this year as others have moved on, and there was a lot of praise for the way that people have been brought into the company and supported, and a common note that there was a lot of generosity and support from the whole team.  This again links back to our core values, but the Gaia way is to look after each other, so that’s definitely bedded into the company.

There are a lot of projects we’ve been working on this year, and a number of them were raised as highlights in our meeting from the team, including some of our larger projects:

  • The Queensland State Archives project, where this year we’ve developed and gone live with an internal Digital Preservation System capacity, which will roll out in the new year to the agencies in Queensland, 
  • The Biodiversity Data Repository (BDR) project, where we have delivered a data ingestions pipeline that takes incidental occurrence and systematic survey data into the BDR and through some very detailed operations, transforms it into the Australian Biodiversity Information Standard ready for use in a graph database, and
  • Our work with the Biodiversity Information Office, where we have undertaken an extension project delivering more functionality this year for the Dandjoo system.

A range of other projects and initiatives were mentioned by people as well – trips to see clients and work collaboratively with them, or trips to the conferences that we attend (like the Australian Society of Archivists 2023 and TDWG 2023 conferences).

Luke, Sarah and Piers at the ASA 2023 conference

Above all, though, this year was all it was about the people we work with.  As someone commented in the meeting, this year has felt like five years rather than one – but every time we yelled into the void, the void yelled back with a great deal of support.  This is exactly the type of company I wanted to build when I started Gaia Resources and it seems like it’s really working well.

Our company meeting was a good way to review the year and celebrate our successes as we head into our 20th year of operation.  There’s going to be some interesting challenges along the way, but we’ve got each other’s back and we’re ready to get stuck in after a nice break over the holiday season.

We’ll see you in 2024!


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