The Powerful Play; 2023 Reflections

A writer uses a well-maintained typewriter. Next to them are glasses, black coffee, an open notebook with a pencil, and a smartphone.

By Marty Molloy

Contributing A Verse

Taking a moment to reflect on this past year, I am filled with so much gratitude for all the wonderful things that have occurred. At Tamman, we’ve continued to grow while maintaining our strong climate and culture. We’ve generated meaningful opportunities and partnerships that we get to build upon in 2024. Most notably, though, I am grateful that I get to spend my days with creative, passionate, and dedicated colleagues. 

And yet, I am finding it challenging to write this year in review while there is so much uncertainty and pain throughout the world. Of course, this isn’t new. We are only a couple of years removed from a worldwide pandemic that reshaped our company and the way we all work and communicate. And yet, something feels different about this moment in time. Perhaps it is some combination of standing on the precipice of an AI revolution, instability, and war around the globe, or any number of looming uncertainties closer to home. Whatever it is, I think it is appropriate to acknowledge that our important work – to create a digital world where anyone, regardless of their spectrum of abilities, has equal access to information – goes on amidst these external forces. To say the least, I feel unsettled, and that is okay.

When I am in need of words of truth and wisdom, I turn to my favorite poet, Walt Whitman. He also lived in times of change and strife, and his words often resonate down the ages for me.

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

(the answer)

That you are here—that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Walt Whitman

I love that answer from an unknown voice inside the poet. In the midst of all the uncertainties we face, we are here. As such, it is incumbent upon us to contribute our own verse. 

I am thrilled to say that in 2023, Tamman contributed many verses as a group. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Certifications – This was a banner year for our colleagues, who worked hard and earned seven new IAAP certifications. The Tamman Team has now earned 22 certifications since 2018, and we currently have ~2% of the world’s Accessible Document Specialists (ADS) certifications on our team.

Growth and Retention – Tamman’s growth continued to come in partnership with strong retention. A 70% voluntary retention rate and almost 3.5-year average tenure since 2018 strengthens our community by adding more talent to existing talent. 

Partnerships, Conferences, and Speakers – from Art-Reach, SAR, SXSW, IAAP, CSUN, AccessU, RenderATL, MacAdmins, M-Enabling, BarCamp Philly, and U.S. Senate Sub-Committee Hearing… we attended, we connected, we learned, and we shared. Some of our fabulous speakers and leaders were Jeff Wiesner, Wally Zielinski, Emma Barker, Tobias Morrison, Sam Waterman, Bill Danbury, Leah Mattern, Harper Yatvin, Sloan Miller, and myself.   

Our Work – Innovative designs, creative solutions, rigorous attention to detail, thoughtful management, and communication. Every part of Tamman works because every person at Tamman cares deeply about quality and doing solid work each day with their teams.  

Climate and Culture – No matter where our team is across the country and now, the world, our remote climate and culture just keep getting better.

  • Teammates across 13 states and three countries
  • Over 1,000 community service hours and 24 different causes supported  
  • Monthly Lunch and Learns, including eight book talks, conference recaps, celiacs and food disabilities, and even senate sub-committee testimony summary
  • Virtual events such as the Oscars Extravaganza, Spring into Fun Sweepstakes, Halloween Costume and Decoration Contests, and Scary Movie Deathmatch
  • Our First Pride Logo was created (thanks, Hunter!)
  • In-person team events like the ACS Bike-a-thon with Team WMMR, our Annual Retreat, and End-of-Year Party

Writing a Scene

As Tamman looks forward to 2024, we are not merely content with contributing collective verses; we are planning on writing whole scenes! It starts with a transformative announcement (to be made later in Q1), which we believe will make Tamman an industry leader in training and transforming complex digital assets into accessible and inclusive designs. Tamman will remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing digital accessibility and simplifying the message to raise awareness around the positive business outcomes of a sustained focus on accessibility. I could not be more thrilled about this announcement and opportunity. 

In addition, Tamman will have other new product announcements coming midway through the year. Leveraging artificial intelligence and open-source technologies, our talented team is hard at work finding ways to make digital accessibility more accurate and efficient for ourselves and our partners. Watch this space in 2024 for more information about several of these innovative accessibility initiatives. 

We cannot control the external forces that drive our world. Change and uncertainty are going to be the norm for the foreseeable future. It is very natural and human to step back and reflect upon the difficulties that surround us. It is probably even appropriate to momentarily doubt if we are up to the task of being the best possible versions of ourselves and supporting our fellow human beings. 

In those moments, though, my hope for all of us is that we remember to be present. Take note of where we stand and what we can control right in front of us. We are here. We are here for each other too. Know that it is within all of us to contribute a verse in this universe. We are stronger inclusively and collectively. Together, we are poised for the best year yet for Tamman and our whole digitally accessible community!

Marty Molloy has 20+ years of organizational leadership experience. In addition to being Tamman’s President, he is a human-centered internal organization and systems builder with a variety of experiences in non-profit, technology, politics, and education.

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