Manager Meet Up 2020

Client: GitHub

Digital summit, Digital Learning, Talent Development, Leadership, Resilience, High Performance, Emotional Intelligence, Community

GitHub is a global software development platform, recently acquired by Microsoft. Employees are proud to be 'Hubbers' and culture is key. The global Manager group comes together twice a year with the objective of growing as individuals and being strengthened as a team.

2020 was a challenging year for individuals and teams worldwide. The Talent Development team, under the direction of the Office of the CEO were looking to create a digital summit to bring remote teams and leaders together addressing how increasing resilience can lead to high performance in challenging times.

The Opportunity

Igniting the power of the Manager community

GitHub is a high performance culture built on entrepreneurial mindsets and structures. Managers play a central role in driving results and cohesion across the business. Important questions informing the design of this event included:

  • How do you develop emotionally intelligent and resilient leaders in this remote era of work?
  • How are Managers inspired to do their best work in times of massive challenge and change?

Recognising & managing psychological strain

The unique circumstances of 2020 eroded many of the supporting practices and rhythms used by people to manage and counteract the intensity of their professional lives. Recognising that this shift in the locus of control can lead to increases in stress, and decreases in quality decision making, we worked to answer the following guiding questions:

  • How to restore and expand a sense of agency in a leader’s life?
  • How can the interests and goals of the greater business be best aligned to the goals and needs of leaders in times of heightened sensitivities and emotion?

Fostering an environment of meaningful connection

For many, remote high-output work, facilitated by digital platforms and tools has elevated sense of being ‘hyperconnected, but alone’. The need to invest into the cohesion and sense of community amongst the manager group was essential. For this, some of our key guiding questions were:

  • Can digital learning events facilitate deep and genuine interpersonal connections?
  • How can you foster a sense of together-ness and belonging, when people are at home, seperate from their teams?

The Approach

In partnership with the Talent Development Team and key stakeholders, we designed and delivered a first-of-its-kind learning event for the manager community of GitHub. This worldwide virtual event acknowledged the challenges of 2020, and established a framework for personal leadership and resilience into the future.

  • Dual events encompassing global time zones, over 3 days
  • Unique event branding and set design to establish a sense of progress within familiar branding elements
  • Cutting edge technology for seamless, interactive & dynamic broadcasts
  • Practical and pragmatic learning tools for Hubbers to build into their everyday lives
  • Thoughtful post-event supporting resources to enhance likelihood of change
  • Robust evaluation practices to measure the impact of the event in the lives of participants

Anchored by Nosworthy Group’s Founder Phill Nosworthy from a built-for-purpose studio set, the Digital Learning Experience featured best-in-class thought-leadership contributions, moments of personal reflection, and guided small group conversation. Supporting these program cornerstones were opening and closing sessions from GitHub leadership, including CEO Nat Friedman.

Themes of resilience and high performance were scaffolded over the three day experience, allowing each participant to approach the learning objectives of the event in a way that suited their unique circumstances and needs. Repetition of key themes, diversity in the contributing voices, and deliberate opportunities for reflection gave Hubbers the ability to distill the experience to its most applicable aspects and make immediate plans for action, for themselves and their teams.

A high emphasis was placed on participation and engagement throughout, with rhetorical content design, direct provocations for the audience, moments of guided self reflection, and regular opportunities for peer to peer conversations.

An event designed to ignite the power of leaders and teams.

The Outcome

Robust evaluation methods allowed us to track the impact of the event on the lives and choices of leaders at GitHub. A cumulative view was taken for the development and enhancement of resilience, and measured through the following empirically validated scales:

  • Purpose
  • Perseverance
  • Equanimity
  • Self reliance
  • Authenticity

Measurements demonstrated statistically significant improvements in overall Resilience, along with improvements in each sub-scale of resilience. The three day experience enabled the group to move from a ‘low-moderate’ score to ‘moderately-high’ on the Resilience Index (as validated; Reivish, Seligman, & McBride, 2011).

Participant Feedback

“Thank you for designing and delivering the most on target, engaging and innovative virtual learning experience I’ve ever seen.”

Chief Human Resources Officer, GitHub.

“I'd just like to express gratitude again to the team that planned and put on this event. I left feeling refreshed, energized and empowered to show up as a leader even in these particularly challenging times.”


“I love how the different parts of the content feel so interconnected, and how the different perspectives of the speakers seemed to impact us all in different ways"