Supporting clients while developing tech and consulting skills
Everyone smiles when they talk about the Slalom Cloud Residency. “I’ve been here nine years, and by far, this is the thing I’m most proud of,” says Brad Ingber, Slalom’s director of talent acquisition. “This program reflects every single Slalom core value.”
The Cloud Residency was conceived in December of 2020, and the first cohort of cloud residents started in May 2021. “I have never seen something go from ideation to reality—with executive support and buy-in from our CEO—in that period of time,” says Ingber. “It’s super cool to see how organically this thing came together and now how much passion surrounds it.”
Dave Cutler, a steward behind the program and Slalom’s general manager (GM) for cloud services, describes the Cloud Residency as “a program that combines mentorship and education with real-world opportunities to help clients, where you apply what you’re learning while you work.”
I have never seen something go from ideation to reality—with executive support and buy-in from our CEO—in that period of time.
Community and belonging from day one
The first 13 weeks of the two-year program involve dedicated learning time. Cloud residents are immersed in comprehensive technical training about cloud technology—together with their entire cohort—to get the support they need to make an impact for clients and be successful. They develop a sense of community from brainstorming, working in sprints, and giving each other feedback. And each cloud resident gets one-on-one time with mentors, while they’re learning and when they’re on client engagements.
“Every resident who joins Slalom is an important member of our team. The Cloud Residency is a core component of how we serve our clients—it’s not simply a training program. And the residents’ experience gives them valuable insights about where they want to take their careers,” says Cutler. Cloud residents are encouraged to explore their passions and opportunities just like doctors, who experience different specialties during the residency phase of their medical education.
What really excited me about the position was the fact that Slalom would take two years to invest and train career transitioners and new college hires to set them up for success.Kesha Williams Senior Principal
Sustainability: More than a carbon footprint
There’s a burgeoning need not just for tech talent in general, but also for technical talent with cloud computing expertise. Cutler sees the Cloud Residency program as “an opportunity for us to grow talent and add to the ecosystem versus just consuming from it. We have an obligation to our customers to build talent,” he says. And the Slalom values around inclusion, diversity, and equity (ID&E) are woven into every fiber of the program. The new hires in each entering cohort represent the communities that we serve—our customer’s customers.
“One of the things that shocked me on my first day was that my cohort seemed to have more women than men. Even with my math background that was not the norm. I was always used to being in the minority in that way,” says Kellie Laflin, who joined the second cohort of cloud residents. The program resonated with her because “it was really appealing to be able to come in on the ground floor and get dedicated training time and career development baked in. Cloud is a massive boom in the tech industry right now.”
So why would a renowned cloud computing expert—one who could have her pick of roles at any tech company—be drawn to Slalom?
Tech leader joins Cloud Residency program
“What really excited me about the position was the fact that Slalom would take two years to invest and train career transitioners and new college hires to set them up for success,” says Kesha Williams, a senior principal in the Cloud Residency program.
Williams spends much of her week meeting one-on-one with people in the newest cohort. “I’ve always had a heart to teach and mentor—and I’ve always really enjoyed hands-on building. The role here allows me to combine the best of both worlds,” she says.
Mentoring also allows Williams a way to give back. “I want to be the mentor I never had. My visible role in the tech industry shows people—especially young girls who look like me—that it’s a possibility and something they should consider for their future.”
Dave Cutler has met and interviewed almost every cloud resident. “I’m very optimistic about the future of Slalom,” he says. “Slalom's future leaders are being nurtured within the residency, and each member of the program is an amazing individual with so much to contribute.”