2021 has been an important year in The Gunter Group’s journey. We named a new Partner, Matt Bader, at the beginning of the year, and now we are proud to announce our newest Partner, Tony Schweiss. What a great way to celebrate our 10th Anniversary!

Tony joined TGG in 2014 as a consultant after a career as an Officer in the U.S. Navy, and as a project manager in the construction industry. Over the last seven years, Tony has become a leader in our company, continually delivering stellar client service, developing new markets in Nevada and California, coaching and mentoring other TGGers, and supporting clients in Oregon. 

Tony has had a profound impact not only on our company’s business, but also on our Culture. At The Gunter Group, we take our Non-Negotiables seriously, and Tony embodies each of them. We are excited and proud to have Tony as an owner in TGG.

We are excited for our future at TGG under Tony and Matt’s leadership. To the next 10 years (and beyond)! 


For the third year in a row The Gunter Group has been recognized as a “Best Small Firm to Work For” in the nation according to Consulting Magazine.  

It is an honor to share that The Gunter group was selected as the #6 “Best Small Firm to Work For” in the nation for the 2021 rankings and finished in the top 10 for the third consecutive year.

When asked about this year’s recognition TGG Founders Mike and Ashleigh Gunter commented, “We are so proud to be recognized again as a Top 10 Consulting Magazine Best Small Firm to Work For nationally, alongside so many other great firms. It is an important recognition for us because we believe it reflects the culture we have worked so hard to build, and our amazing team. What a great way to celebrate our 10th Anniversary!”

The Consulting Magazine rankings were announced on September 9th, 2021 at a dinner gala in Chicago. Only 18 small firms were chosen for recognition, based on an annual survey of over 12,000 consultants from approximately 300 firms nationwide. Award candidates were evaluated across six different categories of employee satisfaction including, client engagement, culture, firm leadership, career development, and compensation and benefits.

To learn more about the 2021 Consulting Magazine Awards and see the complete rankings visit:

The Gunter Group is a management consulting firm headquartered in Oregon, serving the west coast with offices in Portland and Reno, Nevada. Learn more about us and the services we offer here.


The Gunter Group is kicking off our 10 Year Anniversary celebration, and will commemorate a decade of serving clients throughout the summer of 2021. As part of the celebration we will share videos, and historical photos and moments, as well as content that highlights the meaningful work and insights for which we have become known over the past 10 years.  

Since our inception, The Gunter Group has taken great pride in providing consulting services to a broad range of organizations spanning Fortune 100 companies to locally-based businesses. We look forward to commemorating the past decade of relationships and service with our clients and consultants.

Founded in 2011, in Portland, OR, The Gunter Group features an experienced team of consultants serving clients across a variety of industries in the Pacific Northwest and Western regions. The Gunter Group currently employs a team of 55 consultants with office hubs in Portland, OR and Reno, NV. The firm has been named one of the “best companies to work for” in Oregon by Oregon Business Magazine for seven consecutive years and named one of the “best small firms to work for” by Consulting Magazine two years in a row. 


Over the last year we have supported clients spanning a variety of industries. Some of our most impactful client engagements have been in the area of Enterprise Architecture.  

As a way to further support our clients, we hosted a special Idea Exchange focused solely on the process of transforming Enterprise Architecture and increasing value to organizations with a more agile approach.

In that Idea Exchange we discussed three keys to improving Enterprise Architecture:

1. The quality of Enterprise Architecture should be determined by the outcome it enables.

Successful outcomes result from leadership teams and stakeholders clearly aligning upfront on the problem or opportunity. Identifying the desired outcome can be supported through an upfront planning process which asks questions such as:

2. Evolving roadmaps = useful roadmaps.

An agile enterprise architect can leverage the “perfect” roadmap as inspiration to identify a good solution which enables short-term benefits and sets the business up to realize the perfect solution.

For example, a five-year roadmap that started two years ago is not valid anymore and COVID-19 is a dramatic example as to why. 

Additionally, new technology and capabilities that can help your business operate more effectively will come to market, which were not part of your original roadmap. For this reason, it is important to regularly review and update roadmaps incrementally.

3. Changing direction is an essential activity.

Agile methodology is not only about making it okay to change direction, it is about encouraging and supporting this behavior. Identify your “North Star” but recognize over time the path to your “North Star” will change. 

A critical part of the agile mindset in Enterprise Architecture is that it can be preferable to have assumptions, even if some of the assumptions prove to be wrong as progress and developments are made.

Institutional acceptance of this creates the healthiest, most productive, most agile Enterprise Architecture process. The team should be inspired and supported to change direction when it makes sense and explore preto-typing and interim testing as part of their evolving problem solving processes.  

In closing we have been inspired and motivated by the proliferation and maturation of agile practices in recent years. Unfortunately, Enterprise Architecture has lagged behind in its own progression and application. While some see this misalignment and move on, we see it as an opportunity to help organizations effectively transform their architectural activities and support clients in an effort to successfully drive innovation across their technology ecosystem.


We are proud to announce Matt Bader as the newest Partner in The Gunter Group.

Matt joined TGG in 2011 as a Consultant, and was the first full-time employee to join the company. Over the last ten years, Matt has developed into a clear leader in the company, delivering stellar client service, coaching and mentoring other TGGers, and driving growth in our Oregon market. Matt has had a significant impact on the growth trajectory and evolution of TGG, and his stamp on the company is unmistakable.  

We are excited and proud to have Matt as an owner in TGG because he has been a partner to us in every other way for a long time. Matt embodies each of our company’s Non-Negotiables, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate TGG’s 10 year anniversary, and we are excited to see where the next 10 years (and beyond!) takes us all!


Today we take a moment and celebrate TGGer Maddie Barbera’s community support for her generous work assisting with COVID-19 vaccine outreach among vulnerable populations in our local communities. 

Prior to her career as a consultant, Maddie practiced as a pediatric nurse for 12 years and has been a licensed nurse for the past 17 years.   

Maddie often volunteers with the Red Cross of Oregon and in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she signed up to volunteer with Serve Oregon as part of the Medical Reserve Corp. 

Asked why she wanted to lend her experience to these organizations, Maddie said “I’ve always kept my nursing license active so I could be in a position to help if there were ever emergencies in the community. For me it’s a direct way to support medical professionals, local citizens, and community health needs in the state.”  

When Maddie received an email from Multnomah County inquiring about licensed medical officials willing to help administer COVID-19 vaccines to medically vulnerable populations and populations with socioeconomic barriers, she had no hesitation. Maddie saw an opportunity to lend her experience to the vaccine workforce and responded immediately.  

Maddie said, “the most rewarding aspect of the vaccine outreach and administration has been hearing patients’ stories of perseverance from the past year and their continued hope.”

“People have been so appreciative of the medical officials and teams. At times it’s even been an emotional experience for everyone involved because the community member is so grateful for the opportunity and the team’s outreach and personal service to them.”

We appreciate and applaud Maddie’s commitment to the community and for assisting the state’s most vulnerable populations.  

We are honored and proud to call her our teammate!  


The Gunter Group was recently recognized as the #3 Best Company to Work For in Oregon in the medium-sized category. We visited with founders, Michael Gunter and Ashleigh Gunter to hear what makes this award special.

Why is the Oregon Business award so meaningful?

Mike: The Oregon Business award is especially meaningful because it’s a direct reflection on how our team feels about working together. It captures how the team thinks and ultimately this kind of award is the best news we can get as leaders.

TGG has been recognized on this list for seven consecutive years. How does that impact the everyday work of the team?

Ashleigh: I think it has a very strong impact on our work both in the short term and the long term. When we’re aligned culturally we provide exponentially better service to our clients and an exponentially better experience for our consultants.

Mike: Our intention has always been to take care of our team so that as individuals, people can thrive. Making the list multiple years helps confirm our efforts.

What went through your mind when you received news of the rankings?

Ashleigh: My very first thought was WOW this is fantastic! What makes this year particularly special is that in light of all the challenges, we’re continuing to support and value one another.


A year and a half ago, we introduced a blog series on our company’s Non-Negotiables. At TGG, our Non-Negotiables are six traits and characteristics that guide us in our everyday interactions with each other, our clients, and our communities. They are the pillars on which we have built, and will continue to build, the company. 

The Non-Negotiables came about in a particularly organic way. We did not sit down in a “strategy session” to “identify our Non-Negotiables”. They came about naturally as we thought about the values that are important to us, how we wished to create, cultivate and maintain relationships, our culture, and most importantly….the traits and characteristics we saw really successful TGGers demonstrating. The Non-Negotiables became an articulation of how we were already living. 

Our Non-Negotiables are reflected not only in our day to day interactions, but in our recruiting, our professional development, and our feedback process. They are our framework for holding ourselves accountable in our work and relationships, and it is our greatest point of pride that our team consistently reflects them.

Our six Non-Negotiables are:

  1. 1. Collaborative
  2. 2. Integrity
  3. 3. Intellectual Curiosity
  4. 4. Thrives in Ambiguity
  5. 5. Emotional Intelligence
  6. 6. Grounded Confidence

When we began this blog series, we asked different members of our team to write each of the six blogs, and we are really proud of how they turned out. The authors reflect a group of individuals with different backgrounds, varying years of experience (and time with the company), diverse perspectives, and different working styles. We also sat down and filmed the historical context of our Non-Negotiables and how they guide our focus as we grow our firm. 

Little did we know that half way through this blog series, we would find ourselves in the middle of not only a global pandemic, but also significant societal upheaval in the ongoing fight for equity, inclusion and racial justice. 

We knew how our Non-Negotiables guided us in “normal” times, but how would they hold up in such uncertain and stressful times? 

The answer is that we have relied upon them even more heavily. We focused on taking care of and supporting each other (Integrity, Emotional Intelligence).  We engaged even more deeply, and in many cases with more flexibility and an even stronger sense of service, with our clients (Thrives in Ambiguity, Intellectual Curiosity, Collaborative, Grounded Confidence). We also revamped our recruiting and evaluation processes to further embed these characteristics and traits (all six).  

We believe the increased level of depth and focus on our Non-Negotiables has been motivating and rewarding for our entire organization. It has also furthered our commitment to putting people and culture first in times of prosperity and uncertainty alike.

Our Non-Negotiables continue to be the most accurate representation we have of our company’s culture. They reflect who we are and who we will continue striving to be as we build our team and company.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog series as much as we have enjoyed sharing it. We encourage leaders and teams to think critically about the aspirational and lived culture you desire for your organization and orient everything around bringing it to life.   

About the Author:
Mike is passionate about client service and leading people. He enjoys watching people grow, develop, and discover their true path. Mike is a visionary and forward thinker with extensive multinational experience and a proven track record of serving clients. With more than 25 years of business leadership and consulting in a wide variety of challenging and ambiguous environments, Mike got his start in the industry at Deloitte Consulting and has since held executive leadership positions in consulting, supply chain services, and public education organizations.


I showed up nervous on my first day at The Gunter Group

That morning, my manager and I went for a walk along the Willamette River. After some getting-to-know-you chatter, I turned the conversation to the job: “What do you think my first 30 days should look like?” 

My manager, Matt Bader, considered my question for several more steps. He answered, “All I want you to do is learn. Treat every experience as a teachable moment. Just worry about that, and the rest will come.” 

All the growing I’ve done at The Gunter Group has flourished in the garden of that conversation. Every experience has been a learning experience. I’ve had the opportunity to create internal development tools, write copy, build surveys, facilitate engagement sessions, spin up a center of excellence, and support an enterprise ERP implementation. All of these experiences have been new in some way, and all have been opportunities to learn lessons that make me better at my job. 

My time as a consultant has confirmed this one truth: the only thing guaranteed in every experience is the opportunity to learn. 

I’ll pause to make an important distinction: the act of learning is different from the opportunity for learning. In 2020, TGG consultant Stephen Bacon led a series of coffee chats about change management responses in the time of COVID-19. Stephen’s most important message to professionals in the pandemic: There is no guarantee that we will learn from this. We have to be intentional. Learning is not guaranteed, but opportunity is. 

This message is timely: the pandemic introduced most of us to a new reality. We are now familiar with remote work, the shrinking pool of small businesses, chart-topping unemployment, constricting budgets, and lifelines of federal aid. The one guarantee among all these earth-shattering elements is an avalanche of learning opportunities. 

This raises the question: how do you take advantage of these learning opportunities? Here are a few pointers I find helpful: 

Foster the Right Mindset: New experiences can be hijacked by negative emotional responses. It can be easy for learning to get lost in the fog of fear, anxiety, exhaustion, rebellion, flight, etc. At TGG, “Thrives in Ambiguity” is one of the non-negotiable characteristics we look for in team members, and it is our target response in adversity. But it can require a mindset shift to see a new, ambiguous experience as an opportunity to thrive. A good approach: reframe your natural fear response by saying “this is an opportunity” every time a new challenge pops up.

Remove Obstacles: The book Atomic Habits by James Clear suggests that the first thing you can do to break a bad habit is to raise awareness of triggers and reduce your exposure to them. If fear is one of your responses to a new challenge, try to understand where that fear is coming from, and respond accordingly. Narrow your focus to the present by writing down what you can do today, and ignore everything else. This builds valuable and purposeful momentum.

Pay Attention: Do you journal? Because you should journal. The most common objection to journaling is the time commitment, a problem that is easily solved. Start small: every day before closing your computer, write one sentence about something you learned that day. Really, that’s all it takes. Months later, when you can look over 100 different things you learned, you’ll be grateful for the 10 seconds of effort you put into it each day. 

Be Honest: It’s easy to make mistakes, but even easier to make excuses. “It wasn’t my fault, I just ran out of time,” or “We couldn’t have predicted the curveballs we had to face.” The more you make excuses for mistakes, the harder it is to learn from them. Radical honesty can help. When something goes wrong, it’s actually better for your career if you own up to the mistake and learn from it. Otherwise, all you learn is the skill of shifting blame away from yourself at all costs. 

Take Risks: Access to more opportunities means access to more learning. Volunteer for that internal project, raise your hand to own that action item, throw your hat in the ring for that new job. Expose yourself to new challenges, new colleagues, new activities; this will not only expand your skill set, but also your appetite for growth. 

Like most other habits, learning is not a talent: it’s a skill. A skill you can cultivate, and with a little time and patience you’ll start to reap the benefits. 

A great place to start is by reading some other articles on our TGG blog! Here are three of my favorites: