Written By: Celeste Parins
“It’s been a big year. And if you’re feeling at all like I am coming up to the end of the year, you haven’t taken time to stop and actually decompress. Today is going to be an opportunity for you to stop, reflect, decompress. We are also going to spend some sessions today focusing on how we can rise. How are we going to rise into 2021? How are you going to rise to achieve your goals? How are you going to rise to be an even better version of yourself?”
As I stood in front of our team during the first ever annual Voyageurs Team retreat, I felt the magnitude of the year and all the hard work that has gone into accomplishing what happened in 2020.
It was a special moment. I have dreamed of hosting a team retreat for my own company since I started getting to experience epic team retreats for some of the companies I worked for - notably at Mindvalley in Malaysia and Food Matters in Australia.
Team culture is of utmost importance to us. We believe in hiring the person for their personality and character FIRST, and skills second. Skills are trainable and teachable, but personality, integrity and character are traits that are quite well ingrained in a person.
Pair good people with a strong team culture, and we are hoping to create a vibrant, strong, and capable team. Hosting a team retreat has been a long time goal, as I've seen the impact it has to aid in developing trust, improving communication, promoting creativity, and increasing morale.
An important element of building our team culture is hosting a day that is special treat to our team. The goal is that year after year this day(s) will become more and more epic.
Introducing the first-ever…
Voyageurs Annual Team Retreat: Decompress & Rise
Before we dive into some of the details of the day, here’s the video we shared with the team as a quick video reel of 2020.
The first part of the day was held at Gather On Broadway. In effort to support fellow Broadway businesses and partner businesses, Gather was the perfect space to share this experience.
A wide open space for everyone to have sufficient distanced personal space, and while still having a cozy vibe.
Our first session was a Decompression session that was designed to help us get into a physical and mental place to feel a little more open space in our mind and body.
With the help of Jaci from Grace Yoga, a guided visualization by myself, and a gorgeous sound bath by Michelle with Grace Yoga, we were able to create a soothing “self-care” session for everyone.
It felt like a total treat. Self-care has definitely been challenged this year for so many of us due to Covid. The places we would retreat for self-care were closed, or it didn’t feel safe to go, or it was all done online now.
There were tears of happiness shared by some team members saying, “This is the first time i’ve been able to feel the energy of others around me all year in a space of safety and peace. Thank you for giving me this experience today. It truly was nourishing.”
There were tears of decompression shared by other team members saying, “In the meditation when you told us to imagine all the feelings we need from 2020 that we didn’t get to have… I just pictured myself being in my Grandma’s house being totally taken care of and surrounded by all of my family. It just was a rush of emotion that came over me, and it was so good.”
A Time to RISE
The theme of “RISE” was thread throughout the day in many sessions.
From a simple and powerful practice of visualisation, to a “busting beliefs” exercise, to a team building exercise in our second part of the day - we practiced rising above the challenges, and seeing ourselves in a place in 2021 where we are achieving goals, and anchoring a moment that we can stop and say, “I have arrived.”
To inspire us to RISE together as a community, we were honored to have a special guest join us as a surprise speaker...
Mayor Eric Genrich
He shared words of encouragement to our team, as well as exciting things he's working on in 2021. We feel so honored to be a part of this community, and to have had Mayor Genrich take time out on his Sunday to inspire and support our team.
The second half of our day was enjoyed at Ledgestone Vineyards in Greenleaf. This is a special place for Voyageurs, as it is the first-ever place that we sold a loaf of Voyageurs Sourdough.
With a gorgeous atmosphere to look out on, roaring fires, and a little dusting of snow on the ground, it was a perfect place for us to feel the freshness of the crisp winter air and enjoy time outside together.
A highlight of the afternoon was both the belief busting session and the Egg Drop team building exercise.
The Voyageurs Guiding Light
Our brand, Voyageurs, was chosen with the intention to help us continue to explore - to continue to be curious about food and our world around us.
Part of establishing our brand, was to establish our “code of conduct” which we lovingly refer to as our Voyageurs Guiding Light. Just like Voyageurs may have used the North Star as guidance, our Guiding Light is something that Ben and I wrote in September of 2019 when we started to bring on team members. It’s a way to communicate the things that the business and brand will always stand by.
Dedicated to Building Culture
I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 has been challenging to navigate. It seems that if any plans are going to be made, they need to be cancel-able at the very last minute.
I realize that holding a team retreat may not be approved by some. We've learned that no matter what the decision we make as a business, it will not be approved by all. We've lead our decision making this year with integrity and with our best knowledge of business responsibility and ethical practices.
As we've neared this end of 2020, we've observed the toll that the year took on mental health both within ourselves and our team. In continued alignment with our integrity, we asked each team member about their thoughts on the day, and made sure everyone knew their option to not attend if it didn't feel right for them.
For those who joined, everyone was happy to be mindful and masked throughout the entire day, in order to be able to have this little time of team building and self-care.
As 2021 approaches...
We're looking forward to rising up. Rising up beyond the challenges, rising up in our community even more, rising up to be an even better version of ourselves.
How do you feel like you want to rise up in 2021? We'd love to hear your thoughts and inspiration in the comments below.
As always, thank you for being here with us on this journey. It's a pleasure to get to share it with you.