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This September the Shift team had a retreat in Portland, Oregon! We work together all the time – it's hard not to feel inspired by our incredibly talented, creative, and caring team. But we are fully remote and it’s hard to see the whole person when meeting through a computer screen. That is why we value the opportunity to gather in person to collaborate professionally, and to strengthen our bonds and reaffirm our sense of purpose.

We work hard and play hard and have the memories to prove it!

Before diving deep, we let loose a little bit with some ice breakers to ground in our principle - keep it real! Ryan led a “fun fact about you” guessing game and a hard-won tournament of Rock, Paper, Scissors, SHIFT! Theresa and Shay battled with many cheers from their colleagues. Ultimately, Shay came out on top!

We began by celebrating Shift’s wins over the past year. There were a lot of them, so many that Kara managed to categorize them! We added new team members, expanded our partnerships, and started new projects that broadened our skills. This was a great moment of reflection for us. We are proud to take ownership for all we’ve accomplished so far.

We then looked inward and worked our way out. Shay led us through a discussion to help us identify our strengths and how we can best collaborate to leverage our strengths across the team. This laid the groundwork to put our heads together and co-create Shift’s goals. The leadership team had drafted some preliminary goals earlier this summer and presented them to everyone. We embraced feedback and coproduced a strategic plan to further our mission to address the world’s most pressing inequities through systems change and improvement.

We embrace opportunities to unlearn and look for ways to improve, no matter how unconventional the lesson! Sarah led an improv workshop that challenged us to stay present in the moment without a plan to follow. We listened carefully to build off each other’s responses. This was a great exercise in working to learn and adapt by staying present and open to multiple possibilities that unfold from deep listening.

We’re a small and mighty team, and we work hard to champion inclusivity. We spent our last day together reflecting on how we work together as an intentionally remote team. We listed both the benefits and challenges of remote work, then brainstormed what practices might create a more supportive and satisfying remote culture. As a continuous improvement organization, we will test and adapt these new ideas to make sure they work for our team!

Most importantly, we made time to create joy! We explored Portland, got to know each other better, and shared some laughs. We ate a lot of delicious food, went to Powell’s, and reminded ourselves why we love doing what we do. We are already looking forward to our next retreat in early 2023!

We're ready to learn more, are you?

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