Written by:  Adrienne Martin

Suffice it to say that one can learn a lot about one’s coworkers during an “improv” workshop at an annual company retreat. For starters, we learned that on her first date with her now husband, Marilee Falco was held up at gunpoint! An auspicious beginning to their 30+ year relationship, indeed. Then there was Dan Honsberger’s mortifying Empire State Building story, reserved for only Agili team members’ ears (trust us…you don’t want to know!). And there were so many other terrific tales that by the time each person had taken their final bow, we could see that everyone at Agili is creative and entertaining in their own way, making us a great team.

Each year, Agili colleagues from Bethlehem and Richmond gather as one team united in moving the company forward. Our annual retreat has become part of the rhythm of the business year, and it’s something we all look forward to: sharing meals together, supporting each other through group activities such as the aforementioned “improv” exercise and collaborating on ways to improve our services and further delight our clients.

In previous years’ team-building exercises, we’ve participated in group cooking classes, scavenger hunts, escape rooms and even painting classes. Who among us can forget the year Davis Barry (a relatively new employee at the time) quietly refused to conform during said group painting class and instead did his own personal riff on the theme? (See Davis’ unique and interpretive masterpiece at right, now featured prominently at the center of a group “art” installation in our RVA office.)

The focus of Agili’s annual retreat this year was on communication and continuing the Ambassadors training program we’d participated in throughout the year. Our objective was to improve our communication with clients, interested parties and fellow team members alike. We talked about being great ambassadors for the firm by being proactive, succinct and effective in our interactions. We explored different styles and preferences in communication, how to notice those differences and how to act upon them. We worked with communication consultants to improve our presentation skills. For three days, we dug deep.

In the end, though, as corny as this may sound, what we most enjoyed was the time together as a team, getting to know one another better. Over the years, as we’ve grown as a group, I’ve observed how spending time together — be it in team-building activities, work sessions or while sharing a meal — deepens our connections with one another and makes us a more cohesive team. And as we said farewell after three days together (while enjoying ice cream from the visiting Mr. Softee truck), we were better aligned as an organization and recharged for the coming year.

Check out this article on the subject of hosting successful company retreats written by our COO, Cindy Joyce, for Business 2 Communities.