• Views October 20, 2016

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the three-day Finn Partners company retreat in Hunter, New York.

For those of you not familiar with Hunter, it’s an idyllic town in the Catskills made all the more beautiful by the lushness of the setting. It was even more heightened at this time of year by the changing colors of the fall leaves. This was a welcome treat for a Bay Area native used to a semi-arid environment and lack of greenery.

We did have some time to enjoy our surroundings and bond with colleagues from every office across the country and abroad. The main reason we congregated at Hunter was to learn from one another and brainstorm ideas to empower us to work better together and build a stronger agency.

This year’s theme was “Amaze. Together. (Or from A maze to Amaze Together)”. The idea was when we collaborate as an agency across offices and disciplines, we do amazing work. But at times, especially when we are growing quickly, the agency can seem like a maze. How do you turn what could be a confusing circuitous path into something that is easily navigable, providing your clients with the best journey possible?

The literal meaning of retreat means to withdraw, often as an act of changing one's decisions, plans, or attitude. The retreat at Hunter gave all of us the ability to step back and to use the space and time to explore through “virtual scavenger hunts” all of the services that Finn Partners has to offer. We covered everything from consumer to creative, and technology to travel, and learning where the people and resources lie, from Los Angeles to Jerusalem. These activities sparked new ideas and opened us up to all of the potential of the agency, as a whole.

2016 hosts, Neby Ejigu, Joe Walsh and Beth Courtney, also provided us all with great client examples of successfully bringing multiple resources together and how to do it. These presentations were rounded out by talks from Peter Finn and Richard Funess on the history, vision and culture of the company.

While I will have good memories of watching Kristina Ambos of the Munich office try a s’more for the first time (not a success), witness Lindsey Challis and Hannah Townsend of the London office play flip cup (a success) or hear Hadley Dreibelbis of the DC office play Coldplay on the piano (impressive), I value most the opportunity to walk away with a clearer picture of what is possible to do through all that Finn Partners has to offer. I hope that as a newly initiated “Collaboration Ambassador,” I can help others navigate through any mazes so we all can do something truly amazing together.

Here are a couple of simple things that you can do in order to collaborate better across offices and teams:

  1. Keep up to date on the latest Finn Partners news. Be sure to read those company-wide emails, follow Finn Partners on social media and create Google News Alerts, so you are always in the know.
  2. Visit the Finn Partners website to educate yourself. Read the case studies, scroll through the capabilities, visit the about page and more. It will give you a better idea of what services that we provide our clients, examples of great work, and who may be a source of knowledge when brainstorming new ideas for existing clients or building plans for new business.
  3. Take someone out to lunch or coffee that is not on your practice team. There are a lot of smart people with sharp skills within the Finn Partners family that can share their expertise with you. If you are on the tech team and someone in your office is on social, ask that person about what they can provide for clients. Curious about crisis communications? Make some time to talk to someone in that group. And it goes both ways. They’d likely be happy to learn from you, too.

Working together, we can get through the maze and do amazing work!