Last Tuesday, more than 60 Jornayan’s hopped on a pair of busses and headed to our annual kickoff and company retreat! For the next three days, we found ourselves fully engaged in team building, learning, skiing, snow tubing, water tubing, water sliding, and happy hours in the Poconos at the famous Camelback Resort.
Despite spending much of the week enjoying each other’s company in non-work related environments (hello Aquatopia!), the most memorable moments of the retreat came from our group sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.
On Wednesday, our team had the incredible opportunity to hear from Brigadier General George “Barney” Forsythe, Ph.D (retired, USMA 1970) in the morning and Colonel Pilar Ryan, Ph.D (retired, USMA 1986) from Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point (TLDG). In the morning session, we learned about and discussed U.S. military tested and approved approaches for decision-making, information sharing, and team productivity. In the afternoon, we were given the chance to apply what we learned about leadership to judge the leadership styles and choices made by three Union officers during the Battle of Gettysburg (John Buford, Dan Sickles, & Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain). This was not a battlefield tour, but rather a reexamination of key leadership, decision making, and course-of-action decisions where the battle happened. Amazingly, both speakers succeeded in making their sessions resonate with each part of our company, from marketers to engineers, which led to some truly enlightening discussions. We all enjoyed relating the lessons learned to our real-world experiences in the office during our discussions.
On Thursday, we heard from our fearless leader, Ross Shanken. Continuing down the patriotic path that was paved by TLDG, Ross presented his own rendition of the State of the Union. In his speech, Ross clearly summarized our company’s performance in 2016. It was inspiring to reflect upon all the amazing accomplishments we achieved over the year as a team. Additionally, he provided an overview of our exciting new plans and initiatives for 2017. We’re an ambitious bunch, so we have many great things in the works for this year.
After a week of bonding, learning, and one (or several) cocktails, our team headed back to Jornaya HQ in Ambler, PA with a rejuvenated sense of optimism and excitement for the year to come. Check out some highlights from our week in the Poconos below, and be on the lookout for great things to come from Jornaya in 2017!
Scenes from Kickoff 2017