The Gravity Team mixed it up a little this year for their 7th annual company offsite by switching up the normal date and location and I have to say as a first timer, the experience certainly did not disappoint!
Twenty-four Gravity employees boarded planes from New York City, San Antonio, London and Germany to meet for a five-day retreat in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. The trip was eagerly anticipated by all for a majority of the travelers since the summer city weather has been particularly brutal.
The flight over the Atlantic was filled with story-telling and laughter from previous trips primarily getting the nine trip newbies ready for what would truly be a life-changing experience. Hoping off the plane everyone was excited to experience Puerto Rico again or for the very first time.
The island of Puerto Rico suffered immensely from Hurricane Maria just one year ago. It was great to see the progress made but the island is certainly still rebuilding. It was important for the Gravity team to not only experience the island but to give back financially to help with its revitalization and growth.
The team kicked off a welcome lunch by the beach followed by a relaxing session of Wine Yoga on the roof of the La Concha Resort. La Concha was nestled up to amazing stretch of sand along with four different pools to kick back and soak up some much-needed sun and island cocktails!
Diving into day two the group started off with a welcome from our fearless leader Yuriy setting up the morning sessions where we got a marketing advertising update from Rod Alanis, team building games like Family Feud with Emcee Oliver Walsh, and an extensive update of Dentsu’s proprietary media and research tools with Evgenia Novikova and Rob Douglas. In summary, Gravity is poised to continue to define and influence how culture defines the ever-evolving marketing landscape.
The team was also fortunate to have TWO very powerful guest presentations during our morning sessions. The first with Jeff Tan, SVP Product & Innovation, Dentsu Aegis USA who not only shared his emotional life/career journey with the group but shared an amazing story of a huge win for the Dentsu Aegis Network with SUBWAY. The pitch team convinced hundreds of Subway corporate and franchisee’s how to embrace a massive change in how consumers make and eat their food in the attention deficit economy.
The second was with our client Laston Charriez, Head of Marketing for Pilgrims Chicken. He and his local team lead and their local ad agency partners from Puerto Rico educated the group on the truly massive efforts it takes as a brand to bring quality food to your table. The group had a riveting discussion around the Pilgrims brand that works with over 4,000 family farms throughout the U.S. and Mexico touching the product through its entire lifecycle. It was amazing to see their recovery story from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and how fast they bounced back.
We were then treated to an amazing walking tour of Old San Juan. This walled city still preserves its stunning colonial architecture, ranging from imposing fortresses to brightly colored buildings. Amidst is beauty lie some of the island’s best museums, restaurants, shops, and nightlife, of which the team took full advantage! Rounding out the evening with a delicious Tapas style dinner, the team was energized for a fun night out and an exciting boat excursion the next day.
A seemingly quiet boat cruise to the amazing Island of Culebra was certainly a ride to remember. The team certainly earned their sea legs on a rocky trip across the Atlantic, but what was waiting on the other side was nothing less than paradise. The day was filled with fun food drinks and water activities (including some colorful blow-up rafts!).
Happy to be back on dry land (after a quick snooze) the team got cleaned up and headed back to Old San Juan for our final family dinner consisting of some amazing local flavors straight from Grandma’s kitchen!
Evenings consisted of a ton of drinks, dancing, and even a little gambling in the resort casino! The WhatsApp group chat filled each day and night with fun pictures and stories (some a little too risky for this blog post J ).
After a final day of lounging by the pool and beach, the team was ready to pack up and take their newfound energy back to their regularly scheduled lives. Refreshed with new ideas and outlooks everyone came out of the trip with a serious sense of purpose and gratitude for everyone around them.
A huge thank you to Lilian, Yuriy, Luba, Paul, and Boris for coordinating our wild and crazy bunch. We are all so lucky to work with the most creative, warm-hearted, hilarious, beautiful, life-loving people in the Dentsu Aegis Network. Can’t wait to see how we top the experiences on next year’s trip!