Each fall, Participate Learning holds an annual meeting in which we work as a company to establish a common vision for the year to come. This year, our goal was to foster relationship building and facilitate connections between our staff, our partner schools, and our strategic direction with our brand. The annual meeting is a three-day event that strives to reenergize and empower our employees to create meaningful work that gives all students access to a globally focused education.
Connecting with each other
For the annual meeting, our entire staff comes together at our headquarters in Chapel Hill to participate and engage with one another. This includes our international staff from places such as the UK, Costa Rica, and Canada. The annual meeting provides a great opportunity to create new relationships with co-workers and strengthen preexisting ones.
With such a diverse group of employees, our professional learning manager, Katy Turnbull, facilitated a group activity called “Where I’m From” that allowed staff members to write poems that shared their cultural backgrounds and life experiences with their co-workers.
“This activity gave us a way to learn more about our personal and professional journeys, to begin our week with deeper connections to our colleagues,” remarks Katy.
Connecting with the environment
As a proud B Corporation, we try to make all of our events as environmentally responsible as possible, which is why we chose to host the annual meeting at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens. The botanical gardens are committed to green and sustainable practices and work to conserve natural resources through trash-free events at their facilities.
To help them in this effort, we made the entire event paper-free through the use of MeetApp Go. This event management app allowed us to post and share all documents from the meeting, including the schedule, activity descriptions, and pictures taken throughout the day. It was even turned into a friendly competition among staff as the person who used the app the most won a prize!
In addition to our venue choice, Participate Learning also launched a new water initiative in conjunction with Cupanion, a fellow B Corporation. At the annual meeting, each employee received a Cupanion water bottle with a scannable sticker on it to jump-start this project.
“As a company, we have decided to get a custom barcode that not only allows employees to track their personal environmental impact but also Participate Learning’s impact as a whole. Not only are we able to track our footprint, but a $0.02 donation is made for every bottle refill toward a global clean water initiative through Cupanion’s Fill It Forward program,” states senior events planner Sara Dittman.
Connecting with our community
Beyond making connections with our staff and the environment, we also used the annual meeting to reach out to our partner schools and give back through a day of service. Our staff traveled throughout North Carolina and spent time in schools observing classes, meeting teachers, and working on projects.
The service projects ranged from helping to organize curriculum materials to setting up global learning displays to reading in classrooms and interacting directly with students. This experience allowed our entire staff to get a closer look at our programs in action and was a rewarding experience for all.
— Judy Ouyang (@judyouyangbello) October 22, 2019
Participating in a virtual culture exchange lesson with first graders. An experience that these students will remember. ❤️ this connection! @ParticipateLrng @MontclairEleme1 @CumberlandCoSch #howiparticipate @LastraMaddelyn @zavalatweets pic.twitter.com/LLlIyupXW8
— Vera (@VeraWoolard) October 22, 2019
Through the connections we made at the annual meeting, we were able to focus on our shared goal and purpose as a company, which is to unite the world through global learning. This purpose is the motivating factor behind all of our actions and is a standard held for all employees. We hope that by expanding young minds, opening our world, and working together for a more peaceful tomorrow, we can collectively accomplish this mission.