Each year, Participate Learning holds an annual meeting in which we come together as a company to establish a common vision for the year to come. This year’s staff retreat was the first in over three years. As such, the planning team decided to embrace the theme of coming together after a long absence, reimagining the event as the Uniting Our Staff Reunion. And what a reunion it was! With eighty-two staff members descending on Durham from across the state, country, and globe, we truly embodied our commitment to Uniting Our World.
Building and deepening connections
After the long gap between meetings, our goal this year was to build and deepen staff connections and create space for staff innovation and input while planning for our future. Our company came together in its entirety, including those who made the trip from the UK, Costa Rica, and Canada.
Being together in one place provided invaluable opportunities to create new relationships with co-workers and strengthen already existing ones.
We kicked off our two days in the way that all good things start: by sharing a meal and fellowship, followed by a memorable opening activity. Each staff member was challenged to silently line up according to their employment start date; then, we passed around a microphone to see how we did.
Start dates ranged from the creation of the company in 1987 all the way to just days before the reunion! It was a fantastic visual representation of how both organizational experience and expertise from other institutions and industries make us strong.
Planning for the future
All staff had an opportunity at the reunion to provide input and perspective as Participate Learning works toward developing our next strategic plan. With the support of an outside facilitator, Lisa Cleri Reale from DoGoodery, we collectively had the chance to guide the next iteration of our values, think through how to continuously grow and strengthen as a cohesive unit, and figure out how to ensure that Participate Learning continues to iterate and improve for many years to come.
We strive to always be in a position to serve our partners to the best of our ability, with an unwavering focus on the shared goal of preparing students for the global marketplace.
In addition to enabling us to build connections with one another, the reunion also gave us the opportunity to connect with our community.
We were able to support several local businesses in Durham, including Pine and Poplar for our collaboration space and Krill, Boxcar, and Annexe for additional informal celebrations during the reunion. We look forward to continuing to support downtown Durham as our home base to welcome a new class of Ambassador Teachers in only a few months.