Every year, Blytheco invests in having the entire company (six national offices plus remote employees) come together for what almost feels like a family reunion. Our Quest for Excellence (or Quest for short) event started out as just a sales team initiative but morphed a few years ago into a company-wide event because the leadership team realized the benefits it could have for the entire company. Our 2017 event was recently held Thursday February 23rd through Sunday February 29th in Irvine, California. Our theme this year was #OwnYourDay.
Thursday evening, team members were greeted with a chilly reception because of the colder than expected SoCal weather. But the cocktails, light bites, and friendly hugs warmed everyone up after a long day of travel for some and a long day in the office for the local Laguna Hills team.
Friday morning started with an early morning run for some, organized by Phil Sim, VP of Professional Services. At 8am, COO Lori Seal officially kicked off the event with a high-level overview of the company’s vision, culture, and initiatives. Before the lunch break, individual departments held break-out strategy sessions.
The afternoon session was lead by NHL champion and public speaker Ryan Walter. His dynamic session introduced the team to new terminology: “above the line” and “below the line” thinking as well as “tapping in.” (Look out for our blog entry next Friday which will share more of what we learned from Ryan.)
Friday evening, everyone got dolled up for our Hollywood themed, black tie Awards dinner. A number of well-deserved team members were recognized for some of their outstanding achievements and contributions to the company in the past year.
For those who could make it out of bed Saturday morning, Marketing’s own Michelle Klein led a few brave souls in a ballet and pilates style workout. The morning session was dedicated to learning practical ways to gain control over our time, attention and schedule, taught by leading expert Maura Thomas. Departments got together and took lunch offsite at various restaurants in the Irvine Spectrum.
Saturday afternoon featured breakout sessions taught by some of our internal leaders. Team members were able to learn about how to deliver an excellent customer experience (presented by Lori Seal, Phil Sim, and Jeff Blomstrom, Director of Business Accounts), how to write effective communications (lead by Alicia Anderson, Sr. Manager of Business Solutions) and how to connect with people and make the most of their personal brand (lead by Apryl Hanson, Sr. Director of Partner and Customer Strategy).
But the definitive highlight of the entire event was Saturday evening’s costume party. Continuing with the Hollywood theme, individuals and teams dressed up as movie characters. Some stand out costumes included Glenna Curlutu’s Uma Thurman/Kill Bill, Billy Balser’s Austin Powers/Dr. Evil, Tish Bates X-Men/Mystique, and Jose Media’s Suicide Squad/Joker (for which he won the Best Costume award). The NetSuite team was convincing as the X-Men and the outside sales team cast a spell as the wizards in training from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.
But the most magical team of the evening was Marketing department which won bragging rights for the next 12 months as the winners of the best group costume (Sorry, BAMs!). The triumphant victory required the combined powers of a Good Witch (Michelle Klien), a Wicked Witch (Apryl Hanson), The Wizard (Kathy McCoy) a Lion (Greg Went), a Scarecrow (Gary Dahl), a Tin Man (Natalya), a Munchkin (Jennifer Vo), Toto (Amber Hubbard), and a 1978 Diana Ross inspired Dorothy (Denise Renee Phinn, yours truly!).
Sunday morning was a bit more low-key with a mimosa continental breakfast. We recapped the event, provided feedback and hugged each other goodbye till 2018.