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Mad Media Takes Vancouver: Our First Annual Company Retreat

Tessa-May Marr

June 22, 2015

mad media vancouver retreat

They start trickling in later today and by midday tomorrow, we’ll all be here.

This week, Mad Media is hosting our first annual company retreat. Our entire team is coming together for four days of training, brainstorming, collaboration and of course, celebration. Not only that, for some members of the team, this will be the first opportunity to meet their colleagues face-to-face, so relationship-building will be an important aspect of this event.

Because we are a global team, the options are endless in terms of where in the world we can meet for these events. This year, I opted to host it in Vancouver, BC, Canada; where I call home and where Mad Media found it’s beginnings. In addition to the beautiful weather, gorgeous cityscape and endless sights and activities, I thought it would be valuable to mark the end of our first year of business in the city where it all began. Some members of our team have never been to this city, and I can’t wait to show them around and watch their inspiration grow in this city that inspired me so much–personally and professionally.

There’s another reason that this week is so special to us. July 1, 2015 marks one year since Mad Media has been operating. In preparation for this retreat, I have been looking back on our past year and how far this business has come. It’s hard to believe that a year ago we were one client and one service. And, one person. Now we are a global, virtual team of eight professionals, offering services in social media marketing, graphic design, web design, video animation and are just entering into the world of content marketing as well. At the beginning, I laid out a revenue plan for this business, and it was hard to imagine it would come to fruition. (I remember sitting on the plane, drooling over this predictive spreadsheet with big numbers and big goals, wondering if I’d had too much wine or if this was actually realistic.) But very quickly, I saw our business grow and our revenue grow along with it.

It hasn’t been without it’s challenges. Time, sleep and money: they all seemed hard to come by at times this year (did you know we are a bootstrapped business and raised no money to start this baby up?). I knew starting a business would be hard and I knew it took commitment, but this year has challenged me in ways I never could’ve imagined. I have only taken seven days off in the last 12 months and it was the most re-energizing thing I could’ve done for myself and my company. This marked a moment when I knew I had the right team in place–when my business kept functioning without me present.

We have all learned so many lessons from working together in this start up. Lessons about communication. Lessons about culture. Lessons about productivity. Lessons about accounting, legal, client relations. Lessons about strategy and objectives. So many lessons; I’m tired just thinking about it.

This week we’re going to re-visit our corporate strategy and work together to define it even further. We’re going to dig deep and review our brand, target our efforts, cross-train and bridge gaps within our team. We’re going to learn from each other. We’ll all walk away knowing exactly who we are as a company and what we do for our clients. And, where we are going next.

I look forward to working hard and playing hard with my team this week, and setting the stage for the next year to come. I can only imagine all that’s in our future. Just you wait.

Keep an eye out for us around Vancouver this week and follow along our retreat adventures on social media at #MMRetreat.

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