Last week Lynn and I had our company retreat in Portland, OR, where I live. As Lynn put it, it was 30 hours of "eat, work, eat, work, eat", which just about sums it up.
We started at 11:30am on a Wednesday, when Lynn arrived at PDX airport. We had lunch at Olympic Provisions, the new restaurant in the building where our office is located. Lynn and I are good friends as well as partners in the business, so we got caught up on our lives over lunch. Everything on the menu is divine, but my current favorite has been to order a small appetizer with a side vegetable dish. If you ever go there, be sure to stop by our office to say hello and get a free measuring tape.
Then we met with Alyssa Gasca to set our goals for the retreat. The term 'business consultant' doesn't do justice to her effective coaching style and vibrant personality; in the course of two hours, she helped me and Lynn focus on our personal and professional goals, document our progress, and set deadlines for next steps. So in my mind she's a miracle worker, a guru that gave us clarity that we couldn't have achieved on our own.
I won't bore you with the details of the rest of our retreat; so far I've only described the first three hours so you know there's 27 more to go. I'll summarize the schedule I laid out for us:
afternoon: check into the Ace Hotel (where, incidentally, we stayed in the room that is pictured on their postcard), work in our room with some red wine and Ruffles chips (mmm). The room was small, but very well-executed, with lots of low-budget items incorporated in an unusual way. Lynn particularly liked the exiting diagram for the room, which was a building plan on a piece of cloth with red stitching showing the exiting path.
dinner: Clyde Common (located in the Ace Hotel); discuss work over olive oil poached octupus and lamb with butternut squash bread pudding. The tables were small and we quickly ran out of room for our paperwork, but we kept talking anyway.
evening: get coffee at Stumptown (also located in the Ace Hotel), open bag of Lindt truffles, work in the hotel mezzanine. The Ace has all these nooks and crannies where you can nestle in a dark corner and have intimate conversations. We talked about financial projections and work load, but I bet everyone else thought we were talking about something much more mysterious.
late evening: sleep (for Lynn, who has a baby as well as a 2 1/2 year old, it was one of the highlights of the retreat; I stayed up too late reading trashy magazines. So we both got to do what we usually don't have time for.)
breakfast: Kenny and Zuke's (located next to the Ace Hotel); discuss work over pastrami and eggs. There was soft, winter morning light coming through their big windows. It was quiet and peaceful. And I learned that they only do poached eggs on the weekend.
morning: work in our room while watching everyone else walk to work. It somehow felt luxurious to be observing the city from 20 feet above the sidewalk.
noon: meet with photographer Kristin Beadle to take head shots. By this point our voices were cracked from all the talking, so it was a nice break to sit silently for a while.
lunch: Bunk Sandwiches; discuss work over pulled pork sandwich.
afternoon: work in the office, drive Lynn to airport.
We had a great time. And we made some great progress. We are both looking forward to the year ahead.
photo by Kristin Beadle
A big thank you to everyone who attended our first art show – it was a great success. Our office was filled with good art, good company, and good conversation.
photo by Kristin Beadle
Artists Anderson Bailey and Jessie Bean Goodman choreographed the display, mixing glass pieces with ceramic, and some softer felted pieces in between. The result was a visual field of colors, textures, and reflections that led the patrons through the space. At the end of our long space, the lounge area offered a $5 bargain bin, with bowls and ornaments that everyone thought was clearly worth more than the price. These items disappeared quickly!
Kids' Lounge - photo by Kristin Beadle
There were a fair number of children (including my own rambunctious 2-year old son) in the crowd, and they were all extremely well behaved. It seems we always underestimate how well our children understand their environment. This event proved (to me, the most skeptical) that we can have perfectly sensible parties with kids in our midst. I think we’d like to host more shows in the future – so stay tuned.
Matt Roman - photo by Kristin Beadle
I feel so lucky to have the most fun and flexible office mates in the world – architectural designer Matt Roman and graphic designer Kristin Beadle. They let me open our doors to the public, and invited their friends to join in the fun. They are a source of energy and inspiration for me, and the office’s collaborative atmosphere is all thanks to them.
And last but not least: special thanks to Anderson and Jessie, who created a beautiful display and helped organize the event. Have a wonderful road trip to Tennessee, and best wishes – we will miss you!