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.