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2023 Team Retreat: Shift in Miami

I joined Shift in December 2022 after a four-year stint directing marketing and communications at an arts college. I had worked in various sectors of Higher Ed., and needed to make a change when I applied to Shift.

During my job interview, Karen asked me, "Are  you free at end of January for our team retreat in Miami." Of course I was going to make sure I was free for a chance to be in Miami, and by the end of my first week at Shift, I had my ticket. During the interview process, the team retreat felt like a nice little perk—a signing bonus—on top of a great job. And there I was in surrounded by palm trees the middle of winter, leaving Seattle (30 degrees and snowing) for Miami (80 degrees and sunny).

The purposes of our team retreat were to connect with team members, collaborate in person on current projects, and continue developing internal systems and workplace culture.

This was my first time in Miami, my first time in Florida, and the first-time meeting most of the Shift team. Spoiler Alert: I work well with all these folks, and for the first time in years, I felt heard, trusted, and treated as an expert in my role. (I have a lot of great things to say about my fellow Shift people, but I’ll save that for another blog).

In the mornings I jogged to the bay and back, drank coffee and read a Philip K. Dick novel till meeting time. At night, after work and team dinners, I’d hang in my room and read more or listen to podcasts and work on design projects. The retreat didn’t change much of my daily routine (minus time with my family, which was a strange absence), but the change of location was a nice motivator to relax outside of work (relaxing for me means creative time—writing, drawing, designing, editing).

It was nice to meet everyone and work in a shared space. We jumped right in and before lunch, I was tasked with leading the team through an overview of marketing and communications at Shift. I planned on talking through strategy, upcoming campaigns, and structures for content creation and collaboration. I was also asked to discuss marketing in terms of elevator pitches and in-person engagement. Kind of perfect, considering a fellow Seattle co-worker spent a portion of the flight talking with someone about what Shift does. (Her explanation was a perfect distillation of the levels of accessibility and understanding, as she started globally: Shift does X, and all the steps further into what we do…specifically.) The night we landed, while we were waiting for a cab, she talked through it, and that provided a perfect starting point for our discussions around “storytelling at Shift.”

- Joshua Young


23 Team Retreat_Miami Pool


Stay tuned for the continuation of this blog, where Joshua breaks down the team's exploration in storytelling, and how coworkers causally talking about Shift is one of the best ways to build a vocabulary for Marketing and Communication.

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