Inspired by our European colleagues, who make an annual pilgrimage to the Italian Alps for ‘We Are Skiing’, We Are Social Sydney has launched our very own southern hemisphere version - We Are Surfing.
The entire team took off to Fiji for four days earlier this month. Planned to precision by our masterful camp captain, Cristina Forlani, the fun began the moment we were handed our travel packs at the airport and certainly continued during the bus transfer from the airport to our fantastic resort, the Nanuku Auberge.
We arrived for a welcome drink and dinner where I thanked the team from the bottom of my heart for all their support in collectively enabling us to take such a fantastic trip; when I arrived at We Are Social in 2015, the business was in a rough patch and it was difficult to imagine a time when we’d be jetting the team off to a tropical island for our winter conference. But here we were.
We talked about our vision to be a creative contender in the Australian agency landscape, famous for our socially-led work, and we drank Kava, at which point one of our sweetest Account Executives, Tiff, morphed into her alter ego - Chief.
We also enjoyed an address from one of the three MDs from our incredibly successful Milan office, Ottavio, who joined the trip to represent our 10-office strong global network. Ottavio regaled the team with stories of historical We Are Skiing trips, setting the agenda for what would come.
Over the course of the next three days we did workshops on creativity, enjoyed water sports, had a big ship-themed party and dutifully made our way through the duty-free alcohol at the inevitable nightly after-parties that took place in one of the numerous villas.
Whilst away, we challenged the team to a social competition to snap the best We Are Surfing shots and the winner, Ben Hock, picked up a brand spanking new pair of Snap Specs.
The trip was transformative. I can’t explain how truly bonding it was for the team. Being a group of only 35 people, we were able to work, play and party together as a unit, rather than splitting into cliques. Senior and junior team members became firm friends, newbies came out of their shells, and everyone had a collective experience that has imprinted some very strong We Are Social memories.
Above all, the feedback on our first We Are Surfing has been overwhelmingly positive. One member of the team said it was the most generous gesture he’s ever experienced from a company.
We learnt a few things that we will take on board for next time…
- Don’t do working sessions early in the morning - hangovers make them unproductive
- It’s advantageous to have accommodation that can’t be overheard by other guests
- Fijians are incredibly hospitable without being submissive
- People will feel compelled to drink duty-free alcohol rather than leave any behind
- A 3hr transfer from the airport is like a teenagers’ “pre-party” on the way out… and a wake on the way back.
…. but certainly, we’re sure, there will be a next time.
We Are Surfing 2018, here we come!