Erica Fish, Marketing Communications Specialist
Many employers understand the importance of cultivating a team who is innovative and visionary. After all, it’s inspired team members who drive new ideas, push the boundaries, and sometimes even change the course of the company at large. At Barron Collier Companies, innovation and vision are encouraged and applauded at the annual company retreat.
It’s been two years since BCC’s last company retreat, and thanks to the “go-getter” planning of the Professional Development Committee, all departments were able to mingle with each other and learn about recent successes of the company.
The day began with Blake Gable, CEO of Barron Collier Companies, welcoming the company to the retreat, highlighting recent successes, and discussing the company’s future. Department heads remarked on how well team members collaborated during the past two years since the pandemic, shared department their teams.
“Our success is attributed to every single employee that is a part of the BCC family. It was nice to enjoy each other’s company in a fun and productive way outside of the office,” Gable said.
One special afternoon activity called Build-a-Bike, was facilitated by the Leaders Institute Instructor Toby Martini. Groups of four developed a team name and flag, presented a cheer and solved riddles to earn bike parts – all hand-assembled and donated to Guadalupe Center, a local non-profit in Immokalee, Florida with the mission to break the cycle of poverty through education. We are proud to share that BCC donated 18 bikes to students at Guadalupe Center.
The retreat brought together employees from the different BCC locations including the Naples headquarters and Ave Maria offices. “Not all the departments work together in the same geographic location, and we’ve had such an influx of new employees this year that we knew it was important to get the entire group together to foster in-person collaboration and communication,” said Jamie Thompson, Director of Human Resources.
Thompson shared one takeaway the Professional Development Committee wanted attendees to experience was truly feeling their value to the company and their differences made in our growing community.
“I enjoyed participating in the bike activity and watching everyone having fun. We were able to be comfortable with each other,” said Joshua Calhoun, BCC Accountant II. “The retreat made everything feel like a family. It’s easy to tell that the culture is great here because everyone you pass is smiling and sincerely happy. There’s no nine to five mentality.” Martini emphasized that even though Leadership Institute facilitated the Build-a-Bike activity, Barron Collier Companies paid for the bikes and built them at the retreat with the purpose to donate. “You all made it happen for those kids. It’s their own little freedom. Every kid deserves a bike,” he said.
For Peninsula’s engineers, it was a breeze assembling in a matter of minutes, and for some, well… Let’s say we wished we were engineers.
Company retreats are designed to build new relationships and increase creativity, and sometimes the busyness of the workweek can limit this, so with a change of pace and a change of scenery, the day gave everyone the opportunity to make connections with colleagues and relish in the beautiful views of Grey Oaks’ country club.
With the relaxed atmosphere and ability to interact freely with one another, the BCC family showed off their personalities and were able to just be themselves.
“Our company and this committee drives the importance of everyone’s careers and the sincerity of having fun together,” Thompson said. “Work only sustains you so long and when you feel that sense of belonging among others, there’s no better feeling.”
It is necessary from time to time to refocus and ensure all staff have a clear understanding of a company’s vision and recent ambitions, and even though Barron Collier Companies strives to achieve its legacy of vision, this begins with a diverse and driven group of individuals who makes such a vision possible.
“It’s one of the most important things to enjoy the people you work with because when your company wants you to enjoy your work and the people you surround yourself with, that creates happiness and productivity,” Calhoun said.