By Mai P. Tran, ECMC Foundation
There is no better – and extreme – way to team bond than to climb poles, jump from 30 feet high tree trunks and walk across tight ropes together. No, this is no metaphor alluding to great heights and risks. This really happened.
Last week, the philanthropic arm of ECMC Group based in Los Angeles paused their usual work-related activities to take part in a two-day retreat. This included a visit to the UCLA Challenge Course, where all team members (as expected) survived.
Before the challenge course, the retreat kicked off with a full day of activities centered on deep reflections of values, goals and the future of the organization.
Day 1 consisted of reviewing the Foundation's commitment to values shared across all ECMC Group affiliates: Excellence, Integrity, Wellness, Teamwork and Service. Each member reflected on ways in which they practice these values in their everyday work. They also discussed opportunities to improve working together, establishing shared goals, the Foundation's long-term goals and developing a vision statement for the organization.
The team was joined by Todd Allard, chief marketing officer at Zenith Education Group, another organization under parent company ECMC Group. Allard facilitated the discussions and played an integral role in helping the team think through its vision and branding.
The second day of the retreat took place at a challenge course. The activities forced each Foundation member to put their fears behind. Over several hours, the group worked together to solve puzzles, climb to great heights and lean on each other (literally) while walking across tight ropes. Everyone attempted each feat!
Each activity provided members time to reflect on how they could bring the same skills they used during the challenge course – communication, collaboration, trust– back to the workplace. All left re-energized and feeling extra inspired to continue pushing forward ECMC Foundation's mission: improving educational outcomes for all students, especially those from underserved populations.