The Shift Network Blog

Updates from Our Team Retreat 2016
Alison Marks
By Alison Marks
Director of Summits, The Shift Network

Ever wonder about how all the telesummits, courses and emails get to you?

Many moving parts go into each one of our productions (about 100 each year!), and each detail is lovingly tended to by specialists on our team.

We are a “partially-local virtual” company, meaning that those of us who live in the San Francisco Bay Area come to work twice a week at the gorgeous IONS EarthRise Retreat Center in Petaluma, CA., and the remainder of our work together is a virtual dance.

So each year, when we have the opportunity to meet for three days of retreat, it’s always a big old love fest.

The annual event is an important way we bring together the entire team for “family bonding” time, to review what we’ve accomplished and to set our collective sites on where we’re going.

This year, the 42 of us who came together at EarthRise included locals as well as folks from Lake Shasta and Nevada City (CA), Portland (OR), New York, Boulder, Boston, Philadelphia, Kansas City and various other places.

This was double the size of the first Team Shift retreat I attended just two years ago!

Even with this phenomenal growth, though, numbers don’t tell the whole story.

One of the things I enjoy so much about working with The Shift Network is that not only do we make so many good things happen for hundreds of thousands of people — and the planet, too — we have fun!

(One of my colleagues said after the retreat, “I laughed so much I was sore the next day.”)

People always say the same thing after the gathering: We have such incredible privilege to work with these amazing people. Doing some of the most important work on the planet together.

No more dividing ourselves and our lives into segments. We get to be strong and smart — and make mistakes and be incredibly silly, too!

It makes it easy to choose to bring ourselves fully to work.

The thing everyone talks about all year — slightly groaning, but secretly looking forward to! — are the skits. Nothing is too sacred to poke fun at! We always have a great time laughing at the state of our world and our business, and mostly ourselves.

This year, as usual, we also got an inspiring overview from CEO Stephen Dinan. When he founded this company, he laid out a vision for the year 2020 which has always been our guiding star.

He treated us to an inspiring revisit of that document, reviewing all we’ve collectively accomplished and learned since 2010.

And of course, we got down to business and got some work done, too.

When we asked the team after the retreat “What is your level of excitement and commitment to Shift's vision and mission now?” the average answer was 9.52 (on a 1-10 scale).

There aren’t too many work meetings in the world that can claim that!

We all feel incredibly blessed to be doing important, effective and sacred work with one of the smartest, most dedicated, cooperative, transparent and fun work group around.

When we all get together for our next annual retreat, watch out!

Alison Marks
About Alison Marks

As Director of Summits, Alison is responsible for the planning and implementation of the Shift Network’s telesummits. Before joining The Shift Network she ran her own successful coaching and training company for 7 years, following a nearly 20-year career in the nonprofit sector. Alison holds an MA in Organizational Development and Transformation from the California Institute of Integral Studies, loves getting her hands dirty with both soil and art supplies, and enjoys the rich diversity of people and experiences she finds living in Northern California.