Reflecting on Our 2019 Change Matrix Retreat

Over the past year, Change Matrix has grown to include new team members who have never met in person. Our annual staff retreat offered the opportunity to finally connect with faces we have seen through videoconference for so long. We got to Thompson Island (who knew there was an island in the Boston Harbor?) on a stormy Wednesday afternoon just before the ferry service canceled remaining services due to windy conditions.

Our goals were to have face time with each other to get to know and build relationships; to observe and appreciate the diversity that individuals bring to CM to make up a collective organization; and to engage in dialogue on topics core to CM – evaluation, leadership and equity. In the midst of stormy weather, we still achieved our goals with grace, flexibility, and authenticity.

We also celebrated three big events with our team members – the marriage of Karla to her long-time partner; the arrival of baby #2 for Annie and her family; and the attainment of Tennille’s DBA in Forensic Accounting.

To wrap-up our CM retreat on Thompson Island this month, we all shared something we learned and/or were taking-away:

Alice: I thought I knew what Change Matrix represented, but the retreat led me to a deeper understanding of the values and goals of Change Matrix. Through the retreat I took away friendship, understanding, connectedness and pride for my company.

Shannon: We arrived on Thompson Island (in the Boston Harbor) to overcast skies and take-your-breath-away winds. The idea envisioned by the partners was of walks in the warm sunshine, leisurely strolls in nature at its best with beaches to explore and even some things for the more adventurous and fit. Instead as a storm blew through, the adaptive leadership and collective intelligence rose to the occasion and we created other avenues of warmth with laughter, good work and thoughtful planning. Leaving the island provided another adventure with high seas and the center of a nor’easter a mere moments away. Change Matrix at its best, took care of each other, providing a steady calm in the midst of the storm and managing to do it with more than a little grace and humor along the way. The retreat was Change Matrix, made up of all the talent and skills and spirits of our remarkable team.

Tennille: It was an amazing experience to spend time bonding with and learning from such a diverse group of women. I left the retreat with a greater understanding and appreciation for the CM team and the work it does.

Annie: As one of the newest team members to CM, the retreat provided me the opportunity to better understand the history of the company and breadth of our projects. Leaving with new friendships and memories, I also left the island with a sense of pride and appreciation for being about to do such meaningful work with such incredible people.

Jennifer: I’m very thankful to work for a company that values team bonding and growth. It’s inspiring how much we learn about ourselves, each other, and the company during our retreats.  I walked away with a renewed perspective on life, work, friendship, and vulnerability.

Kristin: What a diverse and talented group of women! I loved learning more about each Change Matrix team member’s background, passion, and skill set. When we saw all of our Strengths Finders on the wall, it demonstrated we have a lot of power to affect social change.

London: I have found a true home for my career with CM. I hope to share that sense of pride in and connectedness to our work with our new team members, and will make an effort to reach out to them to offer support and explore both new and existing opportunities together.

Sandra: As a virtual company, most CM team interactions are through virtual calls, so I was looking forward to seeing everyone IRL. We spent a few days working—assessing our strengths and discussing our strategic priorities; we dined together over several meals; and we just hung out and were silly and passed the time indoors as the Nor’easter was kicking up high winds outside. It was so nice to have this space together although I should have brought dramamine ☺

Alina: We’re a powerful virtual team, but nothing beats us when we’re together in person – not even a nor’easter! This was quite an adventure, involving plane, water taxi, ferry, bus, train, and car rides. I cherished this time that we were able to spend together reflecting on what that Change Matrix has built over the years and exploring new possibilities for future directions. We were able to make the best of a stormy trip, share laughs, discover deeper connections and create a new understanding of our CM family on this little island.

Karla: It was such a treat to spend time with my colleagues! We at Change Matrix do an amazing job at building a strong rapport with one another virtually. Meeting in person just bolstered that feeling of community. For me, these are the moments I will always treasure!

Suganya: Three days of camaraderie, reflections, innovative thinking and expressions of our hopes and dreams for a strong, connected, loving team making meaningful change in the world.

Elizabeth: From yoga, belly dancing, and pilates in the morning, to windy walks on the beach in awe of the sunset, and celebration of each other in the evening, I am still basking in the glow of the connections we made on Thompson Island. I also appreciate the energy that we all put into identifying our collective strengths, organizing our work and diving deeper into the themes that bind us together in the work.

Rachele: While CM started as a virtual company, we have always valued the power of time together. I truly cherished the opportunity to spend time with these wonderful women who readily accommodated my love of spending an evening hydrating with Korean facial masks. I am happy to call you all my CM family. I’m already planning for our next retreat – someplace sunny!