July 2, 2019
The entire Washington Sea Grant team joined me in late June for an all-hands staff retreat at the Alderbrook Resort in Union, Washington. This retreat provided an opportunity for the organization to take a collective breath and catch up with leadership and one another in a low-pressure, informal setting. I am super excited about the success of the event, especially because this was the first of its type that any current staff can recall!
We focused on program updates from leadership, informal problem-solving among leadership and staff, celebrating our successes over the last year in leveraging funds, and team-building activities. Notably, we highlighted the successful Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workgroup’s efforts over the last year to profoundly change WSG’s culture internally and externally in everything that we do.
We also had a very productive and strategy session soliciting feedback directly from staff on how we could collectively enhance the future of WSG. A few initial themes came out of this feedback session, including the role and functions of the three Program Teams; strengthening internal communications and stimulating cross-staff dialogue; and strengthening our external communications, reach and visibility.
Day two featured a focused tribal relations training. The tribal training was incredibly powerful for me and I think it served to improve our collective understanding on how we can enhance relationships and build trust with our tribal partners. The tribal training was also special as one of our trainers, Gordon James, is a member of the Skokomish Tribe. The Skokomish lands encompass the area where the retreat took place.
Given that I’ve been with the organization for less than a year, I personally appreciated the multiple opportunities to talk informally and get to know everyone better — and to get a better sense of the challenges that the entire WSG team faces. The level of enthusiasm and energy was high throughout the two days and I think this retreat brought us together as a more unified team and will help WSG better serve the people of Washington.
Russell Callender, WSG Director