Welcome to Team Week 2021
An In-Person Meeting of the Minds of EnsoData: Working Hard, Playing Harder
This September, our team met face-to-face to celebrate EnsoData Team Week 2021. Many of our team, which has more than doubled since the start of 2021, have never met in person. Our fully hybrid work environment promotes working from home (WFH) and in office work. However, our team has taken a precautionary approach to COVID, and most of the Madison-based staff work remotely. We also have more than a half dozen employees who are based outside of our headquarter city, with staff in Chicago, Raleigh, San Diego, Nashville, Charleston and more, all making the trip into Madison for the week.
The week had three focuses: communication, education, and culture. With a working agenda focused on the company’s past, present and future and an activities agenda emphasizing team bonding and community enrichment, achieving our three team week goals was a resounding success. While our strategic planning intel will remain an in-house secret, we’d love to share our favorite social elements of the week. Let’s dive into the fun stuff.
Team Week Social Activities
Hearing from our founders, our team leaders, and sharing brainstorms with our teams has undeniable positive effects for our team’s chemistry. However, the most exciting moments of team week came during our social activities. Before team week officially kicked off, some of our out of town members met Madisonians at the Memorial Union Terrace to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Starting on the opening night, the team met at Garver Feed Mill in Madison, a renovated grain mill that served as an outstanding opening ceremony destination.
Throughout the week, extracurricular activities happened beyond our scheduled agenda, and opening night was no exception. One of the local Madison sales executives hosted an impromptu hangout, where stories and laughs were shared. Bright and early the next day, we were back to the lab, working on the product roadmap and more. The afternoon featured a Revel Madison craft session where our team took to painting our own pineapples. You can see each of our pineapples on our team page.
The team celebrated in the evening at a local watering hole, the Capital Brewery and then we made our way back to our office for a late night jam session. Jam session? You mean a couple drums and a circle? Nope. We’re talking multiple guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, and a variety of other “instruments” as we rocked out well into the evening. It was a blast for all those who were able to participate, and it absolutely will not be the final musical masterpiece the team puts together.
Following the jam session, our team was up bright and early, supporting our community with a Habitat for Humanity build. The fun-filled, paint-splattered, hard working day was an outstanding opportunity for our team to continue the team-bonding that had been featured throughout the week. Our team was split into two sites, with folks painting a house on one site and cutting and hanging siding at the other.
Project Betsy, the painting project, featured a dozen of our on-site members, and was championed by our project leader, John Benson. Benson and his two team members have been a major part of building 5 different houses in the Madison community. While our team didn’t do the build on Project Betsy, the paint job was transformative. From a wispy, fading green with chips and cracks in the paint galore, our team did a one day face lift on the old home.
“The above average height of our team was a great asset for this house painting project,” said Rachel Boer, Director of Marketing.
Our second team worked on two sites, and this group had a little more hands-on building work to accomplish. From siding cutting and hanging to hammering, our smaller crew on site two was busy all day with one of the aforementioned builds. One of the two homes was for a family with 2 young children, and you can’t help but feel happy when you hear about those you’re helping. Under the guidance of project lead Dennis and his two team members, the smaller EnsoData team went to work!
“A mix of retired DIY folks and one foreman with experience house framing, working with the volunteers was great,” noted Senior Sales Executive Nick Orr. Orr and others on the team also learned something new, specifically how to put up siding on a house. Our regulatory director, Sigrid Schoepel, even operated the saw. Per one of our SDRs, Emma Garton, “Sigrid was the natural choice to trust with operating a sharp object,” likely due to her unmatched attention to detail.
Between the two sites, the day was filled with smiles, great music (including a Beatles and Classic Rock playlist courtesy of our CTO, Nick Glattard, on site two), a few grunts, and a lot of rewarding happy feelings. “It was nice to help out a family in the community who may otherwise not have access to affordable housing, and we had a lot of fun while doing it,” added Orr.
The Habitat for Humanity builds took up the daylight hours of our final full day of team week 2021, but the fun didn’t end with our builds. The team headed back to hotels and homes to clean up, recharge, and get ready for the week’s final activity: an evening Betty Lou Cruise on Lake Mendota. The windy, rainy conditions that came on strong around 5 PM subsided just enough for our team to get out on the water without too much fear of sinking.
The delicious Captain’s Dinner, a three course meal with decadent desserts, was the perfect weekend night cap of sorts, though there was a day after rendezvous at Vitense Golfland to close down team week with a bang. For the Madison attendees, this last event was a great chance to talk about the best parts of team week, a week our team will certainly remember for a long time to come.
Team Week 2021 Highlights
As we’re closing out this Team Week post, we wanted to share a few final thoughts from the team:
“After hearing about jam sessions for the past year, it was really cool to be able to experience one in person. I was extremely impressed with the level of musical talent on our team and I “think” Connor taught me how to play “Hey Jude” on the bass guitar????”
– Rachel Boer, Director of Marketing
“I really enjoyed the pineapple painting session, and I can’t believe how artistic some of our team members are!”
– Steven Miller, Marketing Manager
“It was great to see everyone live and in-person, some for the first time.”
– Sigrid Schoepel, Director of Regulatory Affairs
“Some of the best fun was sharing stories with co-workers and the Habitat volunteers and having a laugh during a water or lunch break.”
– Nick Orr, Senior Sales Executive
“Emma loaded $20 into the jukebox at the Plaza Tavern and the team took turns picking songs to add to the playlist. This inevitably resulted in a playlist that can only be described as a hodgepodge with a little bit of something for everyone. The artist list included Megan the Stallion, Shania Twain, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift and Avicii, to name a few.”
– David Piper, Senior AI Infrastructure Engineer
“Davi, a newly hired team member who wouldn’t even officially start until the following week, came to a few events and met the team, and boy was his theatrical rendition of Pi a sight to behold.”
– Steven Miller, Marketing Manager
That’s a Wrap on EnsoData’s 2021 Team Week!
Before we sign off, our whole team wanted to share a thank you to the amazing coordinator of this whole event, our own, Xica Wiltgen. The amazing week of activities was by no means an easy project to champion, and Xica absolutely knocked it out of the park. Thank you, Xica, and to those joining the EnsoData team in the future, we’ll see you at Team Week 2022!