Building bonds: A founder’s take on our annual team retreat

Sunset in Barcelona

Since Resource Guru launched in 2012, our mission has always been crystal clear—to be a magical and insightful guru, helping teams do their best work in a happier, healthier way.

Even back then, we had work-life balance as one of our core values. And more than a decade later, 100% of employees (in our Q2 survey) agreed that this is a core value we truly live up to. 

So when we met in Barcelona at the beginning of October for our fifth annual team retreat, or Guru Gathering as we call them, the modus operandi came naturally.

To work hard and play even harder—together—as a team.

The birth of our Guru Gatherings

Our inaugural Guru Gathering took place six years ago in London with a close-knit team of eight, bonding through fear and panic, in an escape room. Back then, while equally focused on building the best resource management tool out there, our gatherings were more of a casual meetup to have some fun together.

Fast forward to this year, 21 of us came together for a three-day extravaganza in the heart of Barcelona (aka ‘funk-elona!’). We ate, we drank, we laughed, learned, and, as always, found new ways to connect.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a big shout-out to Meredith (people ops and general wrangler of everyone—founders included) for organizing the entire event. 

Her meticulous planning and attention to detail were nothing short of astonishing—booking hotels and restaurants, ensuring swag was in everyone’s rooms, organizing workspace with all the equipment and materials, scheduling activities, booking taxis, boats, and bands. The list just goes on.

She also collaborated with a local designer to give everyone a beautiful handmade piece of ceramic as a memento—such a nice touch. 😍 

End result? The entire gathering ran like clockwork. Safe to say, we’ve come a long way since our first gathering in London back in the day.

Setting sail together

Resource Guru's team on a boat on the Mediterranean.

Team Guru on the Mediterranean.

Resource Guru has been fully remote since day one, and there’s no doubt working this way has many advantages that we love. But, there’s nothing that can replace the impact of face-to-face interactions.

Our gatherings are more than just fun and games; they’re a celebration of our company culture, an opportunity for us to genuinely understand one another beyond the more transactional day-to-day work calls. Deeper, more personal conversations are able to happen organically where we can connect on a completely different level. Who knew that our content marketer, Jo, has such a crush on Nicholas Cage?! (More on this in our upcoming team retreat recap post.)  

These gatherings serve as an annual reminder of why we do what we do. When I saw our team dancing together on a boat serenaded by our own flamenco band, united in spirit and purpose, I thought, “Wow! We’ve created this really cool culture, that’s taken on a life of its own.”

And that’s the thing. These gatherings create the conditions for ideas to spark. Sparks that inject our team with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm.

Lessons learned

Resource Guru's Product team delivers their team presentation.

Renee and Mike delivered their first-ever team presentation to a resounding round of applause.

While our last gathering in Cape Town set a high bar in terms of location, our time in Barcelona was more purpose-driven. We experienced thoughtful presentations from across the team, collaboratively formulated cross-functional strategies, and, most importantly, aligned our efforts toward a unified company direction.

Our team leads gave some pretty awesome talks. For some, it was their first time presenting to the company and they did just great. Their passion and professionalism were truly inspiring, as was the support and encouragement from everyone else. (Warm fuzzy glow just thinking about it!)

Our engineering team had a break-out session to discuss how they could increase the cadence of feature releases. The result? To fully embrace “Continuous Delivery,” a development strategy that involves producing software in short cycles, ensuring that it can be reliably released at any time. We’re all excited to see this taking shape over the following weeks.

With a clearer vision and established strategic pillars in place, we’re excited about the road ahead. We have a load of exciting features lined up, and the team can’t wait to get started.

As a founder, I find these gatherings a good time to stop and reflect and see how far we’ve come. All of us are on a journey of self-improvement and constantly seeking to do things in a smarter wayultimately so we can deliver more value to our customers.

Looking ahead

Barcelona, 80°F in October, with its vibrant streets meandering through the Gothic Quarter, bustling with bars serving delicious tapas, was the perfect location for this year’s Gathering.

As we continue our journey, every lesson learned and memory made during this retreat will undoubtedly fuel our collective passion and drive.

Until next year my fellow Gurus—let’s continue making magic together! ✨