The number loomed in isolation on the power point slide as 51 Fluency team members ruminated to make the connection. Fluency Co-Founder / CEO, Mike Lane, gladly allowed the audience enough time to shout their enthusiastic calculations, however none of them quite hit the mark.
What could 944 possibly represent–if not the hundreds of hopeful answers just hurled toward the front of the room?
Then, with a wry smile, Mike stated…“944. This is the number of days that have passed since this company was last together in-person.” A shared look of surprise quickly spread across all of our faces as if to collectively shout, “Has it really been that long!?” Perhaps more impactful was that 944 days ago, Fluency had 14 team members.
As one can only imagine, 2.5863 years is an absolute marathon of time in the Tech world. Over that period, Fluency navigated the unknown waters of a global pandemic, committed itself to being a remote first company, and consciously built a culture through proactive connection at the human level (albeit in a digital world.) Now, we were finally going to be “back together again.”
This gathering was anticipated by all as if it were a long-awaited vacation with the best of friends—and Burlington, VT did not disappoint in providing the backdrop. As if ordered from an expertly curated menu, the weather in the Green Mountain State came out to impress. While colleagues from all 13 states arrived, our perch aside Lake Champlain yielded the perfect catalyst to one of the most significant weeks in our 5-year history.
This was our moment–and that moment was to be seized.
Four full days of activities were planned to offer a cross section of fun, engagement, and most importantly the continuation of fortifying our bond as a team. Sessions spanned everything from organizational updates, team-level collaboration, to our very own ‘Fluency Hackathon’ where groups pondered and solved dynamic business scenarios related to our Technology and Industry. To keep the groups in the right headspace, they were spread out across a number of interesting work spaces amongst Burlington’s robust start-up scene. Of the more nostalgic destinations was VCET, where our four founders committed themselves to making the Fluency dream, a reality. The week rounded out on the docks overlooking Burlington Bay where the stunning sunset brought upon the bittersweet realization that all good things must come to an end...or at least to a point where we all have to go home. The jury is still out whether it was the sun in our eyes, or tears, when the speeches commenced.
In reflection, Fluency Fest transcended even our highest anticipations and expectations. It brought with it an immense level of pride, alignment, and learning that will continue to fuel our organizational evolution for years to come. Of the most valuable lessons? Our world is simply different now. The idea that achievement is only possible via in-person collaboration and proximity is no longer. A new idea has emerged, and it continues to rise on the back of one very foundational concept…humans do what they do best when they are energized, creative, and supporting one another. The reality is that whether that is done in-person, or through a computer screen doesn’t make THE difference.
If being together in-person confirmed anything, it was that Fluency continues to be a Dream fueled by the Belief of the incredible people that work here…and that is all that we could have ever asked for.
Until next time.