Recently the Women Who Code Portland leadership team had the delight of heading to the Oregon Coast for a weekend retreat. Removed from the perpetual whirl and hustle of city life, we got to take the time to know each other better, participate in leadership activities, and draft a plan for 2018 events!
We were so lucky to do this all at Paradise Found, a gorgeous, yet cozy house in Lincoln City overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Our stay was generously sponsored by Vacasa, a local company whose mission is to make the world of vacation rentals a simple, stress-free experience for both owners and guests.
Members of our team started arriving on Friday evening. Since it was an unspoken “no work night,” we sorted out room assignments and immediately started bonding over pizza and a viewing of Wonder Woman.
Already used to joining forces in other capacities, for us the whole retreat became a team effort. On Saturday morning, Alia (our Algorithms Lead) and Keeley (our Open Source Lead) teamed up to cook an incredible breakfast. Such homemade decadence! Things were off to a great start!
To get things rolling afterward, we began our Saturday activities with an #ApplaudHer ice-breaker. As an organization, the global Women Who Code network loves celebrating its members. Our weekly newsletter features #ApplaudHer shout-outs for members receiving promotions, obtaining a new job, speaking at conferences, writing a technical blog post, etc. We’re encouraging our leaders to become more comfortable speaking about their successes, which in turn will hopefully inspire our members to announce their achievements. Every leader put up several #ApplaudHer post-its, as well as stood up to share what they wrote with the group. A happy side effect was hearing the real impact Women Who Code has made in our leaders’ lives.
Much of Saturday was spent deep in discussion, covering the history as well as the future of the organization, our core values and how they play out on both a local and global level, and what types of events and programs we think our members would enjoy. Ultimately we were able to put together a 2018 calendar with potential events, event themes, and possible speakers.
One of the liveliest parts of the day was a roundtable activity wherein we discovered what each of our leaders wanted to accomplish in their role in the upcoming year, and what their vision was for our community. It was hugely inspiring to hear how much we all care about helping other women in excel in their careers! A few major themes that surfaced during this activity were a desire to see more events involving Data Science, more events for mid-senior level members, and more technical workshops in general.
After a full day of activities, brainstorming, and planning, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant and spent the rest of the night watching Hidden Figures (which is based on the true stories of African-American women working at NASA in the early years of the space program).
We had a blast at Paradise Found in Lincoln City! It was a great bonding experience for us and a productive weekend to find more ways to build our community. Thank you so much to Vacasa for sponsoring this lovely weekend for the Women Who Code Portland team! We are very excited for the year ahead!