Thoughts on my first MP&F retreat
August 2, 2012
If you were out and about downtown Nashville last Friday, you may have noticed a little more hustle and bustle than usual. Clusters of camera-happy people flocked around Music City, stopping every few blocks to snap a photo with an Elvis statue or to sing on stage at one of Broadway’s famous honky-tonks.
But these were no tourists. They were MP&F staffers, competing in a companywide scavenger hunt for our annual midyear retreat.
I didn’t know what to expect for my first MP&F retreat, though I had heard the legends of past years’ antics. It was a blast. I had fun with my colleagues, gained new insights into the firm’s history and culture, and learned what makes McNeely Pigott & Fox different from any other company. Mainly, though, the retreat reinforced what I already knew: that MP&F is a great place to work.
Last week, partner David Fox explained in his blog that retreats are a fundamental part of creating a great workplace. From telling stories to setting goals, every retreat activity helps strengthen our company culture. The scavenger hunt exemplified one of the tenets of that culture, which is teamwork.
Coming from a highly competitive environment like Vanderbilt, I’ll admit that it’s refreshing to know I’m working with my colleagues and not against them. Our greatest work, like a scavenger hunt, results from the collaboration and creativity of many. To jump-start ideas for pitches and rebranding campaigns, we invite the whole office to a brainstorm. And everything we write goes through a routing process: from copy editor to team leader, to partner, to proofreader.
Retreats are important for building camaraderie and boosting morale. Every once in a while, it’s necessary to recharge and just have fun – because great team chemistry on our end leads to a “win” on the client end.
Retreat was also a time to talk business strategy. Mark McNeely gave a financial overview of the year so far, and the partners answered anonymous questions that staffers had submitted throughout the week. As a new staff associate, I appreciated this effort to be transparent and to make sure we’re all on the same page with the company’s goals.
Most important, the retreat highlighted MP&F’s commitment to building strong relationships with our clients and our community. We spent the afternoon at LP Field, where we received an enthusiastic welcome from Don MacLachlan, the executive vice president of administration and facilities for the Tennessee Titans. Don greeted several of the partners with bear hugs, as longtime friends would do. He talked about his history working with MP&F, occasionally turning to Mike Pigott to ask, “Isn’t that right, Bro Pigott?”
Later, we watched a video featuring clients, former employees and prominent Nashville leaders – all wishing MP&F a happy 25th anniversary. At that moment, I felt proud to be associated with a company that has earned the respect of so many and has shaped Nashville into the city it is today. I realized that relationships are at the heart of what we do and why we have been so successful over the past 25 years.
And that’s why I know I’m at the right place.