Field trip: Check out the awesome outings these 4 startups took this summer

by John Siegel
September 20, 2017

A lot gets said about the perks tech companies offer their employees, but while catered lunches and unlimited PTO are cool and all, you’ve still got to create a workplace where employees feel like more than just colleagues.

Some local companies are taking things a step further than your standard happy hour or team dinner. Check out the events these tech companies hosted recently.

 

With employees all over the country, Verifi decided to bring everyone together where it all started: Los Angeles. Hosting a literal all-hands meeting at a picturesque venue in Malibu, Verifi’s event soon became a full-on competition between departments, according to Rebecca Levy, senior HR generalist.

What was the occasion?

“This quarter Verifi had our ‘Summer Picnic’ meeting for the first time at Calamigos Ranch,” Levy said. “Employees from Las Vegas, Los Angeles and remote locations all across the U.S. and abroad made it out, and we had a blast. After the all-hands meeting was adjourned, we all emptied out into the reception area tucked in between the mountains for some traditional barbeque. The venue had a pond full of paddle boats, a giant grassy area filled with games, including a blow-up obstacle course, zorb racing and a dunk tank. We had a relay race immediately following lunch, in which the purple team (Operations) won. We raised $784 from people eagerly paying to dunk executives in the dunk tank and donated it to the ASPCA.”  

What went into planning the outing?

“Normally we do the picnic at the beach, but decided to change it up this year,”  Levy said. “We scouted the venue and brainstormed what kind of activities we should include, and we went out and bought swag for the different departments. Each business unit had a different team color shirt so there was a lot of friendly competition.”

What the team said:

“The picnic was pretty freakin awesome,” said Isnard Estriplet, risk and compliance analyst. “It was great to interact with other employees outside of the office, and the executive dunk tank made it all the better!”

“It was a great experience meeting my whole team and experiencing great food prior to the team activities at the summer picnic,” said Knowledge Walker, Relationship Manager. “My team is super cool, here’s to more great Verifi Kodak moments.”

 

RealtyMogul is known as one of the major real estate tech startups in the LA area, and the company also knows had to throw a bash. In honor of an important anniversary, the RealtyMogul team celebrated by grabbing their swimsuits and heading down to Santa Monica to enjoy some sun, suds and surf.

What was the occasion? 

“For the one year anniversary of our investment product, MogulREIT I, we decided to throw a party in Santa Monica with some tacos and surf,” said Brian Chui, director of public relations. “It was great to celebrate with the rest of the team, but the star of the event was by far the catered tacos.”

What the employees said:

“I spent years working at publicly traded corporations where casual events like beach day didn't exist,” said Michael Lindman, investor relations associate. “It’s great that RealtyMogul sponsors events like beach day and even better that people want to hang out with each other outside of the office.”

“Heading down to the beach on a Friday afternoon to soak up some cosmic rays, chow down on carne asada tacos and throw the pigskin around to celebrate our recent successes really embodies the youthful energy and camaraderie in the company,” said Dylan Marcoot, senior associate, commercial real estate.

 

Company-wide meetings are a part of conducting business. Recently, when planning the team’s next all-hands meeting, the co-founders of Venice-based The Bouqs Company opted to do something a little different: take the team on the road to visit one of the startup’s farm partners in San Diego.

What was the occasion?

“In lieu of our standard all-hands meeting last month, our co-founders John and JP decided to change things up a little and take us on an all company field trip, so everyone can see the inner workings of the farms and meet the farmers,” said PR manager Anna Wilhelmsen.

What went into planning the outing?

“We chartered a bus to take everyone down there for the day, and the farmers took us on a tour of the fields and the facilities, explained all of their amazing technology they use and introduced us to their hard working teams,” Wilhelmsen said. “We finished by having the farmers teach us how to arrange and package our own Bouqs, which was a lot of fun.”

What the team said:

“Visiting our farms and getting to know the people who grow our beautiful flowers is so rewarding, but getting to do that with our team made the day even more exciting,” said senior director of brand marketing Brigid Stevens. “The farms are always at the forefront of our minds every day in the office, but getting to spend time with our partners in the fields really brings why we do what we do to life.”

 

Founded way back in 1989, EY has established itself as a major player in the world of taxes, but the company has spent a lot of time and effort reinventing itself for the age of technology. Recently, the company’s LA team took a trip downtown to the Santee Education Complex to work with high school students.

What was the occasion?

“On Aug. 29, EY professionals went to mentor high school seniors at the Santee Education Complex as part of the EY College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) program, which helps to demystify the process of applying to and affording college, encouraging students who might not have considered applying for college to do so,” said Sara Nazarian, external communications leader for the Western Region. “The program assists students in navigating the college application and financial aid process, while providing them with access to academic resources and exposing them to the lifelong benefits of a higher education.”

What the team said:

“I love being a College MAP mentor and volunteering at the Santee Education Complex because the program allows students who may have slipped through the cracks (not for lack of ability or effort), the chance to truly achieve success,” said Daniel Levens-Lowery, Financial Services Assurance associate and EY College MAP volunteer. “What is truly meaningful to me is the opportunity to impact, not only the current class of seniors, but countless future generations through the power of mentorship and education.”

Any outings planned for the immediate future?

“Yes. As part of the College MAP program, EY professionals regularly volunteer at the Santee Education Complex once a month to work with each class of college-bound high school juniors and seniors,” she said. “Since the program launched in 2009, 1,000 College MAP Mentors have supported the college journeys of more than 1,100 underserved students.”

 

Responses were edited for clarity and length. Images via participating companies.

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