California’s Napa Valley produces some of the finest wine in the world. Its rare climate, with warm and dry days followed by nights that cool off as the fog covers the ground, creates an ideal setting for growing what locals call “bottled poetry.”

That spirit of growth and craftsmanship also made Napa an ideal location for the latest Treble agency summit. Many agencies hold retreats for in-person bonding and professional development, but Treble puts a special emphasis on personal connections that allow the team to flourish together.

After meeting up in San Francisco, the team headed north to Calistoga for a week of activities designed to build more meaningful, closer connections and allow the team a bit of relaxation from one of the most stressful careers.

“When I joined Treble during the pandemic, I never imagined that in two years we would have scaled our team times three, let alone celebrate our success in one of the most sought-after locations in the world,” said Sarah Armstrong, senior account executive. “Napa Valley was truly a bucket list experience, and I am so thankful Treble gave me this opportunity.”

Between the breezy California weather (a pleasant change for our Austin folks) and the beautiful Napa landscape, we discovered a regenerative opportunity to learn more about what makes them work best as a cohesive team, how to effectively communicate with and support each other, and how individual personal interests and histories impact team relationships. 

“​​The 2022 Treble agency summit was such a wonderful time with the whole team,” said Lindsly Penny, account executive. “We struck the perfect balance between enjoying the beautiful California weather, food and wine while also learning more about our industry, best practices for working as a cohesive team and how to grow our careers.”

During a day devoted to professional development, Dave Collins, founder and CEO of the interactive training company Oak and Reeds, worked with us to build upon the ideas of striving for failure and supporting your colleagues.

“The training and presentation provided by Dave Collins of Oak and Reeds on Tuesday were superb,” said Mike Cronin, senior media and content strategist. “Leading with the concept of striving for failure, then releasing that failure by holding onto only the lesson learned from the mistake is among my primary practices now.”

A highlight from Collins’ program was his “Powerpoint from Hell” exercise. The team took turns presenting a four-slide presentation they had never seen, on a topic the agency had chosen seconds before, with completely unrelated graphics and photos on each slide. The presentations were entertaining and clever. It taught us how to cohesively think on the fly and support one another to deduce a compelling story under pressure. These skills are especially important in external communications when thrown an unexpected question or statement. 

“Getting to learn better proactive listening skills from the Oak and Reed workshop was really eye-opening,” said Maddie Daily, senior account executive. “I thought I was a pretty good listener, but really focusing on just listening and not reacting opened my eyes to a new level of connection that can be used with colleagues, clients, editors and in my personal life.”

Another aspect of Collins’ programming included “yes, and…” exercises: the process of validating a colleague or client’s idea and building upon it rather than shutting it down.

“Using the concept of “yes, and…” throughout that day helped us work with each other without being asked or told,” said Cronin. “The latter manifested itself during the pitch-competition exercise we did after lunch. I noticed that my teammates — Caroline, Lindsly and Maddie — and I organically did what needed to be done to complete the task and do it well.”

The pitch competition was a chance for us to work together in small groups to construct an exciting pitch that could be utilized for a variety of our clients. This, along with another exercise on developing effective client communications surrounding product launch announcements, built upon the ideas of striving for failure and “yes, and…”

“These exercises underscored one of my favorite things about Treble,” said Cronin. “Once someone identifies a task that needs completing, that person simply does it — whether or not it’s within his or her actual job responsibilities. This is a sign of a healthy, selfless workplace that focuses on execution rather than individual recognition.”

When we weren’t busy building our communication and leadership skills, we were spending time bonding through new and exciting experiences. While Treble is an integrated team that works in constant collaboration, a primary goal of the summit was for the team to better connect on a personal level. Everyone shared an “I am from…” poem. We learned about one another’s partners, pets, hometowns and hobbies, which made conversations at dinners and wine tastings all the more fruitful. 

Treble believes in wellness as a main pillar of work. So supplementing professional development with delicious meals, yoga classes, dips in the resort pool and wine tastings was a must during the summit. 

“The Treble team is a really special one, and this trip made that even more obvious!” said Penny.

“We learned how to be better communicators through team building exercises, we learned personal things about each other that make us who we are and last, but certainly not least, we learned the intricacies of winemaking,” said Armstrong. Our team grew closer through this shared experience, and I believe that will reflect in the work we will produce from here on out.”