Inside the Stanford Surgery All-Staff Retreat 2023

August 3, 2023

On Thursday, July 25th all Stanford Surgery staff were invited to participate in the first department retreat. The retreat was held at California’s Great America Amusement Park in Santa Clara and planned by a group of volunteers led by Clinical Anatomy Division Manager Julia Miranda.

“Great America seemed like the best place to do an offsite retreat that was close, fun, and easy!” said Miranda. “Everything was taken care of for us from the food, space needs, speaker arrangements, and activity logistics so we did not have to worry about a thing besides what ride to go on next!”

Over the course of the day, free time was balanced with organized team-building activities. After screaming on roller coasters and splashing in the water park all morning, staff members spent the afteroon racing across the park collecting photos and videos for an app-based scavenger hunt. Happy Hour was followed by guest speaker Anthony Poponi, who taught the group how to inject humor into the workplace.

“It was such a successful and wonderful day being all together and sharing laughs and learning,” said Stephanie Edelman, Vice Chair and Director of Finance and Administration.

In addition to park entrance, activiites, and food, each participant was gifted a special t-shirt to commemorate the day.

“I'd ordered swag before but had never done anything like this,” said Nicole Tomimatsu, one of the committee volunteers and an admin in the Division of General Surgery. ”The challenge was getting branding approval because there were some design limitations like colors and wording. It was a team effort to get them delivered and distributed on time!”

While retreats have been held previously, they were were confined to specific groups within the larger department. This was the first retreat in the history of the Department of Surgery that included all divisions and centers.

“It's important to be able to get everyone together—if only for a day—so that we can reconnect face-to-face with old colleagues, meet new ones and establish/re-establish that rapport that has made our collective staff team so strong and such a cohesive unit,” said Edelman. “We will definitely try to continue to hold an all-staff event each year.”

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