Mentionlytics First Team Retreat

First-ever Team Retreat: From Climbing Rocks to Diving into New Ideas

As a fully remote-working company from day one, we didn’t have the chance to meet in person altogether,

As a fully remote-working company from day one, we didn’t have the chance to meet in person all together, until October 2023, when our first-ever team retreat took place in Ierapetra, Crete, Greece.

Our team from all over the world got together to spend five days under the Greek sun and by the sea, getting to know each other better, having fun, and brainstorming new ideas about the Mentionlytics platform.

And we had a blast! But let’s start from the beginning.

The Idea Behind

To be honest, the idea of a retreat had been in the minds of our founding team for a few years. So, this summer we decided to quit thinking and start planning.

First, we set the date for early October, to avoid the heatwaves of summer in the Mediterranean and subsequently the tourist crowds.

Now, you may think that October isn’t the best time to plan a trip because of the unstable weather but we picked Ierapetra as the place of our retreat, which is considered the sunniest town in Europe, with an average temperature of 20°C. There, it’s summer until November!

However, there was another important reason why Ierapetra was chosen for our retreat. It’s where Mentionlytics was born! Our founding members are all locals. They know this little town better than anyone and they wanted to give us a tour of where our company had taken its first steps.

The Place

Ierapetra offers various options for accommodation but we were looking for something specific. A comfortable, spacious place near the sea, with enough room inside and outside for our team to hang out, have fun, and work together.

And we found it! We booked a beautiful seaside villa in Ferma, just outside the scenic Ierapetra, with two pools and minimal design.

The villa served as our headquarters for hanging out and doing our business meetings. It also provided us access to a private, astonishing beach, which we could enjoy whenever we wanted to.

Seaside villa in Ferma where Mentionlytics team members stayed

The People

Nineteen members of our team, old, new — and even brand new — flew or drove to Ieraperta to meet in person for the first time. Some were exactly as we expected them to be, and some were a true surprise.

Mentionlytics team 2023

You see, we’re great supporters of remote working because of all the flexibility it offers but human connection is tough to achieve through a few Slack meetings and messages.

The Activities

The thing is, we had a good schedule. Not too packed, not too loose.

In fact, before starting to organize our activities, we shared an exploratory questionnaire with the whole team to get some ideas of what our members wanted to do during the retreat and inform us about their restrictions.

We started by immersing ourselves in the local culture, with a tour of the old town of Ierapetra. We walked through the alleys and visited a historic castle.

We took many photos there but the following is one of our favorites!

Mentionlytics team in Ierapetra

To continue, the highlight was hiking the Sarakina Gorge.

Sarakina Gorge is located a few kilometers away from our villa, so it was a great chance for us to enjoy a physical, team bonding activity to build trust among us and create memories together.

We hiked the most impressive part of the gorge. We helped each other climb the rocks. We flew a drone and took majestic pictures. We showed the different aspects of our personalities to get to know each other in a deeper, more personal way.

Mentionlytics team hiking Sarakina gorge

But with the sea so close, we couldn’t resist taking a dive in the afternoon. So, we drove all the way to Myrtos village, to enjoy the beautiful beach there.

Also, we had plenty of time to explore some Cretan villages and get some calming vibes. We had the chance to explore Stavrochori up in the mountains, Mythoi near the gorge, and Makris Gialos for a delicious after-dinner ice cream!

Mentionlytics team in Makri Gialos

The Food

As we’re on the subject, we have to confess that we ate way too much! Crete is a famous island for its delicious cuisine, and our hosts, a.k.a. the founding team of Mentionlytics, had picked the most fantastic places for us to have our dinner every evening.

From zucchini balls and stuffed vine leaves to grilled goats, mizithropita (the famous Cretan cheese pie), loukoumades, and gamopilafo (a traditional wedding risotto) we had the chance to taste the fresher, purest, local dishes made with love, accompanied with a few shots of raki (the traditional Cretan home-made spirit).

Eating in Crete

And we can’t miss mentioning a special tutorial we had on how to eat fried snails as a true Cretan! That was for the daring ones and we did pretty well!

Snails in Crete

Except for eating, which was a big part of our day, we also worked a lot!

The Business Part

Our team retreat wasn’t just for team bonding activities and having a good time.

It was also for improving Mentionlytics, the platform itself, and our processes to become better at what we do — offering top-quality, but affordable, social listening services to every business out there.

Welcome to retreat

It was important for us to see how we could work together for the first time, that’s why we organized the retreat to be five days. Two for fun, two for work, and one to say goodbye.

So, each of us presented their work in front of the whole team and showcased how we can reinforce the cross-team collaborations in our everyday work.

We learned what the others do exactly and how we contribute to our main goal. And we improved the alignment between all teams.

Mentionlytics - introducing teams work

Moreover, we had several workshops that helped us see things from different perspectives.

Mentionlytics - teams presentations

Also, we did a lot of brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas for new features for our platform.

Mentionlytics team brainstorming

At the end of the day, our retreat was productive and fruitful. And to make the next one even better we shared another questionnaire with our team a couple of days later, so we could rate our experience, report any issues, and offer recommendations and ideas.

Looking Forward to the Next One

To wrap it up, we can safely say that this retreat brought us closer.

Our activities — fun and business — built confidence among us and bonded us together as a strong team. We truly look forward to our next team retreat, wherever it takes place, to get together again and enjoy memorable moments.

Mentionlytics team retreat

Maira Volitaki

About Maira Volitaki

Just a content manager here who loves researching and writing about all things marketing. But when off-duty, you’ll find me lost in a mystery book or binge-watching TV shows... or petting the nearest dog! 🐶 Feel free to drop me a line on LinkedIn.