October, the ColorStack team gathered in Nashville, TN for an in-person retreat. The event marked many firsts for the organization: the first time the entire team met in person, the first time ColorStack held a retreat in the South, and for many teammates, their first time sampling Tennessee barbecue. The main objectives of the event were to collaborate on a variety of ColorStack’s strategic projects, engage with community members in the area, and celebrate the tight-knit working culture that has bloomed at the organization since its inception in 2020.
On the collaborative work front, ColorStack team members used the in-person time to tackle a variety of projects from Stacked Up Summit planning to onboarding ColorStack’s newest team member, Nyasha. Communications and Marketing Manager, Brittany Sharnez, describes the immense value of gathering together: “it’s a lot easier to pull up a chair next to somebody and collaborate with them on something than it can be sometimes, having to set up a zoom meeting.”
Amid planning and career development sessions, the team organized a meetup with Black and Latinx computer science students in the area. Though the event was held at Vanderbilt, students from other colleges in the city like Fisk University and Tennessee State University attended the event as well. ColorStack founder and CEO, Jehron Petty, welcomed the crowd and provided an overview of the organization's goals and resources. At the end of the event, students had the opportunity to mingle with the entire team, creating lasting professional and personal connections.
“Our retreats are where our core values really come to life all at once,” says Jehron. Given that ColorStack is an organization that is centered around building strong communities for students, it comes as no surprise that there was quite a bit of team building that occurred during the Nashville retreat. Attendees went to a variety of restaurants, hung out together at the house and played board games, and even made a visit to an arcade. All of this was made possible by a rented mini-van that Jehon affectionately called The Stackmobile.
While the fall retreat was successful in preparing ColorStack for the year ahead, it also gave team members the opportunity to reflect on the state of the organization––how it started and what it has achieved so far. As ColorStack operations manager, Caleb Lewis, aptly says, “my favorite aspect of retreats are that they serve as watermarks for the growth of the team. They provide a moment for me to look around and see who is new, who’s been here for a while, and who’s gone on to do great things.” With a team that is stronger than ever, a plan for the year ahead, and an ever growing in-person presence on college campuses, ColorStack is geared to do great things indeed.