- In late October, capSpire’s North American annual retreat took place at a resort near the company headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- We’ve highlighted all the major takeaways of this event, including the growth that capSpire has planned.
- We believe that these opportunities for face-to-face connection and interaction play a more vital role than ever in building relationships, encouraging continuous learning, and maintaining culture.
This year, in late October, capSpire’s revered annual retreat returned in its full, pre-COVID form. Excited and motivated capSpirians from across North America gathered for a few days at a resort near company headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
For many, the retreat brought together colleagues who have known each other for a long time—it was like a reunion of old friends. For another sizable group, including our CEO Jim Kiser, it was their very first retreat in the U.S.—and these team members really got to experience firsthand what makes our company so special.
Each year, our two major retreats in the U.S. and Europe are our opportunities for everyone from across the organization to converge in a fun atmosphere off-site to interact face to face, learn about different roles and parts of the company, build relationships, reinforce our priorities, and reflect on the future direction of capSpire.
So, what exactly did we focus on? What key takeaways stood out?
Here are the highlights.
- Our people are the best in the industry.
In our complex, sophisticated business, we believe that capSpirians are exceptional for their talent, depth of experience, understanding of commodities markets, and extensive knowledge of the technology that serves these markets.
“I’ve spent 25 years in the software space—big software and big consulting experience, including at SAP and Deloitte. I think I’m qualified to say that capSpire has some of the most talented people in this space in the world,” Jim says. “A number of people on our team have been in this space since its inception and have been involved in developing the most widely used commodity trading and risk management (CTRM) systems. We know this industry inside out.”
In fact, one could say that many of capSpire’s people helped to create the CTRM industry as we know it today. This gives capSpire a huge advantage.
“Right now, our people, with their tools and capabilities, are able to deliver a high level of expertise anywhere in the world, across commodity classes. We have incredible potential to expand upon,” Jim adds.
What qualities do we associate with capSpirians and specifically look for when we’re adding to our team? Intellect, enthusiasm for the work, and pride in creating something special. We also want nice, non-egotistical people who respect each other and the diversity of our group—in other words, people who will uphold our cultural values.
- We like to have a lot of fun—and we’re just a bit competitive, too.
More characteristics that our people display are an appetite for fun and (healthy) competitiveness.
“After all, you can’t win in this business if you lack the drive to succeed,” Jim laughs.
During the retreat, our people demonstrated our shared competitive and fun-loving side during the team’s pickleball game and obstacle course activity. No boring team-building events here! We enjoy any opportunity to push ourselves and our team members to do our best and overcome a challenge.
- Measured growth is underway.
capSpire is already a global company, with approximately 200 people located in 18 countries encompassing Australia, Western Europe, North America, and India. Plans are in consideration to open an office in Calgary, Canada and Singapore in 2023. From our office hubs in major tech and commodity trading centers, we can serve nearly any country in the world.
Our growth is not yet done. We have plans to add additional professionals and expand into new markets around the world.
“The opportunity for transformational growth comes when market conditions, strategy, and execution all align. When we do these things, we will leapfrog our peers and scale to another level,” Jim says.
- Our well-planned growth strategy will guide us going forward.
We are not targeting growth for the sake of growth. For the last several months, we’ve assembled a careful strategy defining how we’re going to execute on our growth objectives and where we’ll concentrate our efforts. At our retreat, we shared this strategy with our people and discussed how it will impact them individually.
It’s an exciting time to be a capSpirian!
- We’ve built a business around our culture.
capSpire has long been celebrated and sought after for our unique, people-first culture. The workplace dynamic that we’ve worked hard to cultivate from the earliest days of our company is one of our strongest differentiators.
We plan to stay true to who we are as a company and never relinquish the values and vision that make us special.
- Opportunities for in-person connection are extremely valuable, especially for preserving our culture.
Talking strategy and sharing ideas are critical, and our retreat offers abundant opportunities for face-to-face conversations with team members from other locations who we may rarely—if ever—see otherwise. Although capSpire has always been a remote-friendly, tech-savvy, and forward-looking company, we also acknowledge the magic and spontaneity that happen when we meet in person can’t always be replicated via a computer screen.
“I’m a big believer in face-to-face time and in-person collaboration. I’m not saying that working five days in the office is the solution, because it’s not, but we need to strike a balance. We need to find opportunities to gather as a group or in teams, like our retreat, team meetings, client site visits, and other planned events to connect. There’s simply no replacement for spending time together in person to collaborate on opportunities and build relationships,” Jim says.
We believe this maintains our culture as we grow.
“One thing the retreat illuminates is just how many of us there are around the world and the quality of work we produce. A hazard of working remotely all the time is the risk of isolation. There is no replacement for the connections that happen in person, like learning via proximity, mentorship, and the harmonic moments that occur when teams are in a room together. Our retreat gives us an appreciation for how diverse capSpire is in size, skill set, and reach, and the company as a whole,” Jim continues.
- Two factors make company retreats successful.
From our experience hosting these events over the years, we have formed an opinion about the necessary ingredients for a successful company retreat. It all comes down to transparency and authenticity.
We always want to communicate as much as possible and share as much as we can with attendees, and allow them to learn as much as they want.
“We never want people to leave a retreat feeling like they didn’t get the whole story. We want our people to feel included, engaged, and empowered,” Jim says. “It’s also important to be yourself when you’re interacting with people so they get to know you as a person and understand your motivations and expectations. It puts people at ease.”
An example of how capSpire showcases these qualities is through our popular leadership panel discussion, which is led by a trusted facilitator. It gives leaders the platform to share multiple viewpoints and demonstrate end-to-end knowledge of the business while allowing employees to ask questions.
When you put it all together, our retreat embodies why capSpire is consistently selected as a best place to work.
Does this sound like the type of team you want to be part of? We encourage you to learn more about us and contact us with any questions. We hope to see you at the next retreat as a new capSpirian!