Although we were only there for a few days, the preparation spans the better part of a year to pull Access’ Annual Summit together. After all the planning that went into it, those few days in sunny Orlando came and went and, before we knew it, we were on our way back to wintery Philadelphia. And whoa! What a week it was.
For the past three years, our team has planned and hosted up to 200 leaders from Access Information Management at this yearly event. Team Members come from all over the US and South America, including Hawaii, Costa Rica, Brazil, Panama, and Trinidad, energized and ready to go. It’s a humbling and inspiring experience to see a team that has fueled so much growth across the Americas come together to reflect, learn and grow.
This event was incredibly rewarding on multiple levels. Not only were we able to make a tangible difference for hungry youths around the world, but the bonds of each team seemed to grow stronger as everyone worked together for a greater good.
One of the highlights of our week came through the collaboration with the incredible people at Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), a wonderful charity that provides nutritionally complete meals to malnourished children throughout the world. On Wednesday night, the Access team gathered together at their Orlando facility, transforming the records center into a factory for a few hours. Under the guidance of the FMSC staff, Access Team Members split into small groups to package meals for children in need. Everyone dove into this activity head first, with each team striving to be the most productive. Fueled by a competitive spirit and a desire to do some good, we were able to produce over 50,000 meals! That equates to a year's supply of food for 149 children who otherwise wouldn't be sure where their next meal was coming from.
This event was incredibly rewarding on multiple levels. Not only were we able to make a tangible difference for hungry youths around the world, but the bonds of each team seemed to grow stronger as everyone worked together for a greater good. We had named teams based on potential destinations for the food, for example Kenya, but we had no idea the teams would come up with cheers, “KENNNYYYAAA BELIVE IT!?” Seeing the genuine smiles on each face throughout the event proved that this experience was one of the best investments of time that we all could have made together.
The rest of the week flew by, but before we could head home, there was still one last event to attend: Access’ Annual Awards Celebration at the Orlando House of Blues. We took over the whole darn place to reflect, laugh, and enjoy one another’s company. Live music filled the air, there were drinks and food aplenty, and everyone gathered together one last time to relax and unwind after a fast-paced week.
After dinner, we were treated to a performance by the Blues Brothers themselves, Jake and Elwood. Then it was time for the awards. Throughout 2016, each and every person there had been deeply invested, working hard to achieve the very best results possible. Access’ CEO, Rob Alston, took the stage, handing out each award individually and taking a moment to recognize the contributions of employees from across the country. It was heartwarming to see 200 people come together to applaud one another’s accomplishments, and the entire evening was surrounded with a strong esprit de corps.
After taking some time to decompress and recap the week, it became clear to all of us how successful the entire event was. An incredible amount of planning went into ensuring that everything progressed smoothly, but this preparation proved to be invaluable. For a large, decentralized business like Access, undertakings like the Summit are extremely important, as they allow individuals to put faces to names, build relationships, and drive home the core values of the organization. The goal was for the individuals who attended to be able to carry what they took from the summit back to their branches so that the entire company can ride the positive momentum all the way through 2017. We’re proud to say that everyone seemed to leave Orlando with a renewed sense of unity, and with a clear and common vision for the future.