2019 Ninjas Strategic Retreat

We don’t have a secret lair, yet. But if we did, I like to think it would resemble the Thundercats lair (which, awesomely, people are recreating in Minecraft). Instead, we make do with cool AirBnB rentals that have plenty of space to write, learn, and debate, along with a close proximity to excellent food.

This year, our retreat was in Chicago. While not exactly a tropical paradise this time of year, we lucked into some decent weather and were able to get some exercise walking around this awesome city. I am partial to the amazing architecture of the downtown branch of the Chicago Public Library.

Table with sticky notes from planning activities, worksheets, a laptop, and coffee cups.

Our rental was a 4-story townhouse, which worked out very well. We had a kitchen and break area on one floor, bedrooms on another, and our workspace at the top level, with a patio, good tables, and good lighting.

Some of the key takeaways from our team:

One of our core values is making positive, measurable change in the world through education. My biggest takeaway from our strategic retreat was how we can make a much larger impact with our charity fund.

It’s exciting to think of the opportunities we have to play a strategic role in making the world a better place! With a deep collective knowledge and breadth of experience, our team will be bringing some exciting new projects to life in 2020.


Sarah Mercier


I absolutely love getting together with smart people to learn and share experiences and brainstorm new ideas. This weekend was full of challenging reflection and planning activities while also making time for relaxation and team-building.

Creating space and time for this group to gather and learn is critical for the success of our business.

This year’s retreat was expertly facilitated by Teresa, and we came away with a clear set of goals for 2020 and beyond.


Brian Dusablon


Everyone in the group was highly engaged and did a great job of setting realistic priorities for the upcoming year.


Teresa Dussault

Director of Operations

A key takeaway for me was that there is no substitute for face-to-face time. This weekend represented the first time that the four of us were together in person.

The retreat was great, with no distractions, allowing us to set our path forward. We learned a lot about where we all want to head, and there was an amazing amount of alignment in our visions.

We could not have asked for a better facilitator in Teresa, who lead us through some great activities. I am energized to move forward and get us all to the end goals we are looking for.


Sean Putman


Our Director of Operations, Teresa Dussault, planned and facilitated this retreat. She reiterated how important it is to allow enough discussion time and not overpack an agenda for an event like this to be successful.

We learned a lot from our open discussions this year, including some key alignment we didn’t know we had around some new product concepts.

One big takeaway from this strategic retreat for everyone is that we need to meet more often. We decided to hold these retreats twice a year starting in 2020 so we can be more responsive to our clients and our internal passions and creativity!

Four Learning Ninjas sitting at a table - from left to right: Sarah Mercier, Teresa Dussault, Sean Putman, and Brian Dusablon.
Happy Learning Ninjas
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