The Power of Getting Away: Our Annual Founders Retreat

The real estate ecosystem is all about creating something new. We start with buildings that have outlived their usefulness or locations that have been overlooked, and transform them into something brand new. And, of course, there’s always a new challenge to be faced – new regulations, new tariffs, new partners to bring on board. 

When your business is always focused on the new, there is something to be said about having a strong, consistent foundation and long-term relationships to keep you grounded. At Cadence, not only have most of our team members been with us from the beginning (some of them were interns back then), but we are lucky to maintain a core group of California advisors that have worked with the company for more than 15 years. Every year, we bring that group together for a two-day working retreat in Southworth, Washington—a remote outpost on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. The journey takes commitment, but truly feels like a world apart – after a flight, drive, ferry ride and walk, it’s hard to not be in retreat mode. The view over the Puget Sound and endless meals catered by BriarLane. help, too. 

This annual excursion offers a healthy mix of work and play. With our offices and usual responsibilities left far behind, our team has a chance to reflect, refocus and reconnect.

We gather together to plan for the present and the future, aided by 15 years of history. We celebrate our successes, debate the best way to address our challenges, and anticipate what lies ahead. These discussions happen in formal asset meetings, over rounds at the legendary Chamber Bay golf links, and in the Adirondack chairs on the deck, watching for dolphins. And many of our best ideas happen around the dining table. We spent one notable afternoon around the table at Earthen Bistro, where Amber Jack ceviche, octopus bisque, porcini pappardelle and sage-roasted lamb rack helped inspire our creativity.  

While we arrived by our retreat plans and location by luck and good instincts, it fits all of the best practices recommended by business experts. Those meals around the table are proven to increase collaboration and teamwork, something that’s especially important for our far-flung team. Getting away from the office and into nature bring benefits that go well beyond teambuilding. It increases creativity, decreases stress, and opens the door to big new ideas before the logistical challenges get in the way. The informal nature of the retreat allows for informal meetings and serendipitous encounters—it’s much better than an open office for garnering those benefits. Being surrounded by nature and getting some exercise increase focus and creativity.  As Fortune put it, “breaks are good for business.” 

With just 48 hours together, our annual retreat ensures that our business foundation is as solid as our projects, and we’re ready to get back to the business of creating something new.