The last time the entire Pritikin ICR team gathered in-person was in early 2020 – just before the world essentially shut down in response to COVID-19. Since then, so much has changed within our organization! We brought innovative programs to market, expanded to more than 100 licensed facilities, and welcomed eight brand-new faces to the team. Collaborative video calls happen across our departments on a daily basis, so we share plenty of “face time.” However, all of our recently hired employees live outside of the St. Louis area, which means that until last week, they had never met their co-workers in-person. With this in mind, and to maximize our time together, last week’s events focused on both professional development and teambuilding.
The bulk of our time together was devoted to a series of professional development sessions. Led by innovator and strategist Larry Zarin, the group was challenged to communicate more effectively, and to take a critical look at our organization and its offerings. All were encouraged to share their concerns, celebrate areas where we excel, and brainstorm solutions for improvement opportunities.
Small group discussions brought employees from different departments together and helped to reinforce the spirit of collaboration. Each breakout group outlined strategies for addressing specific areas we can (and will!) improve upon and, in the weeks ahead, we will take these strategies a step further through concrete tactics and action items. Our biggest takeaway at conclusion of the two-day session? The greatest strength of Pritikin ICR is our solution-driven team! Each of our employees care about what they do and are collectively committed to improving the lives of cardiac rehab patients.
Not only are our co-workers dedicated employees, but they truly enjoy each other's company. After each day of professional development, the Pritikin ICR team gathered for a casual dinner. On our second day, this went beyond a shared meal at a restaurant: the group met at the Kitchen Conservatory where they divided into two competing teams, each paired with a locally renowned chef.
These talented chefs helped each team prepare a full four-course meal to present to a panel of judges, similar to the show Iron Chef. And as in the popular cooking competition, both teams were given a mystery ingredient and guidance for keeping each dish as Pritikin-friendly as possible. The winning team (“Team Salmon”) focused their meal around smoked salmon, with clever veggie-centric accompaniments, while the runners-up (“Team Tofu”) created a Thai-inspired spread featuring Crab Rangoon and Pad Thai.
To cap off the week, the Pritikin ICR team ventured to Rhineland, Missouri where we enjoyed a day in the great outdoors, made all the better by fantastic food and amazing company.
If there is one conclusion we all reached after last week’s events, it’s that here at Pritikin ICR, we hire big hearts. Every single person on our nationwide team (scattered from Nevada to New Hampshire!) is passionate about improving the lives of patients, eager to lend a helping hand, and excited to plan for our continued growth. We are grateful to have shared a meaningful and memorable week together, and we hope to make these in-person meetings an annual tradition!