Movement Strategy Center’s Movement Infrastructure and Innovation Team Strategized, Bonded, and Built Culture During Their Recent Retreat

MSC’s MIIC team from left, Alejandra García Lezama, Daniel Parada, Sophie Lan Hou, Karmella Green, Andrea Granda

Movement Strategy Center’s (MSC) Movement Infrastructure and Innovation Team (MIIC) held a successful retreat at MSC’s offices in downtown Oakland. Spanning three days, the busy schedule fostered reflection, creative thinking, and team cohesion through a series of structured activities, discussions, and hands-on experiences.

Day 1: Looking Towards the Eclipse and the Future

The retreat kicked off with a warm welcome and breakfast that fostered a relaxed environment for team members to arrive and settle in to. After breakfast, Sophie Lan Hou, MSC’s Director of Innovation and Design Strategy, led an embodiment practice and icebreaker. The team, joined by MSC Executive Director Carla Dartis, was also reminded of everyone’s commonalities as they caught a glimpse of the partial solar eclipse passing over Oakland.

MSC Project Advisor Alejandra García Lezama peers through a MSC office window at the partial solar eclipse

Daniel Parada, MSC’s Director of Fiscal Sponsorship, and Lan Hou facilitated the rest of the morning which included looking back at MIIC’s recent successes and challenges and envisioning what MIIC could become in the next five years. To build upon this, Andrea Granda, MSC’s Chief Fiscal Sponsorship Officer, helped the team align MIIC’s strategy with MSC’s three year strategy. This involved discussing MIIC’s role in advancing MSC’s goals, and identifying the necessary capacities and collaborations required for success.

As the sun completed its dance with the moon and the eclipse reached its peak in the California sky, the team turned toward relationship building with a relaxing lunch followed by a ceramics activity centered around working on a potter’s wheel. This creative exercise at a local Oakland business not only provided a fun break, but helped in building stronger interpersonal connections within the team.

From left, Daniel Parada, Jo Boyer of Clay Clubhouse, Sophie Lan Hou, Andrea Granda, Alejandra García Lezama, Karmella Green

Day 2: Team Strategizing and Personal Development

After beginning with a shared breakfast, the team dedicated their day to reviewing and planning for the remainder of the fiscal year and assessing the progress towards achieving current goals. Then, working their way down from department to individual goals, the team dedicated time to developing personal goals, individual development plans, and professional development opportunities. This allowed everyone to reflect on their personal long-term career aspirations and how the MIIC team as a whole can support their growth.

Day 3: Team Dynamics and Operationalizing Agreements

For their final day the team spent the morning and early afternoon focused on team development. Everyone reflected on their personal values, strengths, and communication styles in an effort to enhance empathy, connection, and understanding among team members. Karmella Green, a Project Advisor on the MIIC team, loved how this time was “an opportunity to reflect and be vulnerable” and “really appreciated how all the team activities and facilitations were intentional and clarifying.”

MIIC Team members working on their pottery projects from left, Alejandra García Lezama, Sophie Lan Hou, Andrea Granda

The retreat concluded with operationalizing the team agreements established a few days prior. Through individual and collective reflections, they identified specific practices to uphold these agreements, discussed support needed, and planned what future accountability will look like. By doing this, they ensured all of the progress made during the retreat, from strategy development to team building, gets implemented into their everyday work at MSC, and subsequently further advances the movements of MSC as a whole.