Respondent Retreat 2022: Exploring the Best of Austin

With a completely distributed team, Respondent's 2022 retreat was a time to build connection and align around empowering great research.

As an entirely distributed team since 2017, Respondent teammates enjoy the flexibility of collaborating remotely from anywhere in the world. As a result, our 2019 and early 2020 retreats offered the opportunity to connect in person, strengthen our team vision, and – most importantly – to have a fun time together! 

After a full pandemic year-and-a-half of embracing Slack and Zoom, we reunited stronger than ever in Austin, Texas, in 2022! We packed our itinerary with motivating business presentations, company vision breakdowns, fantastic dining experiences, and time to belt out a few high notes together at a local karaoke bar! 

Because our retreats provide a crucial opportunity to connect in person, we focused on three main goals:

  1. Create meaningful bonds across departments 
  2. Align everyone around our company's vision and goals 
  3. Reinforce our team spirit 

The week started with our very international team traveling to Austin from across the United States, Canada, and Australia – we're proud of bringing together the best talent from all over!


While the team moseyed on in, we explored and settled into one-of-a-kind lodgings at Hotel Magdalena, located in the heart of Austin's trendy South Congress neighborhood. Our folksy hotel's color palette drew inspiration from the natural Texas landscape, blending in modern pops of neons throughout its art-infused rooms and lavish amenities.  


It was the first time many of us had met in person, and because we had learned to trust each other while working together online, conversation and laughter came quickly over our first-night dinner, solidifying our digital connections into real-world camaraderie. 

On our second day, our team awoke to generous helpings of a catered breakfast with all the fixings. As we enjoyed a Tex-Mex-inspired breakfast spread, Jack Pratten, our CEO, kicked off our first company presentation of the morning. 

Jack led our discussion of Respondent's 2021 and 2022 growth, highlighting successes in participant growth and in growing and onboarding new researchers to our industry-leading research recruiting platform. We also celebrated our talented team's intentional and steady growth – you could be our next addition!

After celebrating our wins, we began looking forward, covering Respondent's vision and strategy for the coming year. Jack engaged us in our mission to build the best user-recruitment platform for B2B research, walking us through plans for innovating the B2B market research space, operating with a researcher-centric focus, and outsizing research project value for both participants and researchers!     

Next to the stage was Brandon Bidlack, Head of Business Operations, who provided a deep exploration of company objectives and key results (OKRs). 

We broke into teams to identify how the objectives of our individual departments – from Engineering to People Operations – align toward and meaningfully impact critical metrics of a successful user journey. No matter our department or title, we each directly improve the participant and researcher experience on our platform! We left the conference room feeling confident and motivated.

After wrapping up a productive morning of presentations, our team got ready for the runway, posing for professionally shot individual, group, and company photos – lookin' sharp!  


Enjoying Austin Together

The remainder of the trip focused on relationship and team building. Our third and fourth days were packed with fun, unforgettable activities throughout Austin, with each department having crafted its own custom itinerary, which included:  

  • Retail Therapy: Vintage and Local Steals! - People Operations scoured the South Congress neighborhood for the snazziest clothing finds. Was it a Toot or Boot? You decide! 
  • Barton Creek Greenbelt Hike & Swim! Our Engineering team didn't shy away from roughin' it up in the great outdoors, hiking the 14-mile, 22.5-kilometer trail. Their reward? A dive in the swimmin' hole! 
  • Legos, Billiards, and Haunted Houses – Oh my! - Our Customer Success and Support Teams traveled far and wide throughout Austin, making stops at the LEGO Store, haunted houses, food trucks for local grub, and billiard rooms for a laidback, satisfying afternoon of food, friends, and fun!   
  • Sushi 101: The Art of the Roll - The Marketing Team rolled up their sleeves, donned an apron, and learned the techniques of the sushi roll. The final verdict? DELICIOUS!
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat: Paddle-board the Colorado River – Our adventurous teammates, keen to escape the Texas heat, cooled down along the Colorado River. The cross-town waterway snakes through the city and offers spectacular views of our Austin home! 


Closing Thoughts 

As a data-driven team, we bring the data to back up our claims: we collected our team's feedback to measure the retreat's success. For example, when asked if the retreat helped them build stronger relationships with their co-workers, and a whopping 98% of participants responded favorably!

We love mixed-methods research, so several teammates offered to share testimonials about their experience. 

Meeting everyone on the team and in the company was a fun experience. It was great to hear from Jack and Brandon and get that insight into what we are working on and have the rest of the week to hang out and explore the city. 10/10: would recommend! 

Justin Lance, Customer Support Specialist


I enjoyed getting to know and share with my teammates – what our lives are like, what we get excited about, and how we approach problem-solving – outside of directly work-related issues or projects. There's much to value about water cooler conversations with teammates. They build connection and trust in ways that make our work together much more rewarding and fun. I was glad for the chance to have these in person. 

Renea Nielsen, Email Marketing Manager

Special kudos belong to the Respondent People Operations team, who organized fantastic accommodations, a full and fun schedule, and many great Texan food experiences. From Loro to Suerte and Maie Day steakhouse, our People Operations team organized a truly special (and tasty) trip. 


Read next