Designers Huddle Annually To Discuss Their Superpowers
by F. Andrew Taylor
At a secret enclave in New York, a group of heroes gathered to build their team, discuss their superpowers and build portraits of each other out of food. “We come together for a Huddle every few years,” says Chris Virtuoso, national design director for MC2, a U.S.-based leader in the exhibit and event marketing industry and member of MCH Group, a global live marketing company. “We have offices all around the country and as new people come into the company, we find that it’s good to get everyone together every once in a while, to touch base and really learn about our team members.”
Actually, the 2017 MC2 Design Huddle wasn’t that secret. It took place in a hotel not far from the company’s corporate offices in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y. Members of MC2’s design and marketing departments met for an offsite huddle led by Virtuoso, and Russell Reich, chief strategy officer, who helped their creative team understand their own “super powers” and other talents to use them more effectively.
“I was finally able to put names to faces,” says graphic designer Roxy Cervantes. “It was great to have all the designers together in one room, spend time with them and get to know them.”
Each time MC2 comes together for a Huddle, they choose a different theme and the superhero theme allowed them to learn about their strengths and weaknesses and how to coordinate members, so their talents complement each other.
“Each of us embodies a superhero, if you will,” says Virtuoso. “Obviously, we’re all good at what we do, but every one of us have slightly different talents. We wanted to emphasis that it’s okay to be good at one thing and maybe not as good at another thing.”
The team members got to reflect on their own abilities by drawing a self-portrait that showed what their strengths were. The portraits were hung on the wall without explanation and the other team members left positive notes next to them, explaining how they felt about the drawing and the person it represented.
“It was heartwarming and gratifying to hear such positive feedback from coworkers, clients and vendors,” says graphic design manager Diane Fee. “It was also awesome to have the feeling of us all being in this big boat together reinforced. Everyone grab an oar and let’s get it done together!”
Virtuoso added that the organizers of the Huddle wanted to talk about specific points and discuss what they bring to the table as designers.
“Some of it was just nuts and bolts type things, like estimating hours and designing a budget,” says Virtuoso. “These are major things we’re asked to do every day, but we never talk about how to get these things done and how to get better at it. You can figure out how to run a computer program online, but this bigger picture stuff is a little trickier.”
At one point in the event, trays of vegetables and other food were brought out, which led some of the attendees to believe that lunch was going to be mostly raw veggies. Instead, they were asked to build peer profiles in the form of food sculptures.
“The 2017 Design Huddle was very engaging,” says designer Vince Addison. “I was most intrigued by inspiring us to connect with our inner selves and identify the strongest of our “super” qualities. That, in turn, inspires confidence which perpetuates the drive to excel and enhances our efforts to satisfy the needs and demands of our clients.”
This story originally appeared in the March/April issue of Exhibit City News, p. 56. For more pictures and original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/mar-apr_ecn2018