With as many as 5,000 miles between our global offices, it’s rare that we get to work with our international team members face to face instead of through a computer screen. That’s why we were so lucky to have several team leaders from our Tbilisi, Georgia location visit our Syracuse and New York City offices over the past few weeks. It was exciting to finally meet our teammates in person and have the opportunity to share our cultures, build new relationships and continue to grow as a company. Since we recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Pulsar AI acquisition, this visit was the perfect way to celebrate.
The trip from Tbilisi to New York takes about 20 hours, and for some of the team members, it was their first time visiting the US. Yet they all had the same goal. “We wanted to have that in-person experience and strengthen the bond between the Georgia and US offices. We knew it was important to get to know each other on a more personal level and have the opportunity to share knowledge,” said Sopo Chkoidze, Vice President of Operations.
While visiting the US offices, team members were able to collaborate in person, building stronger relationships and bonding in ways that just aren’t possible over Zoom. The trip also provided opportunities to learn from eachother. “We got to share best practices across the teams. There are certain things my team does that our Georgian team members might want to implement and vice versa, so it was extremely helpful,” said Quality Assurance Specialist Kerry Boyle. In addition to the small group interactions, Impel’s second annual Hackathon event took place during the visit. This event focuses on cross-team collaboration across all offices as they created projects based on this year’s theme of improving the customer experience. With so many participants together in person, the energy was contagious and the event was an exciting (and loud!) success.
In addition to the in-office collaboration, lots of team building events took place after work – a staple of the Impel culture. While there were many happy hours, dinners and lunches during the three-week visit, one night out was particularly special. While in New York City, Tbilisi team members took a group to dinner at a Georgian restaurant, where everyone learned about Georgian culture while sampling delicious foods from the region. However, the fun didn’t stop with food! “One night we went to an arcade bar and had drinks and played games. There were a couple of days when we all stayed at the office and had a few beers, which doesn’t usually happen. These unplanned nights were a lot of fun and allowed us to get to know each other even more,” said Lead Engineer, Abhishek Pillai.
The fun and collaboration helped team members discover similarities and shared interests. “I’m originally from Russia, and my culture has a lot of shared history with Georgia. We talked a lot about our cuisines and our common culture, so that was really nice,” said Software Engineer Elena Tarasova. Despite differing cultures and languages, team members were quick to help each other – and learn along the way. “I like learning new languages. I learned some phrases in Georgian, which was fun, and when someone would ask what a phrase meant in English, I would also get to learn how it was said in Georgian,” said Abhishek.
Bringing our Georgian and US team members together in person was an unforgettable experience. We are so grateful for the chance to collaborate on projects while continuing to learn about each other’s culture, interests and languages. We built many new relationships and friendships, and we can’t wait to do it again!