Taking Camp Glossier from IRL to URL
Cherie Camacho, People Experience Lead
Every year, our team comes together at Camp Glossier, our annual company retreat, to unplug, connect with one another, and rally behind our company vision. As Glossier has evolved, so has the Camp Glossier experience—it started in 2015 as a one-day kayaking excursion with less than 30 employees, and last summer was a multi-day retreat in upstate New York with close to 200 people, a “Glossier School of Business,” and of course, some blobbing.
As Glossier’s People Experience Lead, I was excited to make Camp even bigger and better this year. But when the pandemic hit, it became clear that in-person gathering wouldn’t be possible in 2020. It was time to take Camp Glossier from IRL to URL.
We talk a lot about the distinction between the why and the how at Glossier. The why for Camp has always been about bringing people together and building optimism towards the future—the event (whether it involved watersports or “camping” in the woods) has always just been the how. I was determined to stay true to Camp’s reason for being and adapt our how into an engaging, inspiring, and fun virtual experience—that didn’t just feel like a day of back-to-back Zooms.
First and foremost, we wanted Camp to be an opportunity to foster connections between team members who haven’t met yet, don’t work together regularly, or just miss crossing paths at the office. We also felt strongly about building in flexibility for different time zones, work-from-home schedules, and personal needs. We kicked off with a virtual coffee hour, and built choose-your-own-adventure breaks into the itinerary: a virtual game room; a livestream dog walk; a tie-dye workshop; or the option to simply take a breather.
We also wanted to balance the day’s content by highlighting internal voices, as well as bringing in external speakers to inspire us and connect us to the broader industry and world. To celebrate Glossier’s history and how far we’ve come, an employee-led session looked back at the origins and evolution of Community at Glossier, our warehouse operations, and Glossier.com. To look towards the future and the opportunity in front of us, our leaders talked about Glossier's long-term vision.
We were fortunate to welcome two incredible external speakers to wrap up our day. Samira Nasr, Editor in Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, tuned in live from her bathroom in Brooklyn for a “Top Shelf Live” hosted by Ashley Weatherford, Senior Editor of Into The Gloss. Samira walked us through her routine and shared her perspectives on style (“it’s not about what you wear, it’s how you occupy space”) and balance (“it comes with a new day when you get to try again”). It was one of the highlights of the day, and served as the perfect reminder how personal and powerful beauty can be. We closed out Camp with an inspiring fireside chat between our founder and CEO, Emily Weiss, and Bob Iger, Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company (who our entire team welcomed by changing our Zoom backgrounds to scenes our favorite Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies!) He spoke to our team about everything from his passion for the groundbreaking film Black Panther to the most important things he’s learned about being an effective leader and the importance of risk-taking. One of my favorite takeaways from Bob: “There’s a necessity to not giving in, not giving up, not conforming, not being someone others think you should be.”
Camp Glossier 2020 started as an exercise of adapting to new and unexpected circumstance, and ended as one of the most memorable and impactful company gatherings we’ve had to date. I can’t wait for the day when I can see all my colleagues in person, but in the meantime am excited to continue to find ways to stay connected, inspired, and fulfilled in a remote world.