Creative Ranch 2018: Ending T3’s Fiscal Year Strong

by Jill Prentice

At the end of T3’s fiscal year in September, we bring in people from our New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Chicago offices to Austin for a three-day Creative Ranch celebration filled with keynotes, workshops, seminars and team meetings designed to energize the body, spirit, and mind. In addition to an end-of-year celebration packed with keynote sessions, department meetings and an offsite party, our pack of fearless creators took one full day off of making kick-ass work for clients to make stuff for ourselves and team.

This year’s Creative Ranch theme celebrated the pride we take in being a full-service, fiercely independent agency since 1989. From a workshop on sharpening presentation skills to a hands-on hot sauce-making class, there was no shortage of courses to get our staff’s creative engines going. Explore the 15 personal and professional development sessions T3ers chose from at this year’s Creative Ranch.

A Hot Mess with Chris Johnson of Stellar Gourmet

Ring the alarm. This session covered both the process and science of creating a hot sauce that is natural, full of flavor and packed with heat. Award-winning hot sauce maker Chris Johnson of Stellar Gourmet shared his knowledge and passion for all things spicy. Session attendees made a sauce during each session using a selection of locally harvested peppers and a few other ingredients.

Fearless Presenting with Jessica Ford

Whether you feel most comfortable in front of a crowd or behind a computer, we all could use some communication tips to help us translate our kick-ass ideas to clients. Though we spend our days constantly communicating, we rarely take the time to work on improving the ways we communicate. Dr. Jessica Ford returned to Creative Ranch and took attendees’ communication skills to the next level with this hands-on workshop.

Intro to Therapy Dog Training with Paul Mann of More Fun Than Dirt

Is your pup up to the challenge? This session explored the world of working dogs and the specialized role that therapy dogs provide to the community. Attendees discovered the qualifications necessary to work as a therapy dog team with their dogs and engaged the expert in a Q&A about general dog training and behavior.

Finding Your Fire with Catherine Lucchesi of I Live Here I Give Here

Passion compels us to make a difference in our world. We care about some things in life more than others. When we pursue our passion, we are focused and motivated. We feel alive, intense and energetic. The team at I Live Here I Give Here, a local nonprofit focused on making Austin the most generous community in the country, taught attendees the keys to discovering what should drive their community service.

Programming as Art with Mickey Delp of dadageek

Coding is a beautiful thing. This session taught the basics of programming a circuit board, with a focus on making gorgeous light art. Attendees got to play with (and keep!) an Arduino microcontroller circuit board and an add-on board covered in full-color LEDs. They also walked away with lots of sample apps to run on it, plus links to additional info to continue learning and creating.

Making Meetings Matter with Shana Merlin of Merlin Works

In a recent survey, 49% of participants considered unfocused meetings the biggest workplace time waster. This session taught tactics to reduce unnecessary meeting attendance and to make meetings more efficient and (dare we say) more fun. Attendees learned how to stop steamrollers before they start, draw out the quiet experts in the room, be strategic with the deck and keep their agenda on track.

Skip the Small Talk with Margie Dillenburg

Small talk sucks. Get to know people—and yourself—on a deeper, more authentic level while improving your communication skills. Skip the Small Talk is a research-based and time-tested set of facilitated conversations where participants were gently guided into a new common social contract to share and listen one level more deeply than they might normally. This unique, real experience of shared vulnerability bonds groups and builds muscles for empathy and authenticity.  

Elevate Your 401(k) with Sara Glakas of Black Barn Financial

The purpose of this session was to make sure T3 staff’s 401(k) was working as hard as they are. Sara Glakas, founder of Black Barn Financial, covered the basics of investing and led a discussion on starting, managing and optimizing a 401(k). She explained the “whys” and “hows” of using the plan to invest in stocks, bonds, and other investments so T3ers can be confident that their wealth is growing alongside their career.

Pilates Power Hour with Lindy Irwin of Authentic Pilates of Austin

Stronger every day. This authentic, classical Pilates Mat class included all of the conditioning concepts Pilates has to offer. It was more than just an ab workout. It worked you from head to toes, and deeply from the inside out! The invigorating workout left T3ers feeling strengthened and stretched.

Raising a Lifelong Learner with Trish Prentice of Ruby Reader

They’re chips off the old block. How can one be a great elementary school parent? A veteran Kindergarten teacher shared tips on how to help young children flourish while developing parenting skills. We talked about behavioral, social-emotional and academic strategies while soaking in information that helped parents navigate the tricky waters of raising young children.  

Macrame. Hanging. Planters. with Monique Capanelli of Articulture Designs

This session was knot to be missed. Participants of this hands-on workshop learned the basic knots of macrame and applied them to make their very own macrame plant hangers. We used threads, beading, and vessels for planting.

The Memoir-Writing MAP with Jess Hagemann of Cider Spoon Stories

We all have a story, but committing it to paper can be rough. Where do you begin? What do you include? In this session, attendees learned to MAP their memoir with Jess Hagemann of Cider Spoon Stories, Austin’s premier ghostwriting and editing company. Then, we put pen to paper for some in-class writing and workshopping.

Damn Good Mural designed by T3’s Own Caleb Sawyer

This one was for all the creators. The innovators. The thought leaders, inspirations and general, all-around badasses at T3 who are really just some damn good people. We find them outside in the world and aspire to be them ourselves. We paid tribute to them while tapping into our creativity by banding together for a group mural painting coordinated by T3 Motion Graphics Designer Caleb Sawyer.

Outdoor Recess

Need a mental break and some sunshine? This session is just that! Attendees headed outside to partake in some yard games and friendly competition. We had bean bags, giant Jenga and other fun games to partake in. Participants who made the rounds to each game even had a chance to win some extra raffle tickets for T3’s End of Year celebration.

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