Reflections on YAP Global’s Offsite 2022

In April 2022, YAP Global hosted its first-ever in-person offsite in Barcelona to unite the team. It was no small feat getting 22 team members from San Francisco, Cape Town, Melbourne, Seattle, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and London to a Spanish Villa, but it was so worth it.

Once Asia’s borders opened up I felt it was time to make the strategic decision to invest in this offsite. Having the whole team in one room felt surreal after remotely scaling our PR consultancy during a turbulent global pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Seeing (and hugging!) teammates was certainly refreshing after endless video calls.

To make the most of our time together, it was important to cultivate a welcoming environment for learning, development and play. The main aim was for everyone to get to know each other as teammates and learn about different cultural backgrounds. The best way to do this was through snacks. We got everyone to bring a snack from where they came from. (I thoroughly enjoyed the Iced Zoo animal-shaped biscuits, which our Senior Account Executive, Leila Stein brought from South Africa.)

Meeting colleagues in real life was such a surreal experience! It was great to finally get to speak to peers beyond our computer screens. Nothing quite like conversations over the legendary hot tub.

Joey Woo
Head of Operations

The team on day two of the Offsite. (L-R back row: Sam O’Donohoe, Saad Qureshi, Lauren Bukoskey, Martyna Borys, Leila Stein, Delon Chan, Kath Samson, Becky Corbel. L-R middle row: Roslyn Tear, CJ Cheong, Sam Howard, George Harrap, Ruby Wu, Mia Grodsky, Joey Woo, Sam Yap, Otto Jacobsson, Sandie Anderson, Judith Ugwumadu, Niro De Silva. L-R front row: Debra Nita, Lindsie Hiatt.)

Aiming high together

We started this Offsite with three goals in mind:

  1. Build team culture and grow stronger bonds
  2. Strategise to unlock growth for 2023 & set actionable goals
  3. Refine our quality & standards

To reach these goals our star operations team, Joey Woo (Head of Operations), Niroshini De Silva (Operations Executive) and Becky Corbel (Personal Assistant), had carefully crafted an itinerary equipped with workshops, team meetings and team-building games.

Over the course of six days, we debated, conducted peer-to-peer workshops to educate and inspire, set ambitious goals for the 2022/23 financial year and brainstormed ways to level up our storytelling. We hung out in all corners of the 14-bedroom Spanish villa adorned with beautiful murals, which we named YAP Casa for the week.

The team playing Crypto Pictionary.

Building a learning institution

Taking tips from Laszlo Bock’s book Work Rules! about building a learning institution, as the best people to learn from are within your team.

Our ops team curated events that combined working, learning and development sessions, as well as team-building days.

We grew and learnt together via workshops about ‘Advancing the crypto Narrative’, ‘Getting to the bottom of the story’, ‘Building your Twitter voice’, ‘The Meaning of Decentralisation’ and more.

A favourite session of mine was Jeremy Wagstaff, Head of News at YAP Global, giving an overview of his greatest mantras when it comes to PR and journalism. Two things that I will remember:

  1. Don’t believe the myths about journalists and journalism (’they’re normal people’)
  2. ‘You are not PR person you are an interpreter’

It was great to meet and connect with everyone in real life, nothing beats forming relationships in person and getting to know your co-workers on a more personal level.

Ruby Wu
Senior Account Executive

Culture is built from within

For extracurricular activities, this packed itinerary included team lunches and dinners, fun activities like Crypto Pictionary and building Spaghetti Towers. Rounding off the week on a high note, we did a scavenger hunt in the local town of Sitges.

Something I have learnt while growing a team is that culture is not something you can set from the top, it has to come from the people in the team.

A challenge with the offsite was actively keeping up with day-to-day work while workshops were taking place. But because we had the benefit of being under one roof, we would often find the time to get work done in moments of unexpected ‘bump-ins’ in the corridor, kitchen or hot tub! Problem-solving doesn’t need to be resolved in archaic formal meetings.

Judith Ugwumadu
Account Manager

Doubling down on our niche

Voted as the ‘Best Session’ during the offsite by Yappers was, “the Path of the Degen”, held by George Harrap, Head of DeFi at Yap Global and co-founder of Step Finance. It challenged the team to grow their personal knowledge of how crypto works for the end-user.

We gave everyone in the team 0.3SOL and asked them to use it, trade, buy an NFT, and yield farm with it. Without any discussion beforehand, the team were all looking out for each other and really getting stuck in, even after working hours when the laptops should have been away. Slowly the dining room table filled up with teammates all discussing where to buy their NFTs, looking at the different options and different protocols for yield farming.

You can read more about this from our Account Executive, Sam O’Donohue’s first-hand account here.

It was inspiring seeing this evolution in the team and them doubling down on understanding crypto, DeFi and Web3. It’s very exciting to see YAP Global as the place where we are onboarding the future communicators and PR professionals of this entire industry. PS We’re hiring and always looking to grow.

I really underestimated what it means to really know how DeFi products work. Getting the chance to interact with staking, yield farming and other DeFi tools through this workshop deepened my understanding — which in turn helps when I am working with projects building similar products.

Leila Stein
Senior Account Executive

The team on the path to Degen buying NFTs and learning to yield farm.

I try out different DeFi strategies as I believe in it, but assumed it uninteresting to most. So it was extremely heart-warming to see everyone enthusiastically experimenting. This gives me tremendous pride that YAP goes the distance by understanding the underlying technology.

Cheong Cheng Jie (CJ)
Senior Account Executive

How did YAP raise the bar?

I fell down the crypto rabbit hole in 2017 and got hooked on wanting to learn more about Bitcoin, Ethereum and crypto. On a mission to advocate for the growth of this industry, I founded YAP Global in January 2018 out of my passion for storytelling, journalism and crypto. I’m genuinely fascinated about how crypto is changing the way things are done in the financial world and feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to scale this business.

I’m proud to say that YAP Global is now a strong team of 25 ambitious individuals who are the best crypto interpreters in the world. We’re not your average crypto PR firm, we’re owning this crypto niche and we’re here to stay.

We held a session on our proudest PR wins, and the stories that were chosen weren’t the flashy mainstream media wins that got the most views. They were the small fundraising stories with less traction that landed in the press and impactful opinion pieces about topics like, ‘What comes next for Tokenomics, Ecosystems and Community?’.

This says a lot about how much the YAP Global team values quality storytelling and angles.

When you are synced up with your team, you can live and work together in harmony. It’s quite intimate to share a kitchen with your colleagues but everything worked like a well-oiled machine.

Inspired for the year ahead

When you are synced up with your team, you can live and work together in harmony. It’s quite intimate to share a kitchen with your colleagues but everything worked like a well-oiled machine.

Circling back on the goals set for this offsite, we’ve hit each target and seen our colleagues blossom, leaders develop and everyone getting out of their comfort zones to thrive!

Post-Offsite, we’re now in a good position to achieve our goal of being the leading PR consultancy in this industry and we hope to run more Offsites like this in the future

Massive thank you to Niro, Becky and Joey for successfully planning and delivering our first offsite.

The team in our new jumpers. (L-R back: George Harrap, Mia Grodsky, Lauren Bukoskey, Sandie Anderson, Martyna Borys, Sam Howard, Sam O’Donohoe, Saad Qureshi, Debra Nita, Delon Chan, CJ Cheong. Front: Kath Samson, Ruby Wu, Roslyn Tear, Lindsie Hiatt, Leila Stein, Judith Ugwumadu, Sam Yap, Otto Jacobsson, Joey Woo, Becky Corbel, Niro De Silva.
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