The BFOlympics!

September 02, 2022

17 Minute Read

With so much of the BFO team working remotely across the country these days, we wanted to bring the whole team together this year because many people hadn’t yet met one another face to face. We’ve all been living in “the box” for two plus years and, while the world has opened up again, we’re not mandating people be in the office. As our leadership team searched for ways to keep the team connected to one another, the answer was in front of us the whole time… we just needed Scott to remind us: bring back the BFOlympics.

What are the BFOlympics, you ask? Only the greatest two days a digital marketing agency can spend together to collectively celebrate the hard work of the team!

BFO employees bond over foosball

BFO Office Space

We do have an office… we keep an office. We’re going to keep an office, but we don’t mandate people come into the office. In fact, our office has been renovated and we still don’t care if people come in the office, but it’s there if you want to use it. If you want to meet, it’s there. If you want to connect, it’s there. So, we use it for that, but a lot of folks on the team aren’t in Chicago anyway.

The BFO team relaxes at Oz Park in Chicago, Illinois
The BFO team plays a round of Kubb in Oz Park, Chicago

Connecting In a Remote Working World

For this year’s BFOlympics, we wanted to create some meaningful connections, and also a chance to appreciate one another. As I mentioned earlier, we hired a handful of people during the pandemic, and I believe only one of them lives in or around Chicago. So, the idea of getting our people together was cool! That was number one. And then we talked ourselves out of and into a bunch of different stuff.

Just the Fun, Ma’am

We considered doing a quarterly business review where we talk about all the good things happening at BFO and the financials and everything else… but then we totally axed that idea and said, “Hey, let’s just make this two days of fun! If a business conversation crops up, that’s great, but let’s not mandate any shop talk. Let’s not mandate training. Let’s not mandate QBR. Let’s not mandate anything else.” Once we agreed on that, the way the agenda came together and the schedule came together was just magnificent!

Beefers Scott Diebel, Rachel Loutos, and Gabe Aydelott play a game of spikeball while Jon Pappas and Maggie Sauer spectate in Oz Park, Chicago

It allowed people the chance to really connect. There was nothing crazy about it. From the boat cruise to the dinner on Wednesday night, it was just a chance to say thank you to the team and really to appreciate everybody. If you wanted to play games on Thursday at the picnic, you could play games Thursday at the picnic. If you wanted to sit around and chat, you could sit around and chat. I was surprised that no guitars came out at the park or anywhere else… maybe they did.

BFO Co-Founder and CEO Steve Krull addresses the team from an Island Party Cruise boat on Lake Michigan
The BFO team catches up against the beautiful Chicago skyline on Lake Michigan
Beefers Rachel Loutos and Jon Pappas catch some sun on the Island Party Boat on Lake Michigan in Chicago
Beefers Steve Krull and Melissa Attard catch a fun selfie on the Island Party Boat on Lake Michigan in Chicago
Beefers Dan Golden and Kyle Geib catch some shade on the Island Party Boat on Lake Michigan in Chicago

What I really appreciate most, though, is everybody making the time to come to Chicago and spend a few days out of the office from Tuesday to Friday.

We Love Our Clients!

Our clients were very understanding of the event, which was awesome. We were able to tell them, “Hey, guess what… we’re gonna be gone for a few days,” and they respected it. Mostly. I know some people had a bit of work to do (including myself), but you know, that comes with the territory. We are an agency after all, and I don’t think anybody got swallowed by a client while we were out, which is great! I even saw a few notes from clients, letting each other know that we were out. Rome didn’t burn and we’re here catching up or keeping up and everything worked out. So that was the beauty of it.

The BFO team plays spikeball in Oz Park, Chicago

Growing Connections

We didn’t spend a lot of time in the office while folks were in town. We stopped there as an accident because we were doing some headshots that we couldn’t do in the hotel, but that’s the only time we had in the office. So, we had a little bit of a happy hour and played some games, and I really appreciated how people who don’t work together every day got together and connected.

I loved watching the conversations happen naturally between people that aren’t on the same team. Certainly, they see each other on group calls and things like that, but how often do they have a chance to connect? Really connect, like talk. And that was the thing that I walked away from BFO Olympics with – creating an environment where people could connect. It tells me that we do really hire the best humans and we go out of our way to do so. Our recruiting process is incredible.

From left to right: Lauren San Gregory, Curtiss Gulash, Kyrin Field, and Maggie Sauer pose for a selfie on the Island Party Boat on the Chicago River

We Love Our People!

Our onboarding process is incredible and all the credit in the world goes to Erica and the HR team on that. Bringing those things together means we really recruit some high-quality people and it shows when they get together and they want to spend time with each other, even if they don’t work with each other that closely or know each other that well, it was just wonderful to see.

So that’s it! A quick thanks to everybody for coming up and for showing up! Really. Everybody participated, everybody was engaged. It was fun!

Like I said, there was no shop talk… that might have made it more fun. A lot of good stuff… a lot of good stuff. I’m looking forward to next year!

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Steve Krull - CEO/Co-Founder

Steve Krull

As CEO/Co-Founder of BFO, Steve excels in ‘unleadership.’ (his word) Steve believes in collaboration and leading by example; remaining vulnerable and open to new ideas, accepting feedback…and doing good things.