It has to be said, when your boss offers you an all-expenses-paid trip to a private island (Obonjan, if you’re interested) in Croatia for a long weekend of ‘work’, it’s fairly difficult to imagine how any ‘work’ would actually get done. Logistically, I struggled to envisage how we would manage our laptops when perched on inflatable unicorns in 30 degree heat. Fast forward three weeks later, Lily and I were indeed perched on inflatable unicorns in 30 degree heat, but with Aperol spritzes in our hands in place of our laptops. It quickly dawned on me that this was very much ‘work’ in the loosest sense: our only instructions from Cordelia were to meet interesting people and have a lovely time.
FieldHouse had been invited to attend the 20th official ICE trip as sponsors. The trips are twice a year (one in the summer, and one on a ski trip); ICE was originally initiated 10 years ago as a way for entrepreneurs to engage with other founders of small businesses. The beginning of any business journey can be incredibly isolating and lonely, and so ICE was born as a platform for founders to connect and share their experiences of the incredible highs – and devastating lows – that are inextricably linked to starting your own venture.
Despite the beauty of the private island, the summer heat and the endless stream of cocktails, it’s undeniable that the best thing about this ‘work’ trip was connecting with the incredible group that we shared the experience with. The ICE group is carefully curated, comprised of not only founders, but also investors and others (like ourselves) who work in the small business ecosystem. Considering the size of the group we were away with – probably about 80 people – there was an intense feeling of inclusivity, honesty without judgement.
It’s possible that I only managed about 12 hours sleep over the course of the four day weekend, but despite the extreme exhaustion, I felt an overwhelming sense of energy and inspiration, reminding me why I chose to work in this insanely exciting sector. Lily and I are already trying to convince Cordelia to sponsor the next one…
Until next time, ICE!