“Becoming a Category Leader” – the phrase on everyone’s mind at Xpression 2021.
Xtremepush’s annual offsite was back with a bang after taking a year off due to Covid19. It was certainly a week to remember as we gathered in our usual location of Westport, Ireland.
The past year has seen incredible growth within the company, with new offices opening across the waters. From the US across to Lithuania, this was the first chance a lot of people had to finally meet their colleagues in person.
After an incredibly successful year, Xpression was the perfect opportunity for us as a business to reflect on our achievements, celebrate them, and also plan for the journey ahead of us.
Xpression kicked off with a look at the evolution of Xtremepush over the years by our co-founders Tommy Kearns and Kevin Collins. This presentation really set the tone for the rest of the week. Acknowledging the excitement of where we are while also working hard to set out the path in front of us.
Discussions amongst teams began to kick off throughout the week. Company wide alignment, our vision for the future, and ensuring that we work as collaboratively and efficiently as possible were some of the main topics. But there was one topic in particular that trumped all; how we make the experience of working with Xtremepush the best possible one for our customers.
As well as recognising where we are as a company, we feel it’s also important to acknowledge the wonderful team we have working in Xtremepush. Awards were given to individuals who have truly outdone themselves over the last year or so, and are a shining example to the rest of us of what our KDH (Keep Driving Hard) culture looks like. Jack Oliver, Ayca Ataer, and Sayali Kakade were all worthy winners of these awards.
As important as these awards are, there is one in particular that is truly special. Earlier this year, we lost our dear friend and colleague, Kimber Whitehead, to a battle with cancer. She was a person who went above and beyond what was necessary and she truly cared for each and every one of her customers. She was the embodiment of what Xtremepush is all about and she is truly missed by everyone at Xtremepush. In honour of her memory, The Kimber Whitehead Memorial Award was created and presented to Robbie Sexton, who goes that extra mile for his customers and workmates.
Ensuring that our bodies and minds are in the best possible shape they can be is an incredibly important aspect of working with Xtremepush. We were lucky to have two fantastic guest speakers over the week. A massive thank you goes out to Neil O’Brien who’s talk about the importance of your mental fitness to ensure quality performance was truly helpful. And to Chris Flack who highlighted the value that keeping away from screens can have on your life.
There was certainly a “work hard, play hard” aspect of Xpression felt by everyone there. Our first day ended with a trip to the famous Matt Molloy’s pub in the centre of Westport Town. We were greeted by a uilleann piper who walked the entire Xtremepush team through the town to the pub where we were treated to a private performance by the Chieftain himself, Matt Molloy.
We also heard some simple, yet highly effective words of wisdom by CEO of Portwest, Harry Hughes. The story of the company, where they began and where they are today is truly incredible and certainly inspiring. This was followed up by a spectacular performance from a champion Sean-Nós dancer which certainly wowed everyone, not just those from outside Ireland. We also had 4 time GAA All Star and Mayo football legend Lee Keegan chat to us during the week about his career and what it takes to get to such a high level of performance on such a consistent basis.
High performance, ambition, and execution were a few of the words we concentrated on as a business throughout our discussions. These people certainly showed us all what those words really mean.
The social side of Xpression kept on coming, with dinner, drinks, and quizzes every night in some of the best food spots in the west of Ireland. John Coolican and Mark Quinn spearheaded a treasure hunt around Westport where we really got to experience the west of Ireland and the weather that comes with it. They remained cosy at HQ sending cryptic clues and quests to the teams that braved the conditions and uncover the answers, all while taking in the beauty of Westport.
Our last night was full of laughter and singing; it was really a night to remember. A special mention must go out to the Manila Strings who provided us with some incredible covers of some famous songs on our final night. They even went around to every table to take requests. It was truly the perfect way to finish off what was an incredible week in Westport.
A massive thank you to all members of staff in the Knockranny House Hotel for looking after us so well and providing us with some incredible facilities for our presentations and discussions.
A big thanks to our videographer Dan Dunne as well. Without him, we wouldn’t have the images and videos to look back on.
It would also be remiss of me to not thank Vinnie and all the staff at The Helm, who went above and beyond to keep us fed, watered, and well rested for the week.
Finally, a massive thank you goes out to the Xtremepush team for the contributions and energy brought to Xpression this year. From the old dogs who have been here for years, to the countless younger pups who are fresh in the door, it was you that made Xpression 2021 the success that it was.
We can’t wait for the next one to come around. It can only get bigger from here!