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Staff Development at TBC: Reflection and Renewal

Much of our Jesuit spirit and commitment to building a culturally engaged community is the foundation of our internal relations and company culture. To foster meaningful interaction between team members, TBC organizes staff retreats focused on collective discussion and team-building exercises – as well as some fun.

The most recent TBC Retreat of Summer 2021 brought together all TBC team members (online and offline) as well as a special guest facilitator, Fr. Stephan Rothlin, Director of the Macau Ricci Institute and CEO of Rothlin International Management Consulting. Fr. Rothlin led the brainstorming session that advanced the dual discussion on how to continue integrating Jesuit zeal and forward-thinking business initiatives into all aspects of TBC.

Starting off the retreat, Fr. Rothlin introduced fundamental Jesuit principles and mindsets to consider when working towards better understanding what the Jesuit spirit is all about. He gave a presentation on Pope Francis’s concept of Fraternity and Social Friendship, emphasizing the transformative nature of bringing diverse people together that coexist within the same space, despite their differences. This presentation deeply resonated with the TBC team, who began a thought-provoking discussion on how inclusivity plays a permanent role in our work culture, and the ways in which each team member’s contributions comprise the whole.

Along the way, team members discussed the importance of work culture and current business operations at TBC, which led to a series of leading questions to consider while mapping out TBC’s direction for the future. How do we communicate between departments and as a team? What endeavors should we prioritize? How do we express love and care for one another in a professional setting? These questions that surfaced during the discussion allowed team members to voice any concerns and take the time to collectively evaluate every aspect of TBC – what works and what requires improvement.

After the first brainstorming session and a delicious lunch, team members spent the evening playing an engaging game, guessing Western and Chinese pop culture components. Refreshed from a friendly competition, a cozy dinner followed with more fun banter, as everyone talked and enjoyed a traditional Chinese spread. The excitement of the day eased into a movie night with snacks and refreshments. The movies selected offered more information about key figures and events part of the Jesuit movement, such as Matteo Ricci and Johann Adam von Schall Bell.

The brainstorming continued the next day, with an activity-based session to further generate new ideas, as facilitated by the Communications and Media team’s Communications Assistant, Vukica Elenovska. Vukica assigned carefully selected articles to each team member to analyze and use as inspiration to provoke new business ideas. The content of each article presented different approaches to consider, having to do with topics relevant to TBC, such as non-profit strategies, study abroad during COVID-19, creating values through work culture, Jesuit education, etc. The activity resulted in an abundance of shared ideas, paving the way for the concluding brainstorming session by Fr. Rothlin.

The final discussion circulated around TBC’s four discernments: TBC as a portal between China and the world, TBC as a worldwide intellectual hub in China, strengthening the TBC identity for the local community, and developing strategic sustainable resource models. The team worked towards posing and answering essential questions, with the four discernments and TBC’s mission in mind. Team members expressed enthusiasm for new and ongoing programs that directly portray the values and mission they serve through their operation. The team posed questions such as: What is our sustainable model now and in the future? How do we connect with younger generations? How do we offer a variety of programs and services? Many of these questions were answered with practical solutions, while those unanswered inspired an enthusiastic spirit for what is to come for TBC.

No retreat would be complete without a proper reflection session, so we ended on a note of gratitude. As TBC team members sat in a circle, matching in attire and spirit, they expressed their feelings about the time spent together the past two days. It was a tranquil time and space allotted for everyone to stop and think about the purpose of the retreat and what each team member contributed and received. In doing so, reflecting together brought everyone a little closer, solidifying our staff retreats’ effectiveness and beneficial nature.