Last week, all 90 of us at Rick Steves' Europe headquarters in Edmonds, Washington, gathered for our annual all-day, all-staff meeting. I kick the day off with a two-hour "state of the company" address. It's my chance to explain my business philosophy, herald new accomplishments, get everyone in sync, and look to the future.
Then each department head took the floor to get the general assembly up to speed on their department's own challenges and triumphs.
That evening, we took over the biggest bar in our little town for dinner, drinks, and our staff awards ceremony -- celebrating (and roasting) employees hitting milestones (we had about a dozen staff members reaching one, five, ten, fifteen, and twenty-year anniversaries of starting work here).
For me, a highlight was offering the twelve newbies -- people attending their first annual meeting -- a good look at the many dimensions of the company they now work for. Several, who came to us from bigger companies, were amazed that we dedicated such time sharing financial and marketing numbers and strategies with the rank-and-file staff, and in building a general esprit de corps.
Among several little video clips shared was this montage of photos taken by our staff photographer, Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli (www.azfoto.com). Looking at these amazing images, we are all thankful to be charged with helping our traveling public actually have these vivid experiences themselves. As you enjoy this storm of pictures, (which cover our Eastern Europe, London, and Berlin/Prague/Vienna tours), imagine also yourself right there in 2014. I'll be with you!