Each year, gap intelligence holds an internal conference where we focus on what we think is most important for gappers that year. With the company continuing to grow and taking on new gappers, the gapCon committee, of which I am a member, decided to make this year’s theme “connection.” The idea was to build the day around finding out how we all connect to the company as well as each other. After much preparation and discussion, we thought it would be best to hear from both new and long-time gappers on their experiences.

We worked to create a fun and interactive activity where we could learn more about one another, and sought out friends of gap that would come in and speak to the importance of connection within their own professional lives. We also figured that once all these events were over, happy hour would do the rest.

Start of gapCon
Darrick Suen – Camera Data Specialist was the only one who found me funny apparently

Drop the Mic

I was lucky enough to emcee the event for the third year in a row, though we will see if my corny jokes get me a fourth year as host. It was amazing to see all the hard work of the gapCon committee come to fruition, and to hear gappers speak from the heart on their connection with gap intelligence and all the people who make it run.

This year’s event was a little more informal than previous years, so we decided to go with a laid-back island theme so that the whole company could benefit from a day away from a typical office setting. Our venue this year was The Local Beach Bar & Restaurant in Pacific Beach and we had the top portion all to ourselves with a beautiful view of the beach complete with authentic ocean breeze.

Trivia winners
Winners of the Trivia Challenge: Nathan Sanfacon, Dwaine Smith, Alex Dahl, and Julia DeJesus

The main activity for the day was bar-style trivia led by our very own Matt Altmetz, where each team of gappers would compete for a prize. The questions were derived from a 35-point survey gappers filled out prior to the event, asking about their own personal preferences, thoughts, and feelings around various topics (ex. What is your favorite Christmas movie?).

The responses were collected by gapCon team members and questions were formed that would share common traits among gappers, while also encouraging team work and collaboration with answers that were based on common responses. Our very own Matt Almetz was the trivia announcer, leading the activity like it was his day job.

Dani's presentation.
Dani Rachford – Personal & SOHO Printer Analyst

The Main Event

Dani kicked off the day’s event with an amazing speech chronicling her journey to gap intelligence and the connections she has made with people once she got here. Her fellow gappers also got to learn about her Chicago roots as well as her time spent jumping out of airplanes (with a parachute).

The Local supplied a great Hawaiian-themed lunch for the day, vegetarion options and all. It gave everyone a chance to walk around, socialize, and take in the ocean view.

Erin Vogelsanger – Corporate Communications Manager prepares for her speech

Erin picked us back up after lunch, connecting the 11 letters of her hard to spell (and pronounce) last name back to lessons she has learned as a gapper. Rumor has it she will be sharing her story in an upcoming blog, so stay tuned!

Jake talks on his connections
Jake Fishman – VP of Sales

Jake took the mic next, speaking to the group about his most important connections in life and in work and how that led him to connect with gap intelligence.

Round two of trivia saw tougher questions and fiercer competition. At the end of the game, the youngest gapper team took home the gold (despite several earlier complaints about too many questions being about the 80’s or 90’s). Each member of the team won a $25 gift certificate to the location of their choosing, as well as bragging rights long-after the event.

Our guest panel
Tom Young – Sr. Director of Business Development, Amber Hill – Local GM, Matt Red – Head of Sales and Operations Planning at Building 8, Facebook, Nikki Dell’Ara – Attorney

The Panel

We wrapped up the day with an terrific panel of guest speakers, with our own Tom Young as the moderator. The panel was comprised of Amber Hill, manager at the Local, Nikki Dell’Ara, gap’s corporate lawyer, and Matt Red, a long-time friend of gap, currently working at Facebook. The audience got to hear how professionals in different fields connect with their employees and clients, as well as advice for building our own connections as we grow into our professional careers.

After some closing remarks from our president, Gary Peterson, and the head of gapCon Valerie Alde-Hayman, the event came to a close. However, that did not mean an end to the day.

CEO Gary Peterson
Gary Peterson – CEO gap intelligence

Group photo

gapper Group shot

gappiest Hour of All

After corralling everyone downstairs, our group soon headed off to another conveniently located bar in Pacific Beach, El Prez. One of our newer gappers, Nate Sanfacon was able to snag us a great roof-top spot, giving us a perfect view of our San Diego beaches.  Happy hour gave us a chance to reflect on the day’s events, talk about our favorite parts, commend our speakers, and connect with each other even more.

The event would not be complete without the traditional last stop at a Karaoke bar, where a few diehard gappers (including yours truly), belt out such classics as “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by the Temptations, and "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones.

When all was said and done, gappers expressed the good time they had, the connection felt by hearing fellow gappers’ stories, and the gratitude toward our panel for talking the time to come and talk with us.  I think I speak for the entire gapCon committee when I say we look forward to our next gapCon, and making it the most valuable day of the year.

Group at El Prez

gappy Hour is the happiest hour of all

Diehard gappers: Dustin Downs, Matt Almetz, Nick Jordan, Katie Hess, Kendra Gebhart, Erin Vogelsanger, and random guy who photobombed us