Just as IRIS and CRMDialer aren’t a typical CRM, the company culture behind both game-changers isn’t run of the mill. Case in point? The fabulous five-day 2018 retreat filled with top-notch training, high-flying thrills and tons of fun with the best team in the business. If you couldn’t be there (admit it, you had some serious FOMO, didn’t you?) or you just want to relive it all, we have your recap and highlights right here.

Day One: Day of Play, Pampering and … Hibachi

The IRIS Team’s first day together on the way to Six Flags Great Adventure!

It all kicked off on Monday, June 18, at 8 a.m. when everyone met at IRIS CRM headquarters in Brooklyn to catch the coach bus to Six Flags. After an hour and a half on the coach (and a tasty breakfast of Brooklyn Bagels and assorted sandwiches), we arrived at our exciting destination, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.

We divided into two groups and handed out Flash Passes to everyone, which meant skipping the lines altogether on 20 different rides and waiting half the time as other parkgoers for the rest. After all, we had some serious ground to cover, and we only had until 3 p.m. to fit in maximum fun. Oh, the fun we had with all the thrills, chills and amusements to choose from, including:

  • One of the park’s newest rides: CYBORG Cyber Spin, a seven-story anti-gravity thrill ride
  • The crazy loops of Bizarro
  • The high-flying fun of BATMAN: The Ride
  • Kingda Ka, with a track, that peaks at 456 feet in the sky
  • Green Lantern standing coaster

And, of course, there were plenty of team-building opportunities. What’s better than a little strategy session on the bumper cars?

Members of our support team (Amber & Jaron on the left) discussing the best strategy to ambush a QA team member (Alina) on the right.

We met back up at 3 p.m. to head over to Happy Feet in Freehold, New Jersey. We knew that the team would need a little pampering after such a fun day of exhilarating fun, so we booked the entire spa just for us. The soothing, relaxing environment and incredible foot massages did the trick.

The people at Happy Feet definitely got the job done. Everyone left with less stress and ready for our final event of the evening…. Hibachi and wine!  

Dinner at Tokyo Sushi and Hibachi Buffet was the perfect way to cap off the day. By 7 p.m., we wrapped things up and boarded the coach to head back to IRIS headquarters.

After a long day of thrill rides, safaris, and foot massages, nothing beats an amazing Hibachi dinner!  The food, service & atmosphere was astounding. While we waited, we did some icebreakers, talked strategy and had some delicious wine.

Day 2: Training, BBQ and a Great Escape

From day two on, we started our days with training to help everyone sharpen their skills. Today, Amber Aboshihata led a four-hour session on residuals training at IRIS Headquarters.

Every morning before heading out to our next adventure we held company-wide training with every member participating in honing their skills in their specific skill set. That’s how we make sure we will always be on top of our game.

With training complete, we gathered everyone up and headed to the Flatiron District in Manhattan for lunch at an amazing American country-style BBQ restaurant. Lunch at Hill Country Barbecue Market was a delicious way to energize our day two adventures.

We got together at Hill Country BBQ for dinner, and the food was stunning!  We enjoyed different types of BBQ that were to die for. Needless to say, everyone left full and ready for the biggest challenge of the day, The Escape Room!

After lunch, we were ready to test the team’s thinking skills, patience levels and ability to collaborate with a testing round at The Escape Room, located just around the block from our restaurant. Needless to say, fun was had by all. Unfortunately, after spending an intense hour trying to escape in time, both of our teams lost by a fraction of a second. In both cases, the teams figured it out but ran out of time while entering their codes. Despite our loss, our team grew stronger and so did our patience with one another. The experience was amazing for everyone.

A valiant effort from both of our groups, but unfortunately… we lost. Fun Fact: One of our team members has beaten 36 escape rooms and has been undefeated until this game!

We wrapped up the fun by 6 p.m., and everyone headed back to headquarters. After all the sun and fun on Day 1, everyone was grateful to have an early night so they could rest up for the fun on Day 3.

Day 3: Training, Turkish Cuisine, Taste of Russia and Painting

Amber continued where we left off on Day 2, with our residuals training until about noon. After that, we treated our taste buds to a light but super delicious Turkish lunch. We didn’t leave headquarters until about 3:30, when we all headed out to Coney Island. Our 4 p.m. reservation at Nargis Café was the perfect way to kickstart our evening.

The team enjoyed delicious traditional Uzbek cuisine at Nargis Cafe on Coney Island. We shared stories, laughs, and ate so much we thought we were going to explode. As you can tell by the grin on everyone’s faces, we had a great time.

After dinner, we came back to Brooklyn to a relaxing painting class at Pinot’s Palette! Everyone enjoyed it, and as expected, everything went really well!  

Once we arrived at Pinots Palette the real fun began. Painting and wine?  What can go wrong when you have this combo?

The staff provided our team with all the necessary materials to paint our mast pieces, booze included. The staff had great energy, were very helpful and didn’t judge some of us on our lack of artistic capabilities.

Food for thought.

Everyone had an absolute blast!

By 9 p.m., the class was over. We Ubered back to headquarters to call it a night.

Day 4: Training, Axe Throwing and Sailing (Oh My!)

Amber finished up the residuals training today. We also took an opportunity to test everyone to make sure they understood what they learned. This also gave us a chance to clear up any confusion and address any missing links. After training finished up, we held a delicious in-office lunch catered by Gino’s Italian Restaurant before leaving headquarters to throw a few deadly weapons at Kick Axe, a Brooklyn hotspot where you get to throw axes at targets (and you even get to drink while you do it!).

[Image Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OmvLpsGABaeFu_m8_bPJ9LQ3rZR4D6N_/view?usp=sharing]

Did he practice before the event?!

Once we arrived at Kick Axe, the tension grew thick as we separated into teams and battled our way into the competition. Some became experts, some need to go back and try again. By the end of our time there, everyone had become an ax-wielding barbarian / Apache. When asked, this ranked #1 on the itinerary.

After our Kick Axe adventure, we set sail on Clipper City Tall Ship operated by Manhattan by Sail out of Battery Park. While we sailed, we learned that even some of our teammates who live in New York never had the opportunity to get an up-close and personal view of Lady Liberty. To say that it was awe-inspiring might just be an understatement.


The Clipper Tall Ship sail was an eye-opening experience for everyone on the team. On the way back, the view of Manhattan was breathtaking. The combination view of the city and the calm of the ocean really put everyone on the ship at ease, and you could really appreciate a moment like this, just hanging back with your team.

Good times, good teammates and a heck of a gorgeous view. What could be better?

Taking time to appreciate the shining sun, brilliant blue sky and the beautiful city was a refreshing way to cap off day four of our retreat.

Day 5: French Cuisine, Bus Tour and Bowling!

We had already had lots of fun. No reason to stop, right? We spent the morning at headquarters because, well … work! But then we kicked off the last day with a gorgeous French lunch at Le Pain Quotidien in Manhattan.

On our last day together, we had lunch at Le Pain Quotidien, a spot with arguably the best brunch food one could ask for. The food was so good, we came close to cleaning Le Pain Quotidien out of salmon!  

After we had our fill of tasty salads, tartines, Croque monsieur, and salmon, we boarded a bus for our very own, fabulous New York City bus tour. The bus drove us around this magnificent city until it was time for our final fun activity – bowling.

Proof that life and business are about more than just the view from the top. Our stop at One World Trade Center was an experience all its own.

Reflection and remembrance. No visit to the 9/11 Memorial is quite the same, but it’s always humbling. The tour we received from Small Bus Tours was incredible!  They showed and taught us things that people living in New York for over 20 years did not know!

We capped things off by spending a few hours bowling at Lucky Strike. This bowling mecca is an adults-only venue that not only has great lanes, it also serves up some tasty food and fun side games. We played for a few hours before calling our Ubers and heading home. Safe to say, this entire retreat was a strike!

We were having so much fun and talking during this event, we nearly forgot to take pictures!  We had dinner & bowling at Lucky Strike in Manhattan! Again, our competitive sides came out as we sunk gutter balls, played pool + ping pong, and had some laughs and cheered to another successful year!