When I started Mekky Media Relations at my dining room table five years ago – with myself as the only employee – I never could have imagined that the company would grow like it has and that we’d achieve a level of success that would enable me to take my team on a strategy and planning retreat – to my dream destination of Mexico, no less.

But that’s exactly what happened in mid-January, when we traveled to Cancun for three days of work and fun!

Bringing 10 members of my team on this retreat was a dream come true personally and professionally, a sign that the years of hard work are paying off and a reminder that I am able to be the kind of leader I strive to be – one who is passionate about culture and puts people first. The retreat also represents a game-changing moment in time for Mekky Media as a successful public relations agency that is here to stay. We strategized, planned, brainstormed, learned, set goals, and we opened up to each other and bonded like I never even thought possible.

Still, a few people have asked how we were able to make this happen…and why. The first answer is that we set an agency-wide revenue goal for 2021, with the idea of rewarding the team with this trip if we reached the goal. With our record-breaking revenue last year (a 62 percent gain over the previous year), we soared past the goal and set our sights on Mexico. This was no easy feat. PR is hard work, and sometimes it’s all hands on deck at all hours. But it can be so rewarding and so worth it.

As far as “the why,” that’s easy. One of my first clients, Craig Bolanos of Wealth Management Group (who is still a client today), told me years ago that the secret to building a great organization is to avoid turnover and take care of your people. That advice really spoke to me, because I’ve always wanted to be a generous leader who makes her team members feel loved, valued and appreciated. I’ve set out to make Mekky Media a cutting-edge company when it comes to culture, with our focus on core values, wellness programs, a hybrid model of work…and now, a Mexico retreat!

The pandemic that we have all lived through for two long years made the retreat especially meaningful for us. Like many companies, we have been operating on Zoom and Slack since March 2020, only coming together in person a few times for a photo shoot, potluck or occasional meeting. Almost half of the full-time team was hired during this time! And while I’ve been incredibly proud of everyone for becoming a close-knit team and connecting as much as possible in these difficult circumstances, it’s hard to truly get to know someone in the virtual world. Spending three days together in paradise made up for so much of what we’ve missed and enabled us to take our team bonding to the next level. I, personally, feel closer to everyone. But it was also rewarding to see them fostering connections and even friendships with each other. We really solidified our company core values of teamwork and authenticity.

I’ve overcome many challenges, from growing up with very modest means to fighting cancer to being an entrepreneur starting out on her own. Successfully bringing my team to Mexico – and doing it safely during a pandemic – was a meaningful and victorious moment in my life. With help from my amazing team, I’ve built a successful company, and there are great things on the horizon.

Our retreat was a magical experience from beginning to end, and I feel proud every time I look back on the time we spent together next to the turquoise waters of Mexico (my favorite place in all the world, the inspiration for my company colors of teal and blue). And now that we’re back to reality (and cold!), I feel a giant shift in the agency. We are inspired and motivated in a whole new way. Like I said on my social media, if you are part of our world, watch out, because the best PR team is ready more than ever to make big things happen in 2022!

And if we meet our goals this year – WHEN we meet them – Mekky Media will be back on the beach together in 2023!