The Washington Post

At Studley, an annual opportunity for a big adventure

Company: Studley.

Location: Offices in Washington and McLean.

Employees: 77 locally; 593 nationwide.

If happy hour is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done with your colleagues, then the list of activities Studley staffers have done together might seem downright eye-popping. They’ve hiked glaciers in Chile. They’ve fished for piranhas in the Amazon. They’ve taken martial arts class with a master teacher in Tokyo. They’ve rappelled down waterfalls in the Costa Rican rain forest.

These excursions were part of an annual trip that the company organizes for its senior leaders and top-performing employees. There is no set criteria to qualify, but each year it includes about 80 employees from the real estate services firm’s offices across the country. Board members take turns selecting the location and planning the itinerary.

“We try to do something different and we try to avoid places that people go with their family,” said David Lipson, an executive vice president and director of Studley’s Washington office.

The trip is a mix of business and pleasure. In addition to the recreational activities, staffers attend strategic meetings and networking sessions. They also take one evening to look back on their accomplishments from the previous year and set goals for the coming year.

Though most of the recreation activities are best-suited for thrill-seekers, the trips do sometimes include more low-key, relaxing options.

Lipson said that in Costa Rica the group stayed in a hotel that had hot springs on site. Because the trip coincided that year with NFL playoff games, the staffers set up two big-screen televisions outside so that they could enjoy the games while unwinding in the hot springs.

Still, Lipson said an appetite for the more offbeat activities is a good indicator of whether a staffer will thrive at Studley.

“The person who doesn’t see the value in it is not the right fit here,” Lipson said.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.



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