Since joining the AlphaSights NY Team in July 2014, I've heard awesome stories of past company retreats – the early days with a small global team in Ibiza, sun and fun in San Diego, jet skiing in Tampa… the list goes on. I've always admired the way my colleagues carry and share these memories, honoring them in internal project titles and with photos of teams bonding taped to my peers' computer monitors. My expectations for this year's excursion to New Orleans were high – my first AlphaTrip, my opportunity to form the memories I've been so fond of (and maybe a bit jealous of), po' boys and maybe a hurricane or two.

I'll start by saying that this trip exceeded all of my expectations, and then some, but not for the reasons I expected. Big thanks to our incredible Ops team and our Summer Party Planning Committee for pouring an inspiring amount of time and energy into pulling together a seamless endeavor. On behalf of the entire NY Office, my sincerest thanks.

NOLA was the type of fun you'd expect, and was not without its fair share of surprises! We had a private musical escort down Bourbon Street that turned us into temporary celebrities. We had a masquerade ball in an 1850s mansion. We danced to Southern funk, learned how to peel crawfish, survived on beignets, and narrowly avoided gator bites.

But the real memories, the moments worthy of coveted square inches around my computer monitor and permanent places in my heart, came when I least expected. They came when I found myself in a group with some Alphas that had never before assembled, and we spent the whole morning discussing things far more important than work. They came as I walked with some Tech teamers during our French Quarter scavenger hunt and discovered we had more in common than our work address. They came as we sat in the airport waiting on endless plane delays, telling Pirate jokes over bloody marys.

And when I returned to the office on Monday morning, exhausted (understatement) as I may have been, I took a step back and realized what the point of the Summer Summit was. Out of the office, away from NYC, you have the opportunity to suspend the pressures of work and see exactly what everybody means when they say, "The people make AlphaSights special." Coming back from NOLA, I'm instilled with a new faith in my colleagues, my team, and my firm. I value working at a place that values its employees.

We had a class of new summer joiners start their journey here yesterday. As soon as they hear, I know they'll be wide-eyed at tales of NOLA, eagerly awaiting their first AlphaTrip, just as I was one short year ago, and I know that it won't disappoint.