Travel Tales Featuring Team One SLASH Award Recipients
In lieu of traditional trophies and sabbaticals, each year Team One awards a number of peer-nominated employees a SLASH Award; the highest recognition a Team One employee can garner. Each recipient is rewarded with one week of paid leave and up to $5,000 to have an experience that nurtures their creative spirit and helps them to generate fresh ideas. We’ve handed out 63 of these awards to date (including 6 awards in 2020) These are just a few of their stories.
As travel carefully re-opens and the wanderlust-ful among us have begun to browse and book our first post-COVID trips, we’re in a position now to look back on our past treks and travels with a newfound appreciation for the impact they made on our lives and the adventures that ensued. In the spirit of our nostalgia and to kick off the summer travel season, we’re proud to spotlight a few of Team One’s most purposeful trips and the people who took them.
Wildlife and Wellness in Middle of Nowhere, Alaska
Q&A with Preston Larson, Management Director of Media at Team One
Preston Larson, Team One Management Director of Media
“Worst case scenario a bear kills you.”
What do you ‘do’ at Team One?
[PL] As Management Director of Media, I oversee a team of 16 talented individuals who collectively design paid media recommendations for our Lexus National client, in an effort to increase desirability, awareness, and consideration for both the brand and Lexus models. We leverage all mass media channels including TV, streaming, digital, social, print, out-of-home, media partnerships, and more.
How has travel impacted your life?
I’ve always loved traveling, and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to visit so many places throughout the US during my career. Traveling lets me see new perspectives and different ways of living. It allows me to find new foods, new adventures, new favorite spots, and new ideas for bettering myself and those around me. And it makes me even more grateful to have a family and loving home to come back to after every trip.
How did you choose your SLASH award trip location?
I chose Alaska for a couple of reasons. First, it was the only state I had never been to, so choosing to go there completed my 50 state mission. Second, I was looking for someplace where I could find new perspectives and new experiences that would challenge me. Being in Alaska was the first time since growing up in Montana that I felt nature was more powerful than humans, and the extent of it was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed at home. No longer did the human species make the rules, nature made the rules, and it was amazing.
What intentions did you set for the trip?
I really wanted to put myself outside of my comfort zone on this trip. There is something about knowing you are going to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere in Alaska with your fishing gear and a small boat that takes a lot of trust in yourself. I wanted to challenge my mind in that way.
Tell us about the Itinerary.
In July 2019, I flew into Anchorage, Alaska and rented a car to drive down to Seward, which was one of the most beautiful and epic places I have ever been. Untouched landscape and wildlife like I’ve never seen before. Bald eagles, whales, seals, otters, jellyfish, and more. After that visit, I moved my way back northwest to Soldotna aka base camp. This is where I met a doctor that hosts Wellness Weeks at his All Alaska Outdoors Lodge. This includes a thorough health assessment, comprehensive lab workup, fitness testing, body composition analysis, and more. Even an IQ test. They also have seminars each day to go through topics that lead to a healthier way of living. Knowing that fish was at the top of the list for best foods to eat, we fished every day! Prop planes would take us to remote locations to fish different kinds of salmon. It was incredible.
What was the best moment of your trip?
In one moment, I was literally 15-20 feet away from two families of bears. It was an absolutely incredible experience. I have had many people ask if it was a “good idea” to get that close and my response is that I would never know until I tried it. I apply that thinking to a lot of my life and it becomes more rewarding as a result!
What did you learn?
Prior to the trip, I had recently had shoulder surgery and was forced to go from an active lifestyle to a routine of sitting and resting. Through the experience, I learned that my body was something I had to take care of if I wanted it to last. The seminars taught us that a clean diet makes your mind, body, and soul stronger. They identified foods that power all three and foods that drag you down as well. I also learned how amazing it was to exercise the way we were meant to – outside hiking and fishing, and experiencing nature. In addition to the changes in perspective discussed below, this was a great lesson I brought back with me.
How did the trip change your perspective at work?
Throughout the Wellness Week, my perspective changed in two major ways. For someone that loves to go all in all the time, I recognized that your body and mind will eventually max out. As much as I wanted to keep pedaling during the medical test, I couldn’t. I have used this lesson at work many times. You have to find breaks or the quality of your work will suffer. I’ve also become more passionate about being present at work, and in all things I do. During the IQ test, there was one split second where I thought I could answer a client’s text and still perform well. The results proved otherwise – showing a clear dip for that short moment. I now try to prioritize one thing at a time, and not let my mind be distracted.
How did it feel to be nominated for a SLASH Award?
It was an incredible honor to know that I had made an impact so significant that colleagues took time out of their busy schedules to nominate me for this prestigious award. The award gave me an impactful sense of accomplishment and gratitude here at Team One.
What advice do you have for others looking for inspiration at work?
I encourage all of us to live outside our comfort zone. Prove out whether your ideas are good or bad and go outside! Worst case scenario a bear kills you!
About the Team One SLASH Awards
2020 marked a decade since the first SLASH awards were handed out. We created them in 2010 to sharpen our focus on launching remarkable ideas into the world. Awarded once a year, the SLASH Award is the highest recognition a Team One employee can garner. Think of it as a modern version of “employee of the year.”
The name SLASH is a reference to how major contributors are listed in creative awards credits – with a slash between names. This idea inspired our annual award, as its Team One recipient – recognized by their colleagues – represents the most inspirational examples of extreme collaboration in the service of remarkable ideas.
In addition to earning the glory and admiration from all T1’ers, each SLASH Award recipient is rewarded with one week of paid leave and up to $5,000 to have an experience that nurtures their creative spirit and helps them to generate fresh ideas.