Sensei’s Annual Science Retreat: Where Intellect Meets Inspiration
Revolutionary ideas – the kind enthusiastically scribbled onto a napkin at a dinner party – arise when intellect and inspiration converge. At Sensei, our people have the intellect. My job as a leader is to create the inspiration.
That’s a key premise behind Sensei’s annual science retreat: it’s a dedicated time for bright minds to think, and to think together, in an environment far removed from the whirring of centrifuges or the hum of office chatter. Earlier this month, we held our 4th annual retreat where all of Sensei was tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains for three days, discussing science through talks and group sessions, bonding by the campfire, and listening to an esteemed invited speaker.
This event has its roots many years ago, when I attended several company retreats for my first job out of college as a research associate at an up-and-comping biotech startup. It infused a lasting impression about the importance that camaraderie plays among colleagues who are united in the goal of creating life-changing medicines. Nearly 30 years later, as a CEO, I have the great pleasure of creating that experience for my employees; there’s no better feeling than seeing them draw inspiration from enjoying each other’s company. Fortuitously, our retreat was bookended by bear sightings, which felt like a positive omen that this year’s event was of great importance.
The relationships and ideas fostered at the retreat have lasting effects. Sensei operates in two locations, so bringing everyone together in one place has had an obvious, positive impact on the dialogue between groups. In the past, the retreat has helped spark drug discovery campaigns: our bispecific program, recently announced in our quarterly earnings, sprung out of last year’s annual retreat.
We returned to our labs and offices in the days following the gathering with a renewed sense of commitment to our work and to each other. I have no doubt that we will see new ideas born of this year’s retreat come to fruition, and I look forward to continuing our annual tradition next year.