Endeavor Global Annual Retreat – Diversity As A Source Of Truth

This became a reality just a couple of weeks ago, when the Endeavor Entrepreneur Experience (EX) and MarCom teams converged in Milan for the Global EX and MarCom Retreats, with a one-day overlap for both teams. It was a very powerful experience that, beyond being memorable through the people, it was also a rather insightful learning opportunity.

The retreats were meticulously crafted with richly curated agendas, featuring peer-to-peer discussions, sessions on shaping the future of Endeavor, knowledge sharing, and inspiring talks. The excitement continued with various side activities such as running the iconic “e” (Endeavor’s logo), sharing diverse snacks from each country, swapping books, playing Endeavor’s board game, engaging in pasta cooking, and indulging in lots of Italian cuisine!

The activities extended to honoring work anniversaries, celebrating a birthday and also Bulgaria’s Baba Marta, quite literally embracing the global diversity in our organization’s DNA.

Fertile ground for knowledge sharing 

One of the best things about Endeavor Staff coming together in one place is that it creates an excellent space for conversation, comparison and insights. The power of this almost geometric perspective of entrepreneurship is that it opens our typically hyper-focused lenses to a much larger picture.

If the common denominator of all Endeavor offices is helping entrepreneurs navigate a significant growth inflection point, the differences are even more fascinating to look at. I kept thinking that when Endeavor opened its office in Argentina, in 1997, Romania was just starting to embrace capitalism. Our market is still figuring out its competitive advantages, and we’ve still got a long way to go, but having this kind of unfiltered, hands-on access to a global network is a huge benefit for Endeavor Romania.

At the beginning of the event Allen Taylor, Head of Endeavor Catalyst and Entrepreneur Experience, inspired us with visionary provocations about the future of entrepreneurship, reminding us that the success of Endeavor lies in the success of every Endeavor Entrepreneur, and that building Endeavor as an aspirational brand is the foundation of empowering entrepreneurs to succeed. This is especially true since globally distributed networks will be the future compared to the past when geography mattered a great deal and segmented the natural growth of both high impact individuals and the tech they built.

Silvia Cavalcanti, our Global CMO, encouraged us to co-create transformational experiences and to rethink the role of meaningful content based on four pillars. One thing she said that really stuck with me was that ‘The core of who we are is the network, and the core of what we offer is our network.’ And while we used to say that Endeavor is the world’s best-kept secret, we are now on track to becoming a widespread aspirational community. In this growth phase, the multiplier effect that we preach in all our markets will be our yardstick for measuring success.

We were lucky to have two Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Italy share insights from their journey of building multimillion-dollar businesses: Alberto Dalmasso from Satispay, a Fintech Unicorn from Italy that raised $320M in 2022 and Stefano Portu from ShopFully, a global e-commerce integrator that connects 30M+ users with more than 250k stores. A genuine part of the conversation was about making the employees think of themselves as the software on which the success of your organization runs. While you should think of them as humanly and empathically as possible, it’s also useful to challenge them professionally and to empower them to learn constantly.

The second discussion featured Danila de Stefano, the founder and CEO of Unobravo, an online therapy service that connects users with the right therapist. Alongside her husband, Danila is an Endeavor Entrepreneur that has managed to scale the business to a base of 40.000 professionals, and has raised a $17M Series A round by Insight Partners.

On top of these panels, the informal talks about the most pressing challenges and opportunities we face as part of Endeavor were key for making the gathering a complete successl. The core topics that kept coming up and are essential for providing the best support to our entrepreneurs were Mission-Aligned Scale-Up Programs, Innovating on Access to Markets, Fostering Regional Collaboration, Sustainable C-level communities, Diaspora Strategy.

The learning 

To loosely paraphrase Tolstoy, success looks alike wherever we see it, but every company has its own journey to follow. Growth/scaling can seem a lonely road to walk on at times, and having access to a vast pool of entrepreneurs who have been through this is not only a powerful motivator, but a source of truth.

In my opinion, drawing learnings and finding common denominators, identifying patterns of success and then molding them into an actionable strategy that fits your company’s hyper-specific needs is the best (if not only) cheat sheet you get as an entrepreneur.