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CourseStormers Gather for In-Person Connection and Some Friendly Competition

Abigail Green

August 10, 2023

CourseStorm is growing. We are hiring new team members, scaling up our internship program, serving new customers, and every day we are connecting more learners to life-changing educational opportunities. 

We took some time recently as a company to celebrate our growth and reenergize ourselves to continue to work toward our ambitious goal of making 3 million connections to education by 2025. We are well on our way!  

One Thursday in July, CourseStormers gathered from all over our home state of Maine as well as from Maryland and Arizona. For many of us, it was the first time meeting our colleagues in person. For others, it was a happy reunion. For all of us, it was a chance to connect, learn more about each other, and have some fun in beautiful Belfast, Maine. 

Photos from CourseStorm's 2023 in-person employee get-together in Maine

Celebrating personal and professional growth

Kicking things off, CEO and co-founder Brain Rahill gave a heartfelt speech about how far CourseStorm has come. He reflected on the early days as a scrappy startup, when he and co-founder Matt James slept on the floor while attending a conference. Looking around the room, he marveled at the now 20+ employees and interns who are dedicated to fulfilling CourseStorm’s mission to streamline access to education and spur personal growth for as many people as possible. 

“While we may think we’re in the education technology business, we are actually in the personal growth business.” – CEO Brian Rahill

Brian called out employees by name and gave shoutouts to recently promoted members of the leadership team, acknowledging everyone for their commitment to personal growth and willingness to do hard things. He read off examples of recent course registrations CourseStorm has facilitated: Python programming, childbirth preparation, nursing assistant certification, improv, intro to Spanish. 

“While we may think we’re in the education technology business, we are actually in the personal growth business. Every registration represents a step along a student’s personal growth journey that we have facilitated,” noted Brian. And everyone at the company is here because we wholeheartedly believe in the power of education to change lives. 

Launching our next chapter

Next up on the agenda, we did what we at CourseStorm do best: try new things, fail, learn from our mistakes, and have fun in the process. On this day, that took the form of … bottle rockets! 

Taking a STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics — approach to the project, we started by decorating empty 2-liter bottles with paint, tape, jewels, and more. Some people got really into embellishing their rockets, while others focused on aeronautics. 

Then we headed outside to a nearby park to launch our bottle rockets. CourseStormers love a little friendly competition, so predictions were made for whose rockets would go the highest and farthest. The jury’s still out on the winner, but Matt’s undecorated “control” rocket and Brian’s extra-long rainbow-hued rocket were both in the running.

Photos of the bottle rocket launch from CourseStorm's 2023 in-person employee get-together in Maine

Competing for the best company culture

After lunch, it was time for the CourseStorm Olympics. The planning committee put a lot of work into coming up with numerous games to challenge everyone physically and mentally. From balloon races to cup stacking to archery and more, each team showed off their speed, agility, and/or sense of humor as they competed for first place. Winners were gifted trophies and tents. (In addition to being fun and competitive, we CourseStormers are an outdoorsy bunch!)

We are grateful to work at a place committed to fostering a positive, inclusive company culture for its employees.

We finished the day worn out, but with warm feelings about our wonderful company and colleagues, grateful that we work at a place as committed to fostering a positive, inclusive company culture for its employees as CourseStorm. 

We’re happy to share the secrets of our success! Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and check out some of the ways we build connection and camaraderie as a mostly remote team in our blog post, Fun Icebreakers for Adults to Use in Classes, Meetings, and More

Abigail Green

Abby has overseen content development for higher education degree programs related to education, technology, business, and healthcare. One of her first jobs after college was working with children’s programs for the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She is an experienced and versatile writer and editor whose work has been published by Johns Hopkins, the University of Baltimore Alumni Magazine, and The Chicago Tribune.

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