Laughs, reflection, insightful conversations, team encouragement and more filled the air last week as the z2 team headed to Grand Geneva Resort & Spa for our annual retreat. We gathered to take a look back at the past year and explore ways to grow individually, as a team, and as a company.

View of the sunrise from Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

View of the sunrise from Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

To kick things off, we reviewed our creed as a reminder of who we are and what we strive to achieve not only for our clients and ourselves, but also for z2. We then took a look at highlights from 2014 and the beginning of 2015 – all an inspiring reminder of the great work we’ve done together.

A big initiative for Deb and Cory is to pay it forward, so we were given 30 minutes to leave the space and do a random act of kindness. Some gave money toward a meal for those in the dining area; some gave Gatorade to local construction workers; some gave money for a family activity; and some paid for someone’s gas. Regardless of what it went toward, these random acts of kindness left a genuine smile on someone’s face, in turn encouraging them to pay it forward. Isn’t it great what a little random act can do?

Ashley surprised this teenager by paying for her gas.

Ashley surprised this teenager by paying for her gas

Next, we had a little recess, where we enjoyed some lounging and drinks poolside, naps or personal time, as well as a pizza lunch. Upon our return, Deb and Cory surprised all of us with painting and drawing materials. Confused at first, we were challenged to create an RFP book on what inspires us, each employee creating a chapter using paints, words, sketches, photos and more. And yes, finger painting was allowed.

z2 employees enjoying some vitamin D out by the pool

z2 employees enjoying some vitamin D out by the pool

With a deadline looming, everyone came together to create our RFP book with his or her chapter. With our teamwork, we got the book put together by the 7:30 p.m. deadline and presented it to Deb and Cory, each explaining our personal chapters.

Some employees used paint and a canvas to create what inspires them for their RFP chapter

Some employees used paint and a canvas to create what inspires them for their RFP chapter

Relieved that we met our deadline, we headed to The Links Patio and Grill for a delicious pasta dinner and then onto the bonfire. Singing Kumbaya (i.e. poking fun at each other), playing bags, indulging in delicious cocktails and roasting marshmallows, we enjoyed each other’s company outside of the work environment.

z2 team talking around the bonfire

z2 team talking around the bonfire

While it was a whirlwind, the retreat was a great way to unwind and take our minds off of work. We came back inspired and determined to exceed our goals, aim for new ways to utilize our creativity and put out even better work for our clients.

June 9, 2015 · Posted by in art, event, misc, z2 news  

NOH8 in MKE

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Z2 is very proud to announce that NOH8 (“No Hate”) will be in Milwaukee on Friday, August 12 at InterContinental Milwaukee from 4 – 8 pm.

What is NOH8? “The NOH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8″ painted on one cheek in protest.”

How do I get my picture taken? The photo shoot at InterContinental Milwaukee on Friday, August 12 is scheduled to begin at 4pm and end at 8pm. The photos are taken on a first come, first serve basis, but we assure you that the wait will be worth it! When you get there, you’ll receive a model release to fill out and then you’ll get a NOH8 temporary tattoo. You’re asked to wear a plain white tee to match the signature look of the campaign, and after the photos have been retouched, they’ll be made available on website, usually in 4-8 weeks.

What does it cost? The cost for the NOH8 portraits are $40 for a solo portrait and $25 per person for couple and group portraits. You can pay with cash, credit and checks. “Funds raised by the NOH8 Campaign will be used to continue promoting and raising awareness for marriage equality and anti-discrimination through NOH8′s interactive media campaign.”

We’re so excited that InterContinental Milwaukee is going to be hosting this event. We look forward to seeing you there!

June 7, 2011 · Posted by in event, misc, photo  

One of the key components of my success thus far as a young creative has been involvement. Getting out there. Meeting new people. Learning about new ideas. Getting to know the movers and shakers in the Milwaukee community. Plus, being involved in the creative community is a great way to reinvigorate your own creativity. Re-motivate and re-inspire yourself, so to speak. And it never hurts to be in the know.

That’s why I’m a big supporter of networking and community gatherings that support Milwaukee’s creative culture. The following three upcoming events are personal recommendations from yours truly. I suggest you check them out:

SpreenklerTONIGHT: Spreenkler Meetup
Group of energetic creatives who gather to discuss social, tech, startups and more. The meetup consists of a little presentation or two, Q&A and then open forum. Beer and snacks are usually provided. I’ve attended this meetup for close to a year now, if not more, and in my opinion, it’s a can’t-miss event.

WriteCampSATURDAY: WriteCamp
“WriteCamp is a free, unconference designed for you to discover new ideas and connect with people who are part of the writing world in the Midwest. It’s free and open to the public — come and enjoy keynote speakers, ad-hoc presentations, networking and food.” This will be my first Write Camp visit… can’t wait!

PhotoCampSATURDAY: PhotoCamp
“PhotoCampMilwaukee is a BarCamp-like event fully focused on photography. It’s an ad-hoc un-conference for people who love photography to get together and teach what they know, and learn what they don’t.” Even though I’m no pro photographer, I do have a passion for it. Sadly, it falls on the same day as WriteCamp so I won’t be able to attend this year, but you’ll see our very own Pete if you attend!

Okay, now it’s your turn. What events here in the Milwaukee area do you love to attend? Why do you think it’s so important to stay involved with and connected to our creative community?

June 1, 2011 · Posted by in event, misc, photo  

On Saturday, April 9, chances are you could have found me with a curling iron dangerously close to my scalp. Since I had never been to an event like A Night At The Calatrava before, you can imagine the stress I went through to get ready and pick the right dress. The invitation called for guests to be “dressed to impress” and I didn’t want to disappoint.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from the highly anticipated This Time Tomorrow Foundation event at the Milwaukee Art Museum, but I was anxious to find out.

I was joined by my friend Allison, and after waiting in a short line to hand over our tickets, we marched down the red carpet, feeling a bit like celebrities as our picture was taken.

From there, we continued down the long hall toward the Calatrava and passed a large assortment of silent auction items. Many items caught our eyes, including the signed Justin Bieber photograph. Needless to say, my 14-year-old sister was very jealous that I got to see it in person – she’s got Bieber Fever!

Halfway down the hall, the smell of appetizers hit us. Wow. Rounding the corner into the Calatrava, we caught a glimpse of the tables full of food, and everything looked as amazing as it smelled. Allison and I had just gotten dinner together so we skipped the appetizers and nabbed a bunch of the delicious desserts later in the night.

After saying “hello” to some familiar faces, we grabbed a couple glasses of Chardonnay and socialized, all while taking in the enormity of the Calatrava. You don’t realize how big it truly is until there’s an entire stage and hundreds of people mingling in it.

Oh, and I should add that when there’s a party like this going on, Milwaukeeans sure know how to dress to impress!

“What stuck with me from the event was the mother who spoke about her young daughter’s experience with Leukemia.  Their story was powerful and made me feel fortunate to have had a normal childhood,” Allison said about LLS “Girl of the Year” Corah Buth, pictured above with her parents and older sister.

Sadly, neither of us won the Lime Citrine necklace raffle, but we had a wonderful time nonetheless. The speeches were touching, the music was great and the Calatrava looked amazing, filled with hundreds of caring Milwaukee community members.

As Allison so aptly put it, “Milwaukee has a big heart, and I’m proud we came together for a cause like that.”

April 20, 2011 · Posted by in event, misc  

Social Media Event
Z2 recently held a Social Media Event for one of our clients, and promoted the concept that you need to make your organization social from the inside out, utilizing a social media mindset in your processes and way of thinking rather than seeing social media as just another channel to sell goods to customers and promote your brand. Social media is as much about listening as it is about speaking… maybe even more so. If your social media strategy is a one-way message delivery mechanism, you should take a step back and think about the value to your brand of listening (and then responding) to what people are saying about you.

September 1, 2009 · Posted by in event