Lab Fun

Street Tacos

The CMRU crew had a blast at an event packed with street taco showdowns. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves! Wyatt took an early lead, but Pedro, Zubin and Kazim quickly closed the gap. In the end though, Ambarish surged ahead to claim victory and be crowned the ultimate taco champion!

How do you develop a cohesive, effective team during a period of rapid growth?

“Building a highly efficient, openly collaborative, strategic, and creative team within a short time – in addition to the necessary research infrastructure to support its activities – presented an ideal opportunity for a team-centered exercise to establish a positive, inclusive culture that drives innovation,” says Michael Mitakidis, M.D., an Instructor in the Division of Cardiology who heads the unit’s administration and operations. “So we engaged in a creative art activity using color and texture on canvas. Our CMRU team members were able to freely express themselves and celebrate their own unique style in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.”

Facilitated by Nivedita Patni, M.D., an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and an artist and photographer, the event allowed the participants to put aside their research roles for a brief time and enjoy each other’s company while creating abstract art pieces.

“Our research has the potential to impact large populations, so the work can sometimes be intense,” Dr. Mitakidis says. “Team-building exercises like this one can improve problem solving and fuel innovation and productivity.”

Scheduling a two-hour activity can be a challenge because of having to coordinate multiple calendars, he adds, but the effort was well worth it.

“The event added to our team spirit and underscored the culture of collaboration, inclusion, and desire for everyone to succeed in whatever we undertake to do,” he says. “It was heartwarming to see team members interact in a non-competitive setting laughing together and creating deeper connections. We’re so often focused on projects, tasks, trials, and scientific data that dominate our work, so we welcomed the opportunity to put all that aside for a while to engage in a fun, relaxing activity.”

His advice for other teams is to create opportunities to bring members together.

“A happy team performs better,” Dr. Mitakidis says.

Team Building