Elevating Employee Experience with the Cakers’ Summit

We recently celebrated our 10th anniversary! This fantastic achievement gave us a great opportunity to gather up as many Cakers as possible at our Florianopolis headquarters for a Cakers’ Sumit.

This epic celebration allowed us all to celebrate our achievements in 2023 and the previous decade and bring the company together around our shared values and culture. 

Today, we’re pulling back the curtain on this momentous occasion and just how much 10 years’ worth of accomplishments means to everyone at Cheesecake Labs.

How the Cakers’ Summit came to be

It’s always important for us to find ways to make our team feel recognized and appreciated for all the hard work they do and all the value they bring to Cheesecake Labs.

Our 2023 at Cheesecake Labs

2023 was a big year for us at Cheesecake Labs. We got to work on some amazing projects with MoneyGram and Stellar, FINN, and a whole lot more!

We were honored to receive several awards, including being named the #1 Mobile App Development Company in Brazil and the #1 Web App Development Company in Latin America.

And we got to wrap up the year by marking 10 years in business. We could go on, but instead, we’ll point you toward our 2023 roundup to learn more about what we were up to last year!

Nurturing our remote-first culture 

One of the big things we’re always looking to do is keep our Cakers engaged with our remote-first culture. Like many other companies, we became a remote-first company out of necessity during COVID lockdowns. But we decided to remain remote-first after seeing the benefits and opportunities it gave us. 

We love that working remotely means we get to work with a wider range of talented tech professionals all across Brazil and that Cakers get to work where and how they want to work. 

The decision to remain remote-first meant we had to rethink how we foster connection and collaboration within the team and still pass the benefits on to our clients.

We also knew we needed to be thoughtful about how we fostered leadership development within a remote-first environment, ensuring we gave every Caker a chance to make their voices heard and work toward their personal and professional goals.

So far, being remote-first has been a great success! It’s allowed us to grow from 40 Cakers in 2020 to over 70 today. And we have Cakers living in 35 different cities and 12 out of Brazil’s 27 states. 

Gamification through our CultureXplore program

Getting that remote-first balance right is always a learning experience, and we’re always looking for ways to improve the employee experience for everyone at Cheesecake Labs.

One of the things we’ve been working on recently is building gamification into our culture as a way to boost employee engagement and satisfaction. 

Our CultureXplore gamification program is a fun way for us to nurture our culture and company values. CultureXplore rewards Cakers who actively participate in our cultural practices. We do this with a series of regular activities where Cakers can earn points (we call them CakerCoins) for giving feedback, voting for who practiced English the most each week, joining quarterly onboarding events for new Cakers, and much more.

The project has been very well received by our team, and we’re excited to keep developing CultureXplore in 2024 and beyond.

At the end of last year, the 10th anniversary was an excellent chance for us to bring that gamification to an in-person event. We did that by letting people earn CakerCoins during the event.

They could then exchange their CakerCoins at the Caker Shop for company merch like jackets, coffee mugs, or beer cups available at the Cakers’ Summit or store them in Stellar wallets for future transactions.

Here’s how we brought everyone together for a once-in-a-decade in-person event that celebrated and supported our unique company culture.

Building the main event

From Pride Week to Female Week to our end-of-the-year review, we’re experts at running remote-first events. But this in-person event was the chance to combine the best of both worlds. 

To do that, we split the Cakers’ Summit into two main parts:

  1. Part one was our traditional yearly recap that included a look back at 2023, awards, and a special look at 10 years of Cheesecake Labs.
  2. Part two was a celebration with interactive experiences, music, food, and lots of meaningful, in-person connections.

Here’s how everything went!

Getting into the celebration swing

Our 2023/ten-year recap was live-streamed for any Cakers who couldn’t participate in the celebrations in person — nobody was missing out on the fun on our watch! 

Our CEO, Marcelo Gracietti, kicked things off by presenting some highlights from the past ten years, including how our values of responsibility, respect, and collaboration have helped us continue delivering WOW experiences for our clients. His fun presentation included some awards to Cakers who truly embody those values. 

cheesecake labs' team at the party

Then, it was the People and Culture team’s turn to take the mic! I joined Caroline Schmitz, our Chief of People and Culture, to announce more awards based on our values. But you better believe this wasn’t any old boring award announcement. We had a speech for every award to celebrate each Caker honored and recognize their top-notch professional achievements that have made Cheesecake Labs’ continued success possible. 

These awards allowed everyone to celebrate in person together, making for an amazing atmosphere of excitement and fun! 

To keep things going, we showcased some client testimonials and videos talking about their time working with the Cheesecake Labs team — a good way for us to reflect on our past projects. 

We wrapped up with a champagne toast to 10 years, led by our C-levels, and passed out our brand new Cheesecake Labs t-shirts celebrating our decade of operation. We raised our glasses to everything that came before that moment and all the exciting things yet to come. 

cheesecake labs 10-year celebration party

Peeking behind the curtain at the Cheesecake Labs Cakers’ Summit

Of course, we always do things the Cheesecake Labs way — we built a mobile cross-application just for the event! 

mobile application design for cheesecake labs' app

Here’s what Software Engineer, Leandro Pontes, had to say about the Cakers’ Summit App:

The objective was to develop an app that had experiences to be carried out in person at the event and that the Cakers would receive CakerCoins upon completing each one. For the application, we used the Flutter framework. For the backend, we developed a microservices architecture, separating the authentication service from the culture service (for event experiences) and so on. Each service has its particulars, but in general, we used some of the following technologies: NodeJS, MariaDB, Neo4J, Terraform, and RabbitMQ.

The Cakers’ Summit app

The Cakers’ Summit app included an interactive map to guide attendees around our offices (after all, some had never been there before!) 

It also included a fun icebreaker feature. After a Caker logged into the app, they were given a unique QR code. During the party, they could scan each other’s QR codes and earn 1 CakerCoin per scan. This proved to be a big hit, and everyone was racing around, trying to meet as many people as possible.

We were thrilled to see so many Cakers get the chance to meet in person for the first time and further solidify the bonds they’ve built while working together remotely.

Projects Experience

We set up the Projects Experience to let Cakers interact with some of the apps we’ve worked on over the years as if they were real end-users.

This gave developers a chance to see the apps they helped build in action and gave Cakers in less technical roles a chance to try out some of the finished apps our team has worked so hard to support and create for our clients.

That meant they could try out THAW’s heated insoles, ask Alexa about product prices on MercadoLibre, and explore the CRU app, including a Caker’s profile and all the amazing (yet sadly fictional) cars she had in her garage.

Other totally unique experiences included trying out the heating and washing features of Bemis’ bidet (which was exactly as hilarious as you imagine it would be), watching Vibrant convert USD to Argentinian Pesos in real time thanks to Stellar’s technology, and trying out Motive Health’s innovative knee pain relief wearable.

There were six project experiences in total, and Cakers who checked into each one were entered into a drawing for two awesome gift vouchers.


So, where did they spend all their CakerCoins? At the CakerShop, of course!

We had an honor system shop showcasing some of our favorite Cheesecake Labs swag and merch. We included a variety of old and new items to give everyone (even newer Cakers) the chance to pick up some fun company items from throughout our last 10 years. 

Music, food, and more!

party celebration at cheesecake labs' headquarters

Of course, no party is complete without some great food, drinks, and music, and we had it all. The professional DJ had everyone out on the dance floor, and our homemade karaoke setup let us sing the night away.

The whole experience was an absolute blast, but it is one of those things where, well, you had to be there. So, here are just a few more highlights of the night:

  • A professional photographer snapped photos of everyone as they arrived to capture the excitement of the moment.
  • We had a special room where people could take new headshots and update their company avatars.
  • Our six meeting pods were set up to showcase the company’s history, including old logos, taglines, GPTW awards across the years, and more. 
  • We loved seeing so many Cakers meet in person for the first time and enjoy our office space.

What Cakers Thought of the Cakers’ Summit

The app was an amazing idea for an icebreaker!

It was lovely to get to know each other in person and meet new Cakers and Cakers I don’t usually interact with on a daily basis. It was a great time to talk, laugh, and sing karaoke together. Also, the CKL app was an AWESOME surprise and a cool icebreaker to meet Cakers beyond my team and squad.

Everything was perfect! I just loved the whole experience.

The app experience was super fun and creative. I really liked the idea of encouraging people who don’t know each other to chat! And the cheesecake was great, I even want the contact info of whoever made it 😅

That’s right, no celebration of Cheesecake Labs would be complete without real cheesecakes. They were delicious! And for some Cakers, it was their first time trying cheesecake!

Looking forward to more Caker celebrations

The Cakers’ Summit was a truly one-of-a-kind experience for everyone at Cheesecake Labs. We were thrilled to gather everyone together, give everyone a chance to interact in person, and feel like they had somewhere they truly belonged. 

We’ve been remote-first since the start of the pandemic, and we’re always learning how best to bring people together no matter where they’re working.

This fun celebration was the perfect opportunity to champion our values and ensure our Cakers’ engagement and experience are always improving. 

The Cakers’ Summit reminded us that, sometimes, getting everyone together in one place to celebrate the big wins is just what you need to boost spirits and reinvigorate that sense of company pride.

And that’s how our Cakers felt too! In our e-NPS January survey, they said they returned to their remote lives more motivated and engaged, and with a renewed enthusiasm to represent Cheesecake Labs.

We are 100% committed to our remote-first culture, but going forward, we’re definitely keeping our eyes out for potential opportunities to meet up in person and bring people together to celebrate our culture and our people.

We are so proud of the journey each and every Caker took to get to 10 years of Cheesecake Labs, and we can’t wait to see how they continue to grow and share our values with the world.

talent pool cheesecake labs

If you’d like the chance to work with some amazing Cakers, apply to join our Talent Pool — we’d love to hear from you!

About the author.

Helena Maes Marques
Helena Maes Marques

Passionate about people, culture, and cappuccinos. Wants to provide the best working environment for everyone and promote Cheesecake Labs to the world.