Invest in Yourself, Boss Lady, with the Women’s Executive Retreat

When consultant and trainer Kathleen Paris, Ph.D., first approached me about sponsoring a “Survive and Thrive” event for executive women at Deer Run Lodge in St. Germain, I told her she had to be crazy: “You’d have to charge a lot just to break even with expenses. It’s the wrong economy. It’s the wrong environment for an executive woman to take time off.”

Yada Yada Yada. Objection atop objection.

She wasn’t surprised. In fact, she smiled and answered pleasantly, “This is exactly the right time. It’s the right time for smart women, and particularly smart women business owners, to stop, recharge their batteries, focus on leadership skills, and to network with other influential, motivated women. This isn’t a junket; it’s an investment at exactly the right time for us.”

I put it on hold to better mull it over. I studied her program, which begins with a personal assessment by bodyworks specialist Cyndi Fine, followed by a barbeque to get acquainted, and an overview of the activities ahead. Collectively, it started to reel me in.

Intermingled with relaxation and campfire networking opportunities (pontoon boat cruise, nature walk, lobster boil) are professional and personal development programs focused on mind-body performance:

  • A leadership framework for assessing strengths, growth areas (The Clover Practice).
  • A new way to address leadership issues.
  • Adult homework with a confidential discussion of group-determined issues.
  • Critical Friends exercise for addressing management issues — and building support.
  • Communications tune-up: Executive-level e-mail, PowerPoint, public speaking, and conflict resolution practices.
  • Professional strategic planning processes and goal alignment — how to evaluate yours.
  • How to “engage” an economically-wary staff to get beyond workplace limitations.
  • Personal strategic planning.

Ideally, the program is limited to 12 guests. The price tag hovers around $1,500, depending on single/double accommodations (attendees can choose to share a room). Included also is the cost of a little pampering and 11 homemade meals. Throw in recreation and relaxation activities, and it is a rest-and-work retreat opportunity.

But make no mistake about the work assignment: “measurables” include a personal plan for the next 12 months to ensure the most essential projects and relationships are handled. And new peer relationships will be strengthened as women come together to examine and clarify leadership beliefs and “best practice” frameworks.

I also liked the idea of personal and peer coaching and the chance to get with a group that wants to get real. I don’t want to sit in seminars and listen to the latest, greatest business buzz-word philosophy; I want to work with leaders to crystallize what works best in in this economic reality. I want to be part of a group that remembers that when you do something you love, it isn’t all work; there is mind-soul connection involved, too.

I invite you to walk the [nature] walk with me and other interesting ladies at the Women’s Executive Retreat, July 26-30. I’ll also invite you to blog about the experience for our Web site; we’ll post daily reports.

E-mail kathleen@kathleenparis.com today for more info or to register.