Case Study #1: Taking Panic Out of the Unknown

Have you finally gotten something you asked for and then realized that the change could bring a host of uncertainty to your future? After working for a Fortune 200 business process improvement firm for three decades, Donna is still enjoying an extensive, satisfying career. Her jobs have spanned the globe and placed her in leadership roles in business and market development, product marketing, communications, training, sales and customer relations.

However, for the past eight years, her husband has been working in the Washington, DC, metro area and she in another state near corporate headquarters for her job. At first, her husband’s move was only a short-term assignment, but then it turned into a permanent position and she started asking to relocate. “When I finally got the approval to move, I was thrilled.” But with the change, Donna also worried that she would get sidetracked and pledged to make sure she stayed focused on getting what she wanted from her life and career.

As she was planning her relocation, she signed up for the Retreat. A mutual friend that knew Joan Fletcher of Winning Ways, Inc., who is the host of these retreats, suggested Donna consider the next one knowing it would help build a network of senior executive women in her new hometown, as well as offer the benefit of refining her personal and professional goals.

“I already knew what I was good at and found the exercises we did really helped get me focused on where I could grow.” Donna revealed that she wasn’t surprised by what she learned, but found it affirming to have things she believed about herself validated and used the retreat to create an action plan to guide her next steps.

“I found that what I needed was within me and received gentle guidance and examples from other women that created a calming and restorative environment that allowed good work to flow out of myself.” Donna shared that she left understanding things about herself that have changed the way she views new opportunities. What she thought would help her personal life has already benefited her professional life.

Donna is looking forward to reconnecting in person with the women she met. “I would love to do another retreat and will be sharing it with friends. So many of the activities are worth repeating and I know that I could still go deeper. The Retreat gave me an action plan that will serve me in the coming year as I’m faced with new opportunities. I found it took the panic out of what’s next for me in this new chapter of my life.”

Case Study #2:  Why Making Time to Focus on Self Is Necessary

 “I was able to get perspectives from other senior executive women who have mastered things I’m going through,” starts Susan, who manages a $40 million budget and directs a global business operation for a Fortune 500 hospitality firm. Susan looked toward the Retreat to give herself time to focus on self-improvement and reflection.

She was engaged with Joan Fletcher of Winning Ways, Inc. for executive coaching, supporting both personal and professional growth. The retreat offered Susan the ability to step away from the “hectic swirl of demands” so she could dedicate uninterrupted time to focus on her objectives. Often those things that we are really good at lead us in one direction and Susan knew the retreat would give her clarity and space to set her own course.

“The most unique aspect of the Retreat was how I discovered things about myself, alongside other executive who brought no biases, and were ready to put on a solution-oriented hat to help me.” Susan quickly added that the connection to the other participants wasn’t like summer camp, where time bonds you. “We did so much individual work, but did it in a group setting where we were driven to go inside ourselves and share information. We all discovered things about ourselves together.”

Susan also marveled at the caliber of women at the retreat: “The women were from a host of different industries that I never would have met under other circumstances. Unless they were the wives of some of my colleagues at an office party,” she added with a chuckle.

All of the women were invested to help each other with solutions and resources and that created an incredible bond. “We were encouraged and shared what we discovered, and then got valuable perspectives we would never have the ability to tap into before. The group Joan cultivated allowed us to meet at an equal level and could listen to and contribute to each other. We also faced similar expectations and challenges.”

Susan revealed that she is meeting up with attendees in a few weeks and is looking forward to seeing them again. Several of them have stayed in touch. “I know that one woman in our group was able to make a move she was planning that we discussed at the retreat. We all want to see how we can help her on her next steps. This is my cohort now and I look forward to seeing them all again.”

One unexpected outcome of the retreat was that one of the connections Susan made helped her finish an article she was writing. One afternoon, the retreat participants were encouraged to pair up with another and take a walk on the beach. Susan arrived at the retreat in the midst of working on the article, but knew that the story was missing the one component that would drive home the point. She hadn’t spent a moment thinking about it until during the beach walk when her partner shared a story about a past work experience that filled that void in her article. “I was able to get a key element to the story I needed, and when I wasn’t even thinking about it.”

The retreat offered Susan the time she needed for clarity: “I was able to focus on literal steps that will help me move toward my personal and professional goals. While some of it is still under construction, the ability to focus on me, with a group of other women who could layer in valuable resources, solutions, and experience allowed me to grow—without the constant swirl of life demands that can distract us from what is truly important to us.”