Why host a retreat for one organization when you can share it with two? This is exactly what we did for a retreat I facilitated for two organizations working to improve the lives of people with diabilities: The ARC and STAR, Inc. Both are grantees of the John Gogian Foundation, who has invited me to present twice to their grantees on best practices related to Boards.
Building upon the success of the workshops I led, the Gogian Foundation wanted to launch a pilot program to give boards the opportunity to build upon these workshops during a retreat for their organization. She asked if I could facilitate a workshop for two organizations simultaneously and I said sure, no problem. Both Boards wanted to use time at the retreat to reflect on their boards and prioritize ways to grow. We put together a half-day retreat and focused it on five areas: board roles and responsibilities, leadership, best practices, stages of board development and recruitment.
I designed the retreat to have a mix of breakout groups for each topic area we addressed. For two of the sessions, I had each board meet individually to have a space to reflect on these issues and discuss next steps. In two other sections, I mixed the large group up, once in three small groups and the other time pairing people up. I loved the synergy in the room as folks from these two different boards interacted with each other and shared ideas. While both organizations work on a similar set of issues, their strategies for doing so compliment each other.
After the training, we received a tour of ARC’s inspiring facility. Not only is it a space where lives are transformed, but they also have a conference center nonprofits can use (located in Downey). There was something powerful about seeing people connect – everyone shared a similar passion and wanted to explore ways in which to grow their boards. Having two groups in the same room led to a greater variety of ideas, strategies and perspectives shared and everyone, including myself, walked away energized and recharged.