Board and Staff Leadership Retreats

Events we are often asked to facilitate include organizational leadership retreats that we recognize represent a significant investment on the part of the organization. We have a variety of methods and approaches for creating the structure and context for a successful retreat. We often work with boards and / or staff to determine mission / vision / values for the organization, create or revisit bylaws, set guidelines and practices based in consensus among relevant parties, engage board / staff / partners in long term strategic planning, revisit and refine existing planning efforts, or create new member engagement strategies. Partners facilitated retreats emphasize productive time while valuing the team building that can happen within the organization and leadership when participatory methods are used.

Illustrative examples of our work with past clients include:

Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). Partners partnered with Brandon Sipes who has been part of the Social Transformation in Conflict project, to facilitate a strategic planning retreat for the CEO’s (chief executive officers – Presidents) and CAO’s (chief academic officers – Deans of faculty, VP’s of academic affairs, etc.) of 40 independent colleges of art and design under the auspices of the AICAD. Within the confines of a 24 hour retreat, participants decided priorities for the next several years with working groups starting implementation on each of them.

The Hopi Foundation. As a result of a Partners Facilitated strategic planning session, the Hopi Foundation established a leadership succession initiative that resulted in the creation of a leadership program to develop cohorts of leadership for organizations serving the Hopi people. After a pilot of the program, a Partners Associate came in to facilitate an in-depth review and redesign of the program based on the wisdom and learnings of participants and staff.which resulted in a revised leadership course.


English Department of Arizona State University Mission and Values clarification retreat. Worked with the English Department at ASU to clarify and formalize their mission, vision and philosophy statements with a series of afternoon facilitated workshops and work sessions.

Mercy Corps Middle East Regional Retreat. In response to the urgency of the Arab Spring, this humanitarian agency gathered to address the implications for it’s existing programming in the region and create a plan of action moving forward. Resulted in the design of several intra-agency collaborations and pilot initiatives for more innovative programs.

West Yavapai Guidance Clinic Foundation Board Retreat. This session provided an opportunity for all the members of the board to outline their shared vision for the Foundation as well as specific goals for the year. The members discerned their priorities and made decisions about their next steps.

WHO Laos Country Office Annual Planning Retreat. During this reflection and planning event, team building activities were a central theme and used local outdoor activities such as tubing and caving to create opportunities for small teams to work together and reflect on inter-group dynamics.