4 retreat activities that teach our Mastermind members the art of storytelling (through brilliant metaphors)

Welcome to “What I Did Last Week (and what I’m looking forward to),” a newsletter where I offer actionable tips, based on what I am doing personally and professionally.

Today at a glance

  • How I’m structuring time away for 2 months in the South of France (not vacation)
  • Lessons on storytelling from “Uncle Vanya” on Broadway
  • Packing cubes and gadgets I’m road testing on this trip
  • The activities my Mastermind members will be doing on their retreat (and the metaphors for good storytelling)


“What? Why are you gone for so long?”

“What will you do by yourself for 2 months?”

“I’m so jealous.”

Today, I leave to work in France for 2 months.
Those were the responses I got this week as I said goodbyes to friends, trainers, colleagues this week.

It only took me 10 years, leaving a full time paycheck, a ton of focus, and systems thinking in order to create this for myself.

My time away will be very structured and -so not.

Members of my Mastermind will be on their retreat Week 1.  

Then it’s an important silent retreat for me.

  • I think about my business for this year and next.
  • I start interviewing members for the 2025 class of my Mastermind The waitlist is open for the Class of 2025.
  • I’ll read a ton, but the way I integrate the learning is by writing about it publicly.
  • I walk. Be with my own thoughts.
  • I think about my relationships. It’s harder to assess them when you’re in them day and day out. Am I being understood? Heard? Seen? If not, what needs to change?
  • Do they change, or do I?
  • I’ll explore Antibes, Gordes, Eze, Saint Tropez— all accessible by train, ferry or bus.
  • Big spaces. Big ideas.

And of course, I’ll be writing.

To desire to create something bigger is stirring.


What I Did Last Week

Saturday, I saw “Uncle Vanya” at Lincoln Center, featuring Steve Carrell and Alfred Molina in starring roles on stage.

Running counter to the theme of this newsletter, the adaptation of Anton Chekov’s play is about a “life wasted.” Like most Russian writing, there are like TEN characters (think Tolstoy’s War and Peace). I didn’t understand who was who until the second act.

I was most taken by actual rain that fell on stage on Steve Carrell. That must suck night after night, getting drenched on a theater in the round in service of one’s craft.

Carrell has a massive outburst in Act 2, but what was missing was the slow boil leading up to.

It’s something I share when I’m working with my storytelling clients.

Create contrast. I can’t appreciate the higher highs, if you don’t share the lower lows and humble beginnings.

Edit, edit edit. Hold details back, so the climax actually lands.

What was life like BEFORE the big incident?

What is the BIG incident?

What is life like AFTER the incident?

Think of a comedian. If he/she gave away the punchline first, and then shared the ‘lead up,’ wouldn’t you be totally disappointed? Storytelling isn’t any different.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

My boyfriend jokes that I enjoy the packing more than I like going on the trip. I’ve been “practice packing” for a week.

Items I’m road testing on this trip

  • Parallelle vanity. Call it a hangover from my TV days, but I have ALOT of makeup brushes. Call it aging, but I have ALOT of lotions and potions for my face. This portable vanity keeps all the products upright and easy to see/access/apply in spaces with limited surface areas.
  • Cadence capsules. These are all over my Instagram feed, so I bought a set of three. All my lotions and potions go in and don’t threaten to leak out. I already road tested them in Moab earlier this year.
  • Bagail Compression Bags. I’m just gonna say it. I’m obsessed with packing cubes. This is my first go-around with bags that feature a zipper to compress items. I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Hero carabiner. This allows me to attach my sun hat to my backpack. If I need to hang my bag on the back of a bathroom door with no hooks, it also comes in handy.
  • Silicon Bag. More sturdy than a plastic bag, I can pack nuts, chocolate, and fruit for the beach or a walk. It’s also easy to put in the dishwasher.
  • Tripod bag. I plan to film and photograph with my Sony EV-10 camera while away for 2 months. I bought this 31 inch bag for my sturdy tripod. Its honestly a little too big, but it does the job for $30.00.
  • Beach bag from Target. When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher Mrs Taylor told to my mother she had never seen a child so meticulous about matching her jewelry to her outfits. I bought this $35 bag a. because it matches the black band on my Panama Hat b. because it looks like a similar bag made by Ted Baker, but for the fraction of the cost.

What am I looking forward to

I’ve been a TV news anchor for 27 years. (business news)

Today, I host a 12 month Mastermind where I’m working with my women leaders on 3 things:

  • Mindset
  • Build of personal brand
  • Business

The program culminates in the members giving a TED style Talk on a NYC stage in front of a live audience.

Each year, to get my Mastermind members outside their comfort zones (and thinking differently), I design a retreat in another country.

This year is Nice, France.

I call it their “Deep writing and reflection retreat.” I will be sharing exercises to harvest deeply personal stories that can be used in their personal brands and their talk on stage in November.

Since I’m asking for vulnerability, it makes sense to create both the calendar space and the mental white space in another country to do this kind of writing/sharing.

Now, there are women who can’t give me 12 months, but want to knock out their storytelling strategy in 1 day. So I am also doing 1 day intensives with my C level women leaders in Nice, thus the two month stay. 

I’m leveraging my journalism gifts to help them tell a better story about themselves (and hopefully) get vulnerable in a safe way

BUT– here are the 4 activities my Mastermind will be up to (and the metaphors for each)

  • Writing in a French Villa. 
  • Cooking Class. We visit the main food market in Nice to get ingredients for the class, head to the studio to make the meal and sit down to enjoy the meal by 3pm. I build the metaphor for the patience needed to build a writing habit. Testing. Experimenting. Consuming the end result.
  • Perfume making class. Since my Mastermind members are working on crafting their personal brands this year, learning the architecture of perfume is a perfect metaphor. The base notes are the one thing you are known for. The heart notes are the medium/content that amplify/relay the message. The top notes are the first impression you make with top of funnel content to build engagement.
  • Day sail from Nice to Cannes. I’ve chartered a boat to sail to an underwater eco museum. Artist Jason deCaires Taylor has monster  installations under the sea, ready for us to snorkel through.  I design ‘off-the beaten’ path wonder trips like this to spark writing inspiration in my clients. I’m dying to see what it inspires this trip

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1.Join the Samita Lab Mastermind. Join 7 other women leaders in the core program that sits at the center of my business model. The Mastermind teaches you exactly how to build a powerful person brand and the mindset to support it. It culminates in a TEDx talk on stage in front of 200 people at the end.

I only enroll for this program once a year.

The waitlist is open for the Class of 2025.

2. The Anatomy of a ‘No’ If you’re struggling to say ‘no’ gracefully at work, I created a free download here with scripts (15,000 downloaded)

I’ll add to it each week.

3. Help! I need confidence! ****Join 2500 people in taking my mini-public speaking Masterclass. Learn to organize a compelling talk and my framework for making it super easy.

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