This week, I had a Zoom call with A, who was thinking about how to plan retreats in Portugal for C-level women. A colleague in common knew that I drive a big part of my programming at the Women’s Leadership Lab with retreats and adventures. I was happy to share my process.
Video here if you prefer to listen.
My Mastermind is spending the year building a powerful personal brand, culminating in all 8 giving a Tedx style talk on a New York City stage November 16th. I’m encouraging them to dig deep to find deeply personal stories that will support the message they share in their talks. At the five month mark, I hosted a deep writing and reflection retreat for them at a 900- year-old castle in Chianti. I shared the steps I took to book the villa in Tuscany:
1. Have a vision. When I first started hosting retreats in 2014, my tour operator asked why I had to do Florence. “why not do— Connecticut?” Have a clear vision. This villa has been on my vision board for years. I searched thru 8 villas till I found it. Then I ran it thru my metrics. How many bedrooms. How many en-suite bathrooms. Distance from a major city (in case of emergencies or airport access) and fireplace
2. Find a partner on the ground aligned with your values. Someone who understands working with Americans. I’ve done events in France , India, Morocco. I’m the money person. I need to form a budget for the food and the chef. Months went by and finally I demanded someone who understood English and my urgency. 24 hours later. I had a budget. Not weeks later.
3. Create a landing page. I paint the picture of what it would be like to be where I am taking you. There is a schedule of what you are doing each day. You know when there is free time. I also have the programming laid out. My mastermind is getting ready to give a Tedx talk on Nov 16th. This is deep reflection and writing time.
Also if you don’t have people who know each other, I create profiles of each attendee so the networking starts long before the retreat
4 Send updates to keep the enthusiasm up. I booked this a year ago. I send an updates on one activity or highlight one aspect of the retreat each week in the lead up to our time there. We did a cooking class. A wine and bike. Olive oil tasting.
5. Take time for recovery. This is new for me, but I have started to build in time for myself after being in ‘people management mode’ for 7 days straight. I spent a few days in Florence on my own, going to yoga overlooking the Duomo, visiting a spa and sitting in squares, watching the city go by.