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2019 Women in Leadership Retreat: Life-Altering, Inspiring, Confidence-Boosting

Monday, May 6, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lori Spear
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Part of the SAIS mission is to provide visionary leadership development and judging by attendee comments, the 2019 SAIS Leadership Retreat hit the mark. A first of its kind for SAIS, the event focused on supporting and preparing women for leadership roles. From classroom teachers to heads of school, a record 52 attendees spent two days in New Orleans to network, build skills, and reflect on their own leadership competencies, strengths, and areas for growth. Strong, successful, female leaders are not new to independent schools, but their numbers still fall behind their male counterparts. Within the SAIS membership, 24% of heads of school are women, while 30% of NAIS schools are headed by females.

Erin Fischer from The Leadership and Training Studio led the group through sessions on giving and receiving effective feedback, mastering difficult conversations, moving from great ideas into action, and developing the confidence needed to lead a successful team. Erin stayed true to her company’s claim as “the anti-lecture agency,” keeping participants actively engaged, intrigued, and laughing.

Bridging theory with application, the Wonder Women Panel offered insight from five outstanding female leaders from SAIS schools: Rachel Deems, Spartanburg Day School; Autumn Graves, Girls Preparatory School; Marcia Prewitt Spiller, Woodward Academy; Penny Townsend, Ransom Everglades School; and Jackie Westerfield, Grandview Preparatory School. The discussion included balancing work and home life, lessons learned, and advice for career advancement.

This was not a retreat to attend and file away, but rather a jumping off point for developing critical leadership skills, creating cohesive teams, and achieving new goals. Over the two days, attendees created a “user manual” to take home to share with supervisors and colleagues, documenting their own competencies, the most effective ways to motivate and communicate with them, and big ideas they would like to implement.

Visit our photo album here.

Here’s what attendees had to say about their experience:

  • “The level of engagement during this workshop is unmatched by any other workshop I have attended.”
  • “The retreat unveiled some things I would like to work on, but ultimately boosted my confidence in things I do well.”
  • “This experience was life-altering as I move forward to the next stage of my career.”
  • “The impact of being surrounded by such amazing women in education was so inspiring.”
  • “Simply put, this was the best professional conference I have attended. It is exactly what I need to learn in order to grow.”

Mark your calendars for next year’s retreat, April 20-21, 2020, Leading Planned Change: How to Build Leadership Capacity Across Your School.

We will focus specifically on women in alternate years. Plan ahead to join us April 19-20, 2021, for Women and Leadership: Patterns, Strategies, and Tools for Navigating Your Leadership Journey.





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