The Art and Spirit of Leadership: Peace and Justice Faculty/Staff Spring Retreat

By Abbie Potter Henry, Senior Instructional Assistant, Reading, at Osceola Campus


Twenty-five Valencia faculty and staff members gathered Thursday, February 13 through Saturday, February 15, 2014, for an annual leadership retreat organized by Valencia’s Peace and Justice Initiative.

The retreat focused on two books, “Leadership in the Crucible of Work” by Valencia President Dr. Sandy Shugart and “The Art and Spirit of Leadership” by Judy Brown. The purpose of the retreat was two-fold: to help participants appreciate and nurture the inner springs that nourish authentic leaders and to learn ways to strengthen our Valencia community.

On Thursday evening, the retreat began at Dr. Shugart’s home with a delicious dinner catered by Cabin Creek Food Services. After dinner, participants were invited to join a lively conversation with Dr. Shugart about his book and his experiences as a leader. He ended the evening by singing and playing guitar.

On Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15, the retreat was facilitated by Elaine Sullivan, an experienced therapist, workshop facilitator and teacher for 35 years. In 2010, Sullivan was awarded the prestigious Halbert Dunn Award at the National Wellness Institute’s Wellness Conference for her outstanding work.

Participants gathered at The Cabin at Lake Lily for two full days of activities that included large group discussions, small breakout groups of three practicing deep listening and asking open-ended questions and individual times of reflection and writing. Some activities took place inside the cabin, but there were also ample opportunities to enjoy the serenity of the lake and surrounding green space.

The entire experience provided participants with an opportunity to truly experience Valencia’s vision statement as a place, “that transforms lives, strengthens community and inspires individuals to excellence.”

This annual spring retreat is open to all staff, faculty and administrators. Please plan to join us next year. For more information contact

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