Written by Julia Moschetta, Summer 2018 Fellow
At the beginning of July, the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute summer team convened at the scenic Wainwright House in Rye, New York. The three-day retreat was filled with activities that solidified the bonds between co-workers, making them not only friends, but a team. Continue reading for more!
The Wainwright House was buzzing with positive energy and hopes for the three days. Decorations were being put up to help create a space unique to EFLI, and name tags were being craftily designed to give a small visual introduction to each staff member. Day one was off to a great start after discussing goals for the seven weeks of the EFLI summer.
The Connection Circle brought together members of the staff by creating a forum to share aspects of their personal life that they were bringing to the table. With the outer circle moving to the left, each individual took a minute to speak to their partner, listening intently to each other with an open mind and a compassionate heart. The circle broke so that staff members could get to know each other on an even deeper level through a Dialogue Walk.
The second day of the retreat began with yoga to reconnect the mind, body, and spirit. After discussing the activities for the summer, the group worked with workshop leader Ivan to write a song about our “honey.” “Honey” was used here as a metaphor for the passions that we have that influence others in ways that are not always obvious, but are still impactful.
Past participants and fellows joined the group for the later half of the day as a reminder that the bonds made at EFLI are long-lasting, memorable ones. These past participants not only marveled at the work that was being done, but radiated love and support for the summer that they knew the current staff was about to have.
After a communal dinner, the team headed outside for a game of soccer while the sun set. The day closed with Cosmomo, an activity that allowed the staff to discuss their experiences in life with things such as love, heartbreak, great achievements, relation to heritage, and more while sharing their musical talents. In creating a space of affirmation and understanding, the staff grew closer.
Day two was packed, though extremely rewarding, leaving the staff excited for the third and final day of retreat.
The sun rose on the Wainwright House as staff convened for yoga that turned into a silent breakfast and continued into a period of silence. The period of silence allowed the staff to reconnect with nature and the space that was created on the first day of the retreat, reminding them of the power of their words and of verbal communication. After lunch and Fellow Skillshares, staff prepared to leave the space, and got ready to close the retreat with a Gratitude Circle.
Here, fellows, staff, and interns came together for the final time this weekend to share with one another the impact that they had on each other, and to express thanks. The retreat came to a close with the song, "One Voice," by the Waillin’ Jennys. The song reminded the staff that even though each person brings something unique and important to the space this summer, together, the staff has one voice that will continue to teach and influence others. The retreat was complete, and hearts were full.
The staff, interns, and fellows of EFLI are excited for what the summer will hold. They are currently preparing to welcome the participants of the first program of the summer: Activating Leadership.