They say that leadership is a journey that starts with a single step. On September 7, the participants of Leadership Greater Nashua 2024 took our first step at the Barbara C. Harris Event Center and Camp. Nestled amidst the tranquil beauty of Greenfield, New Hampshire, the Center was the perfect backdrop for a group of 28 professionals to embark on the transformative experience of LGN.
Eager to hone our leadership skills and collaborate with like-minded professionals, we arrived early on a hot and humid Thursday morning. Wendy Hunt, CEO & President of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, and Alyssa O’Mara, Programs Manager, greeted us and introduced us to the other participants.
The retreat was comprised of lectures, workshops and a full range of activities and team-building exercises. Seasoned facilitators Trinnie Houghton (CEO, Leadership & Team Coach, Ripple Effect Studio), Nathan Karol (President, Cardinal Consulting, Co-Published and Chief Growth Officer, Granite Media Group) and Lynne Boyer (Executive Director of Youth Development, YMCA of Greater Nashua) led sessions that encouraged participants to work together, overcome obstacles and develop leadership skills.
We started the day with a team building session facilitated by Trinnie, where we explored our interconnectivity. We worked together in silence to build a large net using only small pieces of yarn. We were thrilled that our net was strong and large enough to catch a beach ball. The exercise helped foster a sense of camaraderie and create a community among the participants. Nathan worked with us to map our LGN adventure by exploring our personal goals and considering how LGN can help us reach those goals. Lynne Boyer pushed us out of our comfort zones by having us work together to try to flip a blanket over while we were all standing on it. We welcomed the opportunity to work with Lynne, and we enjoyed the reprieve from the heat in the air-conditioned gym on a scorching hot day!
At the end of the day, we gathered at the pond to unwind. Some enjoyed a swim in the pond, while others played lawn games or sipped a glass of wine. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to relax and get to know each other better. We continued to enjoy each other’s company at dinner, which included a panel discussion by former LGN participants. We felt inspired by their stories describing the group projects undertaken in previous years. We are excited to plan and execute a project as a team and make a lasting impact on the Greater Nashua community. Stay tuned for news of our project!
As the sun set over the pond, participants gathered around a campfire to toast s’mores and share their aspirations and goals. This bonding experience set the tone for the next nine months of the LGN program and created an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. At the end of the day, we retired to our cabins. We were tired from the excitement and activity of the day, and we were looking forward to the next morning’s sessions. A good night’s sleep in the rustic cabins would help prepare us for Friday’s outdoor team-building challenges.
I am confident that, as the participants returned to their everyday lives on Friday, they carried with them the lessons learned and the inspiration gained at the Center. I am looking forward to coming together again at the October session to continue the work we started. Over the next nine months, we will collaborate to improve our leadership skills and make a positive impact on the Greater Nashua community and in our organizations.
– Gena Lavallee of McLane Middleton
Day 2 of the LGN Retreat was packed full of inspiration and camaraderie. It began with breakfast and a book discussion on Growing Influence: A Story of How to Lead with Character, Expertise, and Impact. Alyssa led the breakout groups with a review of the book and a brief discussion on how to write a blog.
Heat & humidity was a topic of the LGN retreat (not on the agenda) and Day 2 did not disappoint. Thankfully, there were many fans to be had and even a spot to cool down.
Next on the agenda was an enlightening presentation by Dr. Cynthia Whittaker, President/CEO of Greater Nashua Mental Health on Awakening Conscious Leadership. Dr. Whittaker’s presentation detailed finding the ability to let go of the things that define you and explore what you want to do next by shifting from a reactive state to a creative place.
Rounding out the retreat we participated in three team building activities provided by Jake King of Thrive Outdoors, LLC. Our first task we were challenged with was to flip a blanket while our team was standing on it. This was no easy task! Although we were not successful in flipping the blanket, we had a lot of innovative ideas and worked well together in our groups.
Next was the Pit of Despair. This activity did not start off well for us, however we completed the task of finding a way to move the team across the ring while only stepping on squares, on our second attempt!
The LGN Class of 2024 retreat ended with a final class activity – the Lunar Walk. We broke off into 2 groups and worked collaboratively using the strategies we discussed during the retreat. Team A slightly edged ahead of Team B for the win.
Some of my takeaways from this retreat was an increased confidence in my ability to articulate my needs to others, and heightened ability to adjust my style to meet the preferences of others. We all came together for the same purpose . . . becoming great leaders within our community.
-Lisa Deitrich of SNHHS