Another year, another retreat…

    The notion of a retreat often conjures images of exotic locations somewhere in the tropics, where one engages in activities to expand awareness through ancient Vedic traditions with Deepak Chopra. Others may picture the work retreat with team-building activities that are supposed to foster trust among colleagues.

    The NAGW board retreats are an entirely different beast. They take place in the spring at the location where the National Conference is held. This year we’ll meet up in Salt Lake City, April 24-26.

    Rather than team-building exercises, retreat days are filled with organization-building sessions. Board members follow a strict schedule of strategic planning to move the organization forward and conference planning to ensure  – as much as possible – attendees experience a glitch-free, enjoyable event.

    Some years, strategic planning days will have a professional facilitator. Last year we engaged Sherry Jennings, founder of Sound Governance, whose invaluable assistance helped us take a close look at our organization’s culture and needs and consider long-term, value-driven strategies.

    The other part of the NAGW board retreat entails conference planning, going over all the details such as our roles and responsibilities, inspecting the facilities to ensure appropriate room for breakout and keynote sessions, checking audio, determining video camera locations, deciding on signage, discussing Pinnacle Awards banquet and entertainment, investigating N3 locations, selecting giveaways and swag items, deciding on tee shirts and board polos, and nailing down every detail right down to who gets to use the GaffGun gaffers tape dispenser to hide cables and cords (Frankie Rios’ turn this year).

    NAGW board retreats entail a lot of hard work. At the end of the day, members meet up in the president’s suite to enjoy a cold beverage and watch episodes of "The IT Crowd." Mostly because we’re much too knackered to consider any alternative evening activity.