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Reflecting on 10 Ventures’ Retreats

“We have designed the Venture Retreat as an experience for women to be treated as they often treat others so they get used to receiving the radical generosity they have stepped into.”

This post was originally posted by Vicki Saunders on Facebook

Today marks the 10th Venture retreat we have done at SheEO.

The experience we have designed for Ventures has been described by some as “life-changing” and “the first time I have ever been in a room of business leaders and been able to be myself.”

We know that women are often the caregivers in their lives so we have designed the Venture Retreat as an experience for women to be treated as they often treat others so they get used to receiving the radical generosity they have stepped into; to be well-fed, taken care of, supported, and honoured for the important work they do.

The food is exceptionally healthy and delicious.

The environment feels like a spa.

In Sydney this year it was in a gorgeous Balinese-style house in Mosman with big open views of the water surrounded by nature.

In Toronto, we have held retreats at a family farm owned by three generations of SheEO Activators – mother, daughter, grandmother, aunt) with one of the Activators, who is a chef, catering the food.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not some high end, luxury budget item for us.

Like all things SheEO, it’s done on a shoestring in a bootstrapped non-profit, but it never feels like that. We leverage our resources (gifted locations from our network), food and treats supplied by women-led companies and we make sure we add in all the special touches; chocolate, special notes from past Ventures welcoming them in, and plenty of hugs and smiles on arrival.

The Development Guide who is their coach/advisor/mentor for the first year of their SheEO experience takes them on a journey to learn about each other that starts with “what brought you here?”

This usually goes deep immediately with people starting sentences with, “I’ve never told anyone this before…” There are inevitably tears as women realize this is a safe space to let it all out.

On my way to the retreat today I said to MJ, one of our Development Guides, “I don’t feel as emotional as I usually do.”

And then when I walked in the room, sat on the floor a level down from the Ventures who were up on couches, I took a deep breath and shared “what brought me here” and the tears flowed again.

I am so honoured to be doing this work, to be here on this planet at this time.

After spending decades avoiding anything women-only, living in all my male qualities, I am healing my feminine side every single time I walk into a retreat.

These women innovators that our Activators select in country after country open my heart a little bit more each time.

They are giving everything they’ve got to redefine business, to throw out the rulebook and create a new one, to care for their employees and talk about their businesses as families.

Every single time I meet another cohort I walk away inspired, with another new set of sisters and a deepened commitment to keep going.

Thank you to every single Activator who has made SheEO possible. Your support is sending out ripples of change that will serve us well for generations to come.

As Yasmin Grigaliunas, founder of World’s Biggest Garage Sale, and one of our recently selected Ventures said,

the new disrupter in business is love”.

I can feel it.

Can you?

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