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Powers of Leadership



Registration will open by March 2017 for 2017-18 cycle.

What people are saying about Powers of Leadership

The experience-based learning, along with the adaptive leadership theoretical structure, encouraged me to explore aspects of my leadership style and professional development in remarkably unexpected ways. I left with so much personal knowledge!


Though it’s been months since our retreat cycle ended, I still find myself mining our wealth of experiences, models, challenges, and support that grew from our retreat group.

—Staff Member, Nonprofit Organization

For me this was a life-changing experience on the steep path to leadership. “Powers” builds skills, wisdom, and community from people working with some of life’s greatest challenges.

—Director, Environmental Initiative, City Government

The hidden unexpected value was in the conversations among people from many different sectors and the way we learn from each other. I am now able to act in new ways.

—President & CEO, Regional Health Care System

About the program

This four part program of the Whidbey Institute allows you to gain perspective, develop new insight, and strengthen your skills and commitment to work on behalf of a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world.

In traditional societies, a village was often built around a “commons,” a public space in which the shared life of the community took place. In today’s interdependent and complex world, the new commons includes diverse cultures and a wide variety of distinct institutions, as well as the oceans, the air, seeds, forests, water, and cyberspace. It is global in scope, yet personal in impact.

Leadership today requires the ability to see patterns in complex systems, the interdependence of diverse communities, and morally ambiguous challenges. We can no longer survive by functioning as separate individuals or independent organizations. The art of leadership requires a connective imagination, an informed conscience, and practiced competence.

The Powers of Leadership retreat series convenes a diverse cohort of people across strategic fields to gain perspective on the currents of change moving in these times.

Seasonal Cycle

Each cohort meets four times at the Whidbey Institute in a cycle spanning the four seasons.

October: Seeds of Vocation and Purpose
January: The Deep Waters of Renewal
April: The Power of Creation
June: The Fire of Fulfillment

Retreat Leadership

Craig Fleck is a consultant and coach with over twenty years’ experience building leadership capacity. His clients include many Fortune 100 organizations. Craig developed a year-long Leadership Development program for GE leaders in their Finance Division and developed change methodologies used globally by Sun Microsystems and 3M. He has worked in healthcare, education, government, non-profit and co-op sectors and has been designing and leading programs at the Whidbey Institute since 2002. Craig is a Master Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation.

Christie Lynk teaches at Seattle University and is Clinical Director in the Master of Arts in Existential Phenomenological Psychology Program. As one of the founders of The Seattle School, she brings twenty years experience in adaptive leadership. Christie currently serves on the board at the Whidbey Institute. Partnering with organizations and individuals through Conversations and Gatherings, Christie offers sabbatical intensives, contemplative retreats and consultation. Her teaching explores the realms of personal development, spiritual formation through Earth, Spirit and Community, and practices of restoration.

Additional Leadership

Larry Daloz is a Senior Fellow at the Whidbey Institute. He served as the first dean of the Community College of Vermont, and has taught at Lesley, Norwich, Harvard, and Columbia Universities. He is a double-award winning author of Mentor: Guiding the Journey of Adult Learners, and co-author of Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World.

Diana Gale is currently on the Leadership Council for Puget Sound Partnership and a senior lecturer at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. She has spent 20 years as a department director at the City of Seattle—most recently as director of Seattle Public Utilities.

Kurt Hoelting, author of The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life, is a wilderness guide, climate activist and meditation teacher. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School, and is the founding Director of Inside Passages.

Sharon Parks is a consultant, speaker, and author in areas of leadership, ethics, and human development. Her most recent book is Leadership Can Be Taught: A Bold Approach for a Complex World (Harvard Business School Press). She served for sixteen years in faculty and research positions at Harvard University in the schools of Divinity, Business, and the Kennedy School of Government.

Stephanie Ryan has over twenty years experience consulting with the disciplines of organizational learning. She develops the capacity of her clients to address complex, chronic business issues where multiple points of view prevail. Her work spans the for-profit and not- for-profit domains, cultivating an ability to collectively inquire into the nature of systems and stories we want to evolve.

2017—2018 dates and fees

October 19, 2017 to October 21, 2017
January 11, 2018 to January 13, 2018
April 5, 2018 to April 7, 2018
June 7, 2018 to June 9, 2018

Each retreat begins with dinner on Thursday and ends on Saturday afternoon.

The fee is sliding scale $2,895—$4,295 and includes the program, materials, meals, and lodging for all four retreats.

When choosing your fee, we recommend:

  • Individuals supporting their own participation consider registering in the $2,895 to $3,295 range.
  • Participants receiving support from their small organization or public entity employer: consider $3,295 to $3,795.
  • Participants receiving support from large employers and for-profit entities: consider $3,795 to $4,295.

Inquire about registering

Upcoming Events

June 2017

Powers of Leadership 2016-17: Session 4

June 8 - June 10

This is the last of four sessions in our annual retreat cycle; new registrations are not being accepted.

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