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Powers of Leadership



Register here for the 2019-2020 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

Powers of Leadership is a four-part retreat cycle designed to convene leaders such as yourself from across multiple sectors, to further develop as “adaptive leaders,” capable of addressing those questions for which there are no easy answers. We live in a time of a rapidly growing global community and the challenges and complexities of leadership are increasing. We need leaders who engage the issues of our day, who deeply know their personal sense of purpose, and who recognize the importance of ‘failure’ as we learn together from life experiences.

It is also essential for leaders to carve out time for reflection, restoration and collaboration. In our fast paced lives, most of us spend our days moving from one urgent issue to the next. While this can be creative and generative work, it can also be exhausting. POL provides the space, with creative, experienced leaders, to consider and reflect upon what’s next for you and your organization to support your long-term purpose. To be with experienced leaders from different sectors is a unique opportunity.

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 thirty years’ experience building leadership capacity and evolving organizations. His clients include organizations across many sectors including healthcare, education, government, environmental, non-profit and cooperatives. He has done extensive work in strategic planning, executive coaching and collaborative process design. Craig developed an advanced Leadership Development program for GE leaders in their Finance Division and designed change methodologies used globally by Sun Microsystems and 3M. He leads a 7-month long program on Conversational Leadership with the poet David Whyte, also hosted at the Whidbey Institute.

Christie Lynk teaches at Seattle University 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. 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 and spiritual formation through Earth, Spirit and Community. Christie recently became a grandmother and is a student in the world of wonder as seen through the life of a child.

Additional Leadership

Virginia Felton has been immersed in communications and strategy formation in the nonprofit and government sector throughout her career, as both a consultant and staff member. She has held executive positions with the Pike Place Market, The Mountaineers and the Seattle Housing Authority. Her current passions revolve around helping white people recognize and own their privilege, and preserving American democracy.

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.

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.

Dates and fees

October 17-19, 2019
Seeds of Vocation and Purpose
January 9-11, 2020
The Deep Waters of Renewal
April 2-4, 2020
The Power of Creation

June 11-13, 2020
The Fire of Fulfillment

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

2019-2020 tuition includes the program, materials, meals, and lodging for all four retreats.

We recommend this tuition level for those receiving tuition support from a large employer or for-profit entity.

We recommend this tuition level for those receiving tuition support from a small employer, non-profit, or public entity.

We recommend this tuition level for those fully funding their own participation.

This tuition level is for individuals for whom the standard tuition rate is a hardship.


Want to learn more? Contact the organizers!


October 2019

Powers of Leadership 2019-20

October 17 - October 19
|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on January 9, 2020 at 12:00 am

One event on April 2, 2020 at 12:00 am

One event on June 11, 2020 at 12:00 am

sliding scale fees

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.

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