Our Leading Design retreats are co-designed with our long-term collaborator, Executive Coach, Julia Whitney. We create an environment where leaders can be vulnerable, share openly and gain support from one another

Here is a flavour of what to expect…

Day one - setting intentions

On the first day you will set your intentions for the time we have together and identify what would make this retreat truly impactful for you. Some people come to the retreat with very specific challenges or experiences that they want to reflect on. Others need some space to recalibrate and are open to what unfolds. Whatever your intention (even if you’re unclear of what that is yet) we will help ensure that this is a truly impactful experience for you.

We will also spend time on the first day doing some inward reflection on your challenges and ambitions to help get a healthcheck of where you are on your leadership journey.

A woman sat alone writing at a table in a garden in front of a large Georgian house.
Leading Design participant doing a reflection exercise

At the end of the first day of coaching sessions there will be a chance to refresh before dinner. Some people like to go for a swim in the outdoor pool. Others enjoy a walk around the grounds and some relax in their rooms. Then we will reconvene for cocktail/mocktail hour before sitting down for a delicious meal which is created by our wonderful private chef.

After dinner there will be optional activities such as movies, games, or simply enjoying the company of your peers. It is also totally acceptable if you want to just retire to your bedroom—they are stunning! A particular highlight for me on a previous retreat was when a participant excused herself to go and eat cake in her roll top bath 🙂

The rhythm of the following days will look something like this….

Days two & three - coaching, group work and developing new strategies

You can start the day with yoga, a peaceful walk through the Cotswolds countryside or by enjoying a coffee in the picturesque gardens.

Julia will use different techniques to really get the most of our time together.

There will be group conversations where we will deep dive into some of the collective challenges that the group has identified they would like to explore together.

There will be fishbowl coaching where Julia will coach volunteers on their specific challenges whilst the rest of the group observes.

There are also exercises where you will be broken into groups for peer coaching, where you can share specific scenarios and hear from other’s experience so you can support and work with others on their issues.

There will also be time for silent coaching and self-reflection.

This broad range of techniques means that you are able to gain insights in a variety of ways. You can be expertly guided by Julia. You can get insights from peers who may have been in similar situations or may be able to provide fresh thinking. You will have ample time for personal reflection and intention setting.

In addition to all of the coaching we also provide downtime so that you can decompress, process and recharge. We are lucky to be in a beautiful location and so there are lots of options open to you, from finding a cosy corner in the library to reclining on a sunlounger.

Past attendees have told me how much they value the opportunity to bond with a group of peers. These relationships often last long after we say goodbye at the retreat.

To help you forge these relationships we have a series of planned activities. In the past these have included bread making, cocktail making and flower arranging and country walks. The idea is that in this downtime relations can continue to organically form.

When I booked in for the retreat I knew it would be special but I was unprepared for the deep connections... We will be friends. We have a community I will reach out to for wisdom and joy for years to come. I am going back to my real life with renewed connection and confidence in myself as well. This was a mic drop moment in my life.
Grace Kraus, Head of Experience Design, Atlassian
A group of 11 women having a conversation stood and sat around a large glass window covered in post-it notes
Group conversation between Leading Design retreat participants

Final day - reflecting & consolidating

As the retreat draws to a close we spend some time on the final day revisiting our intentions and reflecting on what has shifted, what we have learnt and what will change when we return to our roles.

As design leaders so much time is spent focusing on the needs of others. The retreats are perfect for people who want to carve out some designated space to set strategies for their own success.

No words can really describe experiences like this. As leaders, we often spend our time and energy helping others but Leading Design gave us space to focus on ourselves and embrace who we are individually and each other. It’s been amazing and I'm so grateful I get to walk away feeling inspired, and with 17 new friendships.
Natalie Armendariz, Partner & Design Director, Funsize

Our aim is that you leave the retreat having had time to reflect and set intentions, that you have gained new and diverse ways of thinking and that you have new insights, frameworks and techniques you can start using back at work.

Our next retreat is taking place in September 2023. More information and tickets can be found on our Leading Design website.