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Sustainability Impact Accelerator and Professionals Retreat 2019

June 19, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - June 22, 2019 @ 2:00 pm MDT

Photo by Jasper Boer on Unsplash Professionals Retreat

At the beautiful University of Colorado Boulder campus, AASHE is hosting the 2019 Sustainability Impact Accelerator and Professionals Retreat dedicated to these areas of support, peer to peer engagement and capacity building:

Accelerate Impact: Bring your most difficult impact challenges and get targeted support through small group coaching, mapping processes & expert faculty to accelerate your progress and success.
Lead with Purpose:
Our role as sustainability leaders is to connect our organizations agenda with the global sustainability agenda. We must lead with purpose and we must engage our organization to lead with purpose. Participants will have access to new research from global CEOs at the vanguard of leading with purpose.
Unleash Collective Intelligence:
Advance your capacities in the domains of systems thinking, organizational design thinking, idea flow, social intelligence and relationship skills to unleash the collective intelligence of your organization/community.
Experiential Learning:
Sustainability leadership is one of the fastest moving fields of leadership. This program provides the scaffolding to reflect on your experience to learn most powerfully from your own leadership journey, side by side with your peers.
Renewal: Sustainability leaders from all sectors are being stretched to their limits. To remain effective, we must invest in cycles of renew and reinvigoration for the long haul.
Network Development: Grow your professional network and expand your access to peer to peer learning.

Who Attends?

This retreat is designed for leadership practitioners from higher education, local government, business and not for profit organizations wanting to accelerate impact, lead with purpose, renew focus and advance critical change leadership skills. Participants are immersed with 30-40 other change leaders plus a dedicated content delivery team.

Justify your attendance and get approval to attend!

Sustainability leadership is one of the faster moving leadership fields in the 21stcentury. Professional development specific to sustainability leadership is a must for any individual and organization that is serious about making an impact.

When it comes to your professional development, this retreat fills a crucial role in providing tailored, deep dive, small group professional development and impact acceleration. Obtaining support to attend is easier when you can explain the benefits of attending for both you as an individual and your wider organization/community.

Read more to help justify your attendance and gain funding approval.

In addition, to make things as easy as possible, we created a draft letter that you are welcome to download and use.

How to Attend?

Retreat Dates: The retreat will last 3 full days from June 19-22, 2019. The program starts at 2 p.m. on the 19 and will end at 2 p.m. on the 22. All participants are asked to be present for the entire duration of the event.
Optional Hike: An optional hike will take place the afternoon of June 22. form 2-7 p.m.
LocationUniversity of Colorado Boulder Campus, C4C building
Registration Fee: $595 (AASHE members), $695 (AASHE non-members) – Includes programming and meals
Lodging: $225/person for 3 nights lodging (June 19-22); see below for information on how to book (additional night available for $80); $45 commuter fee/person

Registration Process

  • Once your application is approved you will be provided with a request for payment.
  • Payment will be accepted in the form of of Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover cards or checks.
  • Payment required within 10 business days after being accepted to secure your seat.

Why attend?

AASHE’s 2018 Retreat attendees all completed a detailed evaluation. They gave the retreat experience an overall evaluation of 4.7/5. They offered these reflections in their retreat evaluations to help you make your decision:

It was practical:

  • Among the many, many ways I’ll apply some of this, I will immediately begin to do some strategic aligning of institutional goals and sustainability.
  • I plan to apply what I learned about strategic alignment to strategize the implementation of our sustainability plan and align it with the university’s strategic plan.
  • I will use the POP model as well as the forensic mapping and forward flow mapping as well.
  • The mindfulness and stakeholder analysis are useful tools as well.
  • I will organize meetings differently based on the techniques I learned here.
  • I’m going to change the way I connect with stakeholders and change up our meeting structure and methods of working together.
  • I’m now going to map how decisions are made at my institution.

It offered perspective:

  • I gained a lot in terms of thinking about my job more holistically and how, what, and where I want to focus my effort and time going forward.
  • I need to take care of myself better; use mapping to convey strengths and places for improvement
  • I really was in need of these tools to center myself and re-focus my energy in a meaningful way.
  • Just the fact of signing up and coming to this workshop provided a time and space for me to slow down, take a step back and think about the bigger picture of my work. That’s definitely the biggest takeaway for me.

It created a tailored professional network:

  • I’m going to stay in touch with the amazing people I met at the retreat.
  • Meeting other professionals, discussing shared goals and struggles was most valuable to me
  • The opportunities to deeply connect with people as issues and shared experiences arose. The positive alignment conversations were surprisingly meaningful in connecting with a perfect stranger.
  • Meeting everyone, understanding the amazing collective intelligence of the group and expertise and experiences of the individuals, learning where to go for ongoing support and advice, being introduced to powerful concepts and tools was all most valuable to me
  • Networking- there was enough time during and on breaks to have fabulous conversations with others.

Program Design Elements

  • Presentations and facilitated discussions = 30%
    Our delivery team has deep experience in senior leadership engagement, change leadership, purpose-driven leadership, sustainability strategic planning, greenhouse gas reduction, waste reduction, stakeholder engagement and much more.
  • Group activities to engage with peers in shared learning = 30%
    Interactive, generative and dynamic activities, processes and techniques for increasing group intelligence, fostering higher levels of emotional & social intelligence.
  • Participant-driven exchanges (short presentations, panels & small group sessions) = 20%
    Deep discussions and valuable exchanges with your peers to learn about a wide range of emerging projects, practices, processes and approaches.
  • Networking activities: breaks, meals, end-of-day gatherings, reception event etc. = 15%
    Meaningful connections with other sustainability leaders and build lasting support systems.
  • Miscellaneous = 5%

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Work on a challenging project/program of their choice and receive coaching, mentorship and support to map an optimal pathway forward.
  • Learn more about the power of unleashing purpose within their organization as well as a new purpose-driven leadership paradigm that is emerging globally.
  • Advance leadership abilities specific to moving new ideas through your organization/community, reducing friction and maximizing flow in engagement, de-risking, governance and decision-making.
  • Develop targeted skills in community engagement, strategic systems design and building support from senior leaders to drive sustainability into core mission and business.

Facilitators and Program Designers

Leith Sharp, Director of Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership, Harvard University
Leith SharpA dynamic change leader with 25 years of practice, research and teaching, Leith has taught change leadership for sustainability at Harvard University for 17 years, earning numerous commendations for distinguished teaching performance. Well known for her work as the founding director of Harvard’s Office for Sustainability, where over a period of 9 years she led Harvard to become a global leader in campus sustainability. In 2013, Leith Sharp founded the Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership program at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which she continues to lead.This cross-sectoral program brings sustainability leadership, human well-being, purpose, biomimicry, agility and organizational design together into a powerful and highly visual curriculum that ushers in a new leadership paradigm based on flow. In 2017, Leith co-founded Leaders on Purpose and has since engaged directly with global CEOs to further define and scale leadership and business logic that has the fitness to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Aurora Winslade, Director of Sustainability, Swarthmore College
Aurora WinsladeAurora has over fifteen years of experience in higher education sustainability. She is committed to supporting professional development for sustainability leaders, bringing a focus on using group process design and facilitation tools to engage communities in institutional transformation efforts. She co-created AASHE’s first sustainability officers retreat in 2011 and has led statewide and national workshops in California, Hawaii, and Taiwan. Aurora has served as the Director of Sustainability for Swarthmore College since 2015 and is an adjunct faculty member at Bard College’s Sustainable MBA program, where she teaches Leading Change in Organizations

Nicole Bellisle, Chief of Staff, Leaders On Purpose
Nicole BellisleIn her role at Leaders on Purpose, Nicole supports the global team in business development strategy, marketing and branding, as well as operations. Nicole has a passion for sustainable business models that support the emerging new business logic of our time, which is why in addition to supporting the launch of Leaders on Purpose, Nicole has held roles at both Techstars and the Impact Hub in Boulder, CO. She actively mentors entrepreneurs and facilitates cutting edge leadership training around the globe, including within Harvard’s Executive Education for Sustainability program.
Nicole is an entrepreneur, having founded 3 small businesses, including a zero waste event planning company in Boston. She has overseen business development and marketing strategy for global startups such as One Earth Designs and Leaders on Purpose, and managed strategic planning and program development at Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. During her 5 years at Harvard, she had the opportunity to study innovation ecosystems and sustainable startups around the world, and was exposed to leading-edge thinking on sustainability leadership, biomimicry for business, and global health. With an educational background in entrepreneurship (Babson College) and sustainability management (Harvard Extension School), Nicole has dedicated her career to working at the nexus of business and sustainability.

Guest Speakers

Sandy Wiggins, Principal, Consilience LLC

Sandy WigginsSandy is Principal of Consilience LLC, a national consultancy with a mission to foster environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities. His skillful facilitation has helped birth sustainable master plans for municipalities and institutions across the country, as well as sustainable regional public policy initiatives. He has led the development of scores of LEED certified projects, as well as net zero energy buildings, one of the nation’s first Living Building Challenge projects, and a neighborhood development aspiring to meet the Living Community Challenge. Read more about Sandy’s experience with other organizations.

Matthew Kamakani Lynch, System Sustainability Director, University of Hawaiʻi

Matt LynchMatt is the System Sustainability Coordinator for the ten campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi. He is also founder of of the Honolulu based nonprofit Asia-Pacific Center for Regenerative Design, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Slow Food Oahu, and Hawaiʻi Green Growth.
He has worked in a broad range of community-based sustainable development projects in Hawaiʻi, Laos, Mongolia, and Vanuatu; from building rural community resilience through farmer trainings, to regional sustainable economic development, to catalyzing institutional change through policy work and collaborative leadership.

Heidi VanGenderen, Chief Sustainability Officer, University of Colorado Boulder

Heidi VanGenderen

Heidi is currently CU Boulder’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. She has worked on sustainability issues in the non-profit, public, academic and private sectors as an organizer, writer, researcher, and public speaker for the majority of her professional career.
She returned home to Colorado from Washington, DC where she served as the Director of Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior, Heidi was Director of National Outreach for the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Senior Energy Advisor for the Worldwatch Institute. Heidi served as Colorado’s first gubernatorial climate advisor for Governor Bill Ritter. She also served as senior associate of the Wirth Chair in Sustainability at CU Denver and as Deputy Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. She is an alumnae of Carleton College.

FAQ for accepted participants

The University of Colorado Boulder was the first STARS Gold rated institution in 2011 which they maintain to the present. The campus is home to many sustainably designed buildings, landscapes, and practices. From LEED buildings and solar power to zero-waste infrastructure and alternative transportation, there is a lot going on around campus.

Where do I stay?

We have reserved a block of rooms on campus and all participants are asked to use this lodging option. You will be able to pay for lodging at the same time you register for the event.

  • The rate for three nights (June 19-22) is $225
  • The rate for an additional night (either June 18 or June 23) is $80
  • The surcharge for commuters (local attendees not staying overnight) is $45
  • If you would like to bring a partner, the charge is $150 for three nights (June 19-22) and $50 for an additional night (either June 18 or June 23). The rate for the three nights also includes 7 meals (June 19 dinner, June 20 breakfast and lunch, June 21 breakfast, lunch and dinner, June 22 breakfast)

All guest rooms are furnished with extra-long twin beds, a dresser, bookcase, desk and closet. A micro-fridge (microwave, refrigerator and freezer) is provided in each room. TV lounges are located in each building. All rooms are non-smoking. All rooms have access to community baths.

What meals are included for participants?

The following meals are included in the registration rate and all participants (including local attendees) are expected to eat with the group: June 19 dinner, June 20 breakfast, lunch and dinner, June 21 breakfast, lunch and dinner, June 22 breakfast and optional lunch. Please note, all these meals are also included for partners with the exception of the June 20 dinner.

Do I need to rent a car?

It is not necessary to rent a car. All activities will take place on-campus or close by. The campus is about an hour away from the Denver Airport (DEN). There are multiple public transit options for getting from the airport to campus. 

If I’ve attended a sustainability professionals retreat or a pre-conference workshop at AASHE on this content in the past will I get something new out of this one?

Yes, definitely. This retreat meets you where you are and supports you to go deeper into your own professional and personal development. There will be new content, as well as more opportunities to learn from your fellow participants.

Any questions about the workshop?
Please contact Daita Serghi, daita.serghi@aashe.org

Thank you to our 2019 Sustainability Professionals Retreat Sponsors for your support!
Customer First RenewablesIntegral GroupInterface Logo


June 19, 2019 @ 2:00 pm MDT
June 22, 2019 @ 2:00 pm MDT
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