Leadership Greater Nashua 2015-2016: | Greenfield Retreat |
By Erin Gleeson
If one word resounded from the 2016 Leadership Greater Nashua retreat, it would be “community.” It was the essence of the overnight conference, despite a collection of differing perspectives making up this year’s LGN group. We’ve all come together with a hive goal: to act as the thread for a patch-worked Nashua—to weave together the splintered community.
Our location, The Barbara C. Harris Camp & Conference Center, was the perfect environment to get to know one another. We found ourselves embraced by the wooded expanse of Greenfield State Park, cradled by Otter Lake (quite literally for the brave few who dipped in for an early morning swim), and warmly welcomed into, and by, this group of strangers.
Our leader, Tracy Hatch, would not have us be strangers for too long, however. We delved right into the experience by getting to know a bit about each other. The room itself was diverse: teachers, public safety workers, bankers, non-profit leaders, administration directors, information technologists, small business owners, and health care providers all sat facing each other, tasked to grow as leaders who can come together to make a better Nashua.
Paul Hebert, CEO of United Way of Greater Nashua and 501 Hub, kicked the retreat off with an intimate discussion on what it means to be a leader and to leave a legacy in the community. We shared our diverse perspectives on Nashua, discussing how each of us would like to make an impact on it and how we would like to leave behind our own leadership legacies. Hebert challenged us to consider the diverse Nashua youth when exploring projects and solutions.
The rest of our first day was spent with the camp’s spirited team building leader, who led us in team building exercises that cleverly connected back to workplace scenarios. In each activity we strengthened team skills, and began to see our own leadership qualities shine through.
However, it was Brendan Keegan, founder and CEO of Velocity Performance and creator of our Leadership Academy curriculum, who went in depth into our leadership training. He instructed us in the beginning stages of leadership discovery, and left us all with the task to become more in tune with the levels of our leadership skills and in which areas we can begin to improve. Keegan created an ease and openness in the room that allowed each participant to feel comfortable expressing their own proficiencies and shortcomings.
While each speaker and activity brought us together throughout the weekend, it was the evening fireside chat that really connected the group and kindled a growing eagerness for this year-long experience. Sat in a circle around the campfire (which was not nearly as “kumbaya” as was, admittedly, expected), we reviewed our hopes for the class and our perceptions of the community’s needs. As the night waned, the group became just a little bit tighter. General discussion broke out into avid conversations about health and nutrition, education, our families, our interests, and our roots. And as the fire hummed lower, people began sharing an assorted collection of memories of growing up in, or moving to, Nashua—some shared and others listened.
Sometimes the best way to get to know a place or oneself is to step away and look over it from a different perspective. I think that’s what this retreat was about—a step away from the city we are about to dive into, to see anew, and a step away from our comfort zones before we explore our inner leaders.
A big thanks to all who were involved!