On June 11 The Strong Field Project – a four-year program whose stated goal is to build a strong, coordinated network of domestic violence service providers in California – launched its third cohort of the Leadership Development Program. The kick off retreat took place in lovely Aptos, Ca where 20 domestic violence leaders from around the state came together to meet, share personal stories, network, share resources, and were given an opportunity to learn new leadership skills. California’s urban, rural and suburban areas were all represented which made it that much more exciting because diversity is something The Strong Field values! Me too! Something that made the third cohort’s kick off retreat extra special was that the time coincided with Cohort II’s graduation and also Cohort I was in attendance, so having the opportunity to share stories, resources, and ideas on how to strengthen the domestic violence community felt very rewarding.
The retreat itself was intensive; there were a couple of days where we spent 12-14 hours together. During those four days the retreat topics included models of leadership, leadership competencies, individual talents and strengths, coaching and developing others, situational leadership, and peer coaching. Included in the retreat topics we had facilitated discussions with all 56 cohort members and we also learned some tai chi! It was comforting knowing I wasn’t the only person who felt a little overwhelmed with this information. Many of us also shared similar questions relating to how we might incorporate these learnings in a way that works for each of us. More importantly though, it was extremely exciting to be at a table with a diverse group of individuals who are devoted to the same cause.
At the end of the fourth day I was filled with gratitude and appreciation for the leadership program, for the staff at Compass Point and especially the 20 advocates in my cohort. I’m excited for the next 18 months and for the exciting things that may come out of this program. Lastly, I want to end with something another cohort member said to me at the retreat, “I heard it’s so much fun working with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.!”
~ Mary Martinez, Peer Services Manager