Opening Retreat Launched the 2023-2024 Year
In September 2023, an accomplished group of 81 leaders began their 10-month journey as part of the Leadership CORPS Program or the Emerging Leaders Program at a two-day, combined Opening Retreat. Over these two days, participants had time to work with members of their cohort. They also participated in activities that fostered relationships across the combined community.
What amazing leaders! They are a diverse community from across San Mateo County. Participants include 69% people of color, and they represent businesses, nonprofits, and government entities. They are:
- Executives, elected officials, educators, coaches, and county leaders;
- Scientists, social entrepreneurs, and business entrepreneurs;
- Leaders at some of the largest companies in San Mateo County as well as self-employed business owners;
- Faith leaders, education advocates, and law enforcement.
The Retreat began with an inspiring presentation about San Mateo County priorities by Mike Callagy, San Mateo County Executive. This led into the leadership skills component of the program, led by expert coaches. Participants also met in small groups with County leaders to kick off their Community Acceleration Projects.
The first day ended in a welcome reception. It was great to see over 120 Leadership Council SMC alumni, board members, sponsors, and partners show up to meet and celebrate the Class of 2024.
During Day 2, participants attended sessions led by diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging consultants, and dove deeply into the ways that personal identity influences behaviors, decisions, and interactions. Quita Highsmith, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Genentech, was the closing keynote speaker whose impassioned presentation wrapped up the Retreat. She inspired the members of the Class of 2024 to “Be Bold.”
Relationship building is an essential part of the year, and we witnessed how eager and excited participants were to engage and connect with one another. Many who reflected on the two-day experience said this was a highlight. They came full of energy, willing to be vulnerable and to share their personal stories and their dedication to impacting the issues, organizations, and people that matter to them.
“I am beyond appreciative for the thoughtful execution of these entire two days. Thank you for knitting our community and bringing together all these excellent leaders.” ~ Opening Retreat attendee.
The team at Leadership Council SMC is honored and humbled by these talented individuals who chose to commit the next 10 months to our Immersion Programs. We are committed to connecting, inspiring, and educating the Class of 2024 through our impactful speakers, experiences, and new relationships. We can’t wait to see what they create!
THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this year’s Opening Retreat a great success: The Team at Burlingame Community Center, Moonstar Kitchen, San Mateo County Executive Mike Callagy, Genentech’s VP and Chief Diversity Officer Quita Highsmith, our Coaching Team (Laura Costain, Adrienne Donley, Rahul Khatod, and Sharvari Shetti), Inclusion Counts (Amber Checky and Heather Checky), Marcus L. Jackson Photography, and the many Leadership Council SMC board members, alumni, sponsors, and partners who joined us.