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2018 Academy for Leaders in PA

Thursday, April 12, 2018 - Sunday, November 4, 2018
2:00 pm - 12:00 pm

Cranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center - Philadelphia, PA


Retreat 1: Apr. 12-15, 2018
Monthly Calls: May – Oct.
Retreat 2: Nov. 1-4, 2018

Cranaleith Spiritual Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuition: $2,000* plus
Lodging & Meals: $650-$1250

*Reflects the $400 Early Bird discount if registered by Feb. 1

(Financial aid and payment plans available)



Sustainable, courageous leadership hinges on your ability to know your own values and act on them. When you’re true to yourself, and true with others, that authenticity translates into trust. And trustworthy relationships translate into more effective, wholehearted leaders, teams and results.

The Academy for Leaders is a unique professional development program that will transform your leadership, helping you ignite your courage to lead from within.

This program is for you if…

  • You want to take your leadership to the next level and you’re game for the challenge of introspection toward self-growth, trusting it benefits others.
  • You are rethinking how you want to offer your leadership to the world, whether you are in a new position, in transition with your life and work, or hoping to renew your sense of meaning and purpose.
  • You would appreciate learning with a community of diverse leaders who want to bring their whole selves to the hard work of solving complex social issues.

"quote-LI have gained personal and professional insights because of the transformative learning experiences with my Academy for Leaders cohort and facilitators. The wisdom of every person engaging in this integral work has been profound.”
—Kathryn Byrnes, PhD, Mindfulness in Education Netwok Board President

Click to hear more testimonies from Academy alumni

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What to Expect

The Courage & Renewal Academy for Leaders is designed for and enhanced by the participation of people like you: experienced organizational and community leaders from diverse professions—including education, health care, business, public service, nonprofit, philanthropy, and religious life.

The Process: The Academy will engage a 30-person cohort in a professionally facilitated three-part process that unfolds over six months.

  1. Retreat #1 will explore Courage & Renewal principles and practices that support effective and courageous leadership. Over four days, you’ll experience and explore the Six Foundations of Trustworthy Leadership. Then you will focus your intentions by creating a plan to more fully practice them in your life and leadership. We will also hold Clearness Committees. You’ll learn how to:
  • Click to Download PDFClarify your purpose and integrity through an ongoing inner journey
  • Ask honest, open questions and apply deep listening
  • Hold paradox and tensions in the face of complexity and uncertainty
  • Build trustworthy relationships in communities and organizations
  • Appreciate the value of “otherness”
  • Grow through seasons of personal, professional and organizational change
  1. Monthly Peer Learning Circles: Over the following six months, you will practice implementing these intentions within the realities of your organizational/community roles. You and your fellow participants will receive support in five-member Peer Circles. Five facilitated Peer Circle teleconferences will provide opportunities for mutual sharing, listening and learning.
  2. Retreat #2 is when you’ll come back together with your close-knit, trustworthy cohort for a final four days. You will share your case stories, gather the collective wisdom of the group, affirm your learnings, and identify opportunities to further apply the Courage & Renewal approach in your life and leadership. We will also hold Clearness Committees.

Program Dates

Calendarorange200x200Residential retreat I:  April 12 – 15, 2018
May—Oct:  Monthly facilitated Peer Circle teleconferences
Residential retreat II:  Nov 1 – 4, 2018

Both residential retreats open at 2:00 pm on Thursday with an optional meet and greet, followed by the first session at 3:00 pm. The retreats conclude with lunch on Sunday at noon.
Participants are expected to attend both retreats and participate in monthly calls.

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Costs & Registration

Single Room Double Room Commuter
Lodging & Meals*
$1250 $950 $650
Early Bird Tuition**
$2000 $2000 $2000

Tuition Early Bird discount available through February 1, 2018. After that, tuition is $2400.

Lodging & Meals rates based on the actual venue costs. Commuter rate includes meals only. Cranaleith has very limited overnight lodging. If on-site lodging is not available when you register, you may register as a commuter and book at the nearby Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast, only 2.5 miles away. Room blocks are being held for the group. Information on booking at the Radisson for the April retreat can be found here. Information on booking at the Radisson for the November retreat can be found here.

Air/ground travel costs are participants’ responsibility.

A $400 deposit secures your registration. Tuition plus lodging & meals costs are due after acceptance into the program. We are committed to fielding a diverse cohort of leaders to participate. To help make the program financially accessible, we can set up payment plans for you and/or your employer and provide limited financial assistance from our scholarship fund.

To apply for financial assistance, complete our online form:
To set up a payment plan, contact Christine Herbert at

Cancellation Policy: See here


Meet Your Courage & Renewal Facilitators

Valerie BrownValerie Brown is a national Courage & Renewal® Facilitator, an educational consultant and ICF-accredited leadership coach of Lead Smart Coaching, specializing in leadership and mindfulness training for educational leaders ( Valerie’s life and work is a blending of career paths and disciplines. After many stops and starts, great uncertainty and fear, she left a successful twenty-one year career as an attorney and lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits, to live in greater alignment with her deepest values and her true self. Valerie travels nationally and internationally leading retreats and speaking on mindfulness and leadership, and is passionate about fostering courageous conversations that nurture trustworthy relationships. In her latest book, The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School, she explores the role of mindfulness in strengthening thriving leaders and building greater understanding and peace within schools. Valerie is a Quaker and a long-time teacher at Pendle Hill, a Quaker study, retreat, and conference center, and is a lay member of the Order of Interbeing founded by Thich Nhat Hanh.

gayle-williamsGayle Williams brings 30 years of leadership and management experience to her current practice as a philanthropy/nonprofit leadership coach and facilitator. As Executive Director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation from 1993-2012, Gayle’s work focused on values-driven social and economic justice in the Southeastern U.S. Prior to the Babcock Foundation, she was Program Director for Education at the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis, where her portfolio focused on community-based initiatives for educational equity. Before entering philanthropy, her nonprofit work concentrated on youth development.

About Our Venue

Cranaleith Spiritual Center is situated on ten acres in the Somerton section of Northeast Philadelphia. Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Cranaleith offers a contemplative space for all those seeking wholeness and transformation for themselves and society. Programs are offered to assist leaders — circumscribed by the competitive pressures of the marketplace — to discover creative alternatives to promote healing and transformation in the workplace and in the communities served.


"quote-L"quote-RStunned to stillness by beauty we remember who we are and why we are here. 
Rebecca Parker

13475 Proctor Road, Philadelphia, PA 19116  |  Travel directions |

If you have questions about the Academy, please contact us at or call us at (206) 466-2055.


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