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Courage to Lead®: Nurturing the Heart of the Leader Retreat Series

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - Saturday, August 18, 2018

Kellogg Biological Station - Hickory Corners, MI

November 9-11, 2017
February 8-10, 2018
April 26-28, 2018
August 16-18, 2018
Each retreat begins Thurs. evening with dinner and concludes Sat. at noon

Kellogg Biological Station
Hickory Corners, Michigan

$300 deposit + $405 per retreat
(details below)

Click to register now
Register by August 1st


"quote-LThe question we most commonly ask is the “what” question – what ideas form the essence of   leadership? When the conversation goes a bit deeper, we ask the “how” question–what methods and techniques are required to lead well? Occasionally, when it goes deeper still we ask the “why” question–for what purpose or to what ends do we pursue leadership?

But seldom, if ever, do we ask the “who question”– who is the self that leads? How does the quality of my selfhood form or deform the way I relate to my colleagues, my work, my world? How can institutions sustain and deepen the selfhood from which good leadership comes?

-After Dr. Parker J. Palmer in The Courage to Teach

We live in challenging times, and as leaders it is vital that we take time to renew our spirits and reflect on the purpose and passion that underlie our work.

Courage to Lead® offers you time and space to work through life’s larger questions, to reconnect your soul and role, and to grow your capacity for authentic leadership, in the safety and comfort of a community of like-minded individuals.

Using the Circle of Trust approach developed by Dr. Parker J. Palmer and colleagues, experienced facilitators create a safe space that allows the soul to show up. Though not religious, the retreats may be described as spiritual in nature, where readings from numerous wisdom traditions, stories, and insightful poetry are used as a medium for contemplation and dialogue. The Clearness Committee, a Quaker process of personal discernment through community process, is the capstone of each retreat. Through these group and solitary activities, you will be invited to carry out the inner work that gets you closer to the heart of your leadership.

Courage-170Courage to Lead focuses on:

  • renewing heart, mind and spirit through the exploration of the inner landscape of the leader’s life
  • reconnecting to one’s identity and integrity; identifying and honoring gifts and strengths, and also acknowledging limits
  • creating a context for careful listening and deep connection that also honors diversity in person and profession
  • helping leaders create trustworthy spaces for learning and growing together, in a community of insight and trust
  • exploring the connection between the inner dimension of the leader’s life and his/her work

Nurturing the Heart of the Leader is a four-retreat series open to education, civic, non-profit, or other leaders. Please join our growing, world-wide “Courage community.”

Arrow-Download-3-icon Click here to download a letter from Marianne and Caren

About Our Venue

The retreat will be held at Kellogg Biological Station which is located at

Meet Your Facilitators

Marriane Novak HoustonMarianne Novak Houston holds a Masters degree in Religious Studies from Lumen Vitae Institute, Brussels, Belgium (affiliate of Gregorian University in Rome).  For 20 years Marianne has worked with Dr. Parker J. Palmer and associates in designing the international Courage to Teach® and Courage to Lead® programs, and establishing the Center for Courage & Renewal in Seattle.  She has facilitated retreats in the US and abroad.  Marianne is the founder of Living from Within: Journeying toward an Undivided Life, a Circle of Trust retreat series open to all. Among her present work: co-facilitating the Courage to Lead: Nurturing the Heart of the Leader retreat series, and other abbreviated series with specific groups. These innovative series bring together leaders from civic, non-profit, medical and educational arenas.  With more than 40 years teaching experience in elementary through university classrooms she nourishes her passion for education by serving on the Board and the Executive Committee of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Western Michigan University.

carendybekCaren Dybek is a facilitator prepared by the Center for Courage & Renewal in Seattle. She has worked for thirteen years facilitating Circles of Trust® in seasonal retreat series.  She has also facilitated Circles of Trust for education and non-profit reflective staff development, as well as weekend retreats at the Gilchrist Retreat Center.  Caren has collaborated in designing the innovative Courage to Lead: Nurturing the Heart of the Leader Retreat Series, which draws together leaders in education, medicine, non-profit and civic areas.  Caren has taken the leadership in instituting retreats called Healing Together, part of a region-wide initiative to heal the harms of racism and reflecting her deep commitment to social justice, as well as co-facilitating an ongoing Courage To Lead series. She received a BA in English from Loyola University and an MA in educational psychology from the University of Iowa, and has taught on the elementary, middle school, high school and university levels in private and public schools in Chicago, the Virgin Islands, Iowa City and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Registration & Fees

Cost: Participation at all four retreats is expected.  A deposit of $300 holds your place in the series which will be applied to the cost of the retreats. Each retreat then costs an additional $405 which is due 10 days before each event.

Registration: Complete the application form on the flyer and follow the enclosed instructions to return your information with deposit.

Registration Deadline:  August 1, 2017. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited!

Lodging: Each participant will enjoy a private room with bath.  There will be time for solitary and group work, time for walks in the beautiful Gull Lake environment, and rest.

Questions about the retreat? Contact:
Marianne Houston at or 269-324-0957
Caren Dybek at  or 269-345-4420

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