YWSE-SF 2017 Annual Retreat:

November 3-5, 2017

NatureBridge, Sausalito, CA

Retreat info

Imagine a weekend getaway retreat amidst the startling beauty of the Marin Headlands, surrounded by inspiring women. Think walks on the coast, cozy evening discussions, stimulating talks led by inspiring women entrepreneurs, and time to reflect and connect. As each year comes to a close, we invite our community to a retreat in the San Francisco Bay Area for a weekend of workshops, connection, learning, and rejuvenation.  This is an opportunity to connect with other women who are passionate about creating change and learning how to best put their passions into action.

YWSE-SF is proud to announce this year's retreat theme:  "Community Building with True Purpose", with a focus on supporting each woman to clarify her authentic life purpose, and allowing that purpose to fuel community building as a means to make social impact.

In her book, "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying", end-of-life caregiver Bronnie Ware identifies the top regret of her patients as "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me". But how does one identify what living a true, authentic life looks like? And how does one channel authenticity into a purposeful life that benefits not just one individual, but the surrounding community and society as a whole?

The purpose of the YWSE-SF 2017 Retreat is to bring together women who are working toward positive change in the world around us, through entrepreneurship and in our work, to collaborate, learn, and build a supportive community together.


Speakers and Workshops

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Human-centered Design for Social Change

Sammie Rayner

Human-centered design is a powerful way of seeing the world where users of your product or program are empowered as co-creators and put first in decision making. Especially when doing social justice work, taking a human-centered approach is key to lasting impact. In this workshop, Sammie will walk through real examples of applying this approach to building poverty-alleviation organizations. Retreat participants will then get time to apply these principal to their own projects.

Sammie Rayner is an entrepreneur with a decade of experience building organizations that make an impact on people experiencing poverty and homelessness globally. In 2013, Sammie co-founded HandUp, an online fundraising platform for homeless service organizations and the people they serve. She serves as the company’s COO and spends most of her time building partnerships with top nonprofits across the US who use HandUp for their fundraising needs. Before joining HandUp, Sammie founded and served as Executive Director for Lumana, a microfinance organization in West Africa. Sammie is passionate about using technology and human-centered design to tackle poverty. She frequently speaks at social good and human service events such as TEDx, Ashoka Changemakers, NTEN and Stanford’s Social Media on Purpose conference.
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Become Your Best Self: How to Find Your Passion & Create a Goal Map to Your Dreams

Terri Lomax

In this workshop, Terri will share her 6-step system for finding your passion and goal mapping to your dreams! Terri’s goal is to assist you as you become your best self, by using the tools, resources and insights that she’s gained over the past few years, as she test drove different careers, tried on different passions, and finally found her way to the life of her dreams. This workshop will be highly interactive but will also include reflection time and journaling. Participants will walk away with a better sense of self along with a goal mapping system that will help them map out their ideal life.

Terri Lomax is a Blogger, Speaker, and Brand Strategist, who empowers women who struggle with tech to leverage social media and personal branding to grow their audience and impact. She also manages a flourishing online community of more than 4,000 ambitious women on a mission, via the Mocha Girls Pit Stop blog, which is where women of color refuel on motivation and ignite their lives.

Practical Strategies to Build Community Among Volunteers, Donors, Followers, Customers & Friends

Dvorit Mausner

Building community may seem like a passive task (in your personal or professional life), however taking specific direct actions can help fortify the benefits of your network. In this session, we'll discuss the practical reasons to focus on building community, and four strategic categories of actions you can take to encourage greater engagement and purposeful results.

Dvorit's career began in development program management for the University of Pennsylvania where she also earned her Masters in philanthropy and social justice, and business certificate from the Wharton School. In 2012, she moved to San Francisco and pursued social enterprise work through strategy consulting for foundation and nonprofit clients. Then in 2014, she founded Temescal Brewing, experiencing firsthand the excitement of entrepreneurship. Today, Dvorit continues building connections between business, philanthropy, and social impact as executive director of Manylabs, a collaborative community for science enthusiasts.

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Lessons Learned from Starting Social Change Organizations

Niko Everett

As an entrepreneur who has started organizations from the group up, Niko will share her most important lessons learned, including: 1) how to know if you should start an organization, 2) the glamour + the reality of being the boss, 3) lessons learned about growing exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, and self-doubt, and 4)"going for the no".

Niko Everett is a coach + strategist. She believes the world needs women to feel on fire and wide awake and she works with women to cleanse their lives of exhaustion, overwhelm, and self-doubt. She’s a change agent who started and grew her first venture, Girls For A Change, from her kitchen table to serve 20,000 girls globally. She raised millions in growth capital along the way. She built a vocational training school that that trained and placed over 500 unemployed young adults each year. At the Broad Center, she coached Superintendents to create transformational changes in their urban school systems. She’s a TEDx presenter and diplomatic speaker for the US State Department. Her accomplishments have been featured in Newsweek, The San Jose Mercury News, NPR, and Fast Company Magazine and her blog is published in Mindbodygreen + Elephant Journal. You can connect with Niko on Facebook and Instagram.

Healthy Hustle Habits: Develop the mindset and practices to build an impactful authentic venture

Vanessa Mason

This one-of-a-kind workshop will allow participants to examine their current habits and how they shape their mindset for success in their business and fulfillment in their lives. After completing a thorough assessment as well as setting goals that meet their self-determined definition of success, the participants will learn how they can used behavioral science to troubleshoot barriers to healthy habit formation, identify healthy alternatives to negative practices, implement positive habits that foster a better work-life balance, and build a plan for accountability and maintenance.

Vanessa improves lives through technological and healthcare innovations. She has helped entrepreneurs understand their customers to best position their products and services to rave review from the communities they engage with. Throughout she combined the theoretical underpinnings of behavioral science, habit formation and social psychology to scale businesses that improve health. As an entrepreneur herself, Vanessa has personally experienced entrepreneurial burnout. She developed her HABIT framework to move entrepreneurs from panicked and poor to peaceful and paid. She’s the creator of Healthy Hustle Habits, an online program for 9-5ers with side hustles to build the mindset and practices for a healthy life and more income.

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Creating Change for a Sustainable Future

Nicole Sroka

Change in today’s world is increasingly dynamic, fast-moving and complex. How do people – naturally programmed to resist change – best embrace and adopt constant demands for transformation? Organizational Change Management (OCM) is a professional science that provides a structured and holistic approach to orchestrating change. In this workshop, you will learn the fundamentals of OCM as well as practical strategies and tools to be effective as a change agent. We'll explore this growing discipline through the lens of sustainability "intrepreneurship" and interactive exercises. Learn how to confidently lead positive change for businesses, communities and yourself!

Nicole is the founder of Mind Moves - a consultancy focused on advancing Organizational Change Management and Sustainability best practices in the business world. As a certified change practitioner, she helps people to embrace and adopt change in dynamic environments. Outside of the office, Nicole serves her community as a yoga instructor, a volunteer and an activist to amplify social and environmental positivity.
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Rock My Finances

Jennifer Jost

Jennifer's expertise is helping to clear the barriers to wealth for women. She will review the Six Barriers to wealth and how women can transform their relationship with money. Participants will walk away with actions steps to put into place immediately.

Jennifer is a Registered Investment Advisor and money coach, sought after speaker and a conscious thought leader, empowering women to transform their financial lives. Her mission is to empower women and change the feelings around money from scarcity to gratitude and abundance.
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Mindfulness for Radical Presence + Self Expression

Nkechi Njaka

This class is all about learning body literacy for self-expression and why this matters so much right now. It is designed to explore the presence and discover practical ways to implement mindfulness in the everyday life for self-expression and embodiment. Through a talk and short intro to mindfulness with guided meditation and activities, this workshop will give participants tools to integrate mindfulness in their everyday lives.

Nkechi Deanna Njaka, MSc. is a neuroscientist, multi-disciplinary artist and integrated lifestylist combining her backgrounds in neuroscience, dance, nutrition and fashion to create a mindful and creative space for individual consulting, coaching and content creation. She is a self-identified multi-ethnic woman of color, deeply concerned about personal and global well-being, progressive and radical wellness for the critical and creative thinking. She is the founder of NDN lifestyle studio and the co-founder of Sitting Matters. Nkechi has spent the majority of her life investigating the relationship between the brain and the body and has always felt the significance of their integration. For several years, Nkechi worked as a neuroscientist as well as a professional modern dancer + choreographer. She discovered that mindfulness and creativity are C R U C I A L for sustaining individual and global wellbeing. She is interested in the intersection of science and art and find that her practice is a vehicle for radical presence and progressive wellness.

#OrganizeTheWorld, The KonMari Method of Tidying to #SparkJoy

Jane Marie Grodem

Jane will present the KonMari Method basics and some tips that each of you can take home and integrate in your own lives. If people can surround themselves only with that which brings them Joy, their lives can change and it can have a ripple effect in the world. Jane will also share her personal journey from a successful marketing career to finding her true passion and becoming an entrepreneur which she never dreamed she would be capable of doing. This Passion Gig has changed her life!

Jane is a Silicon Valley professional, juggling a household of kids, work and travel—yet has found her true mission in life, supporting and guiding clients through their own journey of bringing order to their lives with the KonMari Method of organization.

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Optional Activity: Mindful Meditation

Nkechi Njaka

These meditation sessions are designed for you to explore mindfulness and for you to discover practical ways to implement mindfulness in the everyday life for presence, self-expression, stress reduction, stress management, and embodiment. Each session is designed to combine the neurobiological basis of mindfulness, the calming aspects of meditation for greater awareness, freedom, consciousness, self-expression, increased energy and overall balance of mind and body. The format of the session allows participants to learn, sit and inquire. All levels of experience are welcome. This is a beautiful and effective way to learn how to implement mindfulness in the everyday life and truly embody WHY mindfulness matters.


Optional Activity: Yoga (Vinyassa) Flow for the Heart

Nicole Sroka

Nicole's yoga flow will offer a heart opening sequence featuring a blend of Vinyasa flow, Iyengar alignment and Hatha meditation. Tapping into your body in a mindful way will lead you to tune into and unlock your inner Truth.


Wildfire Yoga Sequence 

Dedicated to the North Bay wildfires and infused with Kirtan vibrations, this sequence focuses on alignment, strength building, and resiliency.  We’ll breathe and flow in devotion to the oneness and light that our spirits have the miraculous potential to manifest in times of suffering.





Earth Yoga Sequence

Deepen your relationship with Mother Nature by embodying asana poses that mimic her splendor.  This unique vinyasa flow and transcendental meditation seek to integrate our mind, body, and spirit in harmony with our natural world.