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Glendale Lyceum

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Two local ladies team up to launch a Women's Leadership Retreat that inspires passion, courage and creativity. Keep reading to learn more.

Laurie Fitzgerald Althaus, one of the women behind the Women’s Leadership Retreat.

When women are at the center of change, anything is possible.

That’s the theme that inspired the partnership between Sohza and the Women’s Leadership Retreat (WLR), which was recently launched by Elaine Stenger and Laurie Fitzgerald Althaus. The partnership brings together women from business, the non-profit sector, education and volunteer organizations in an effort to create relationships and connect resources.

“There is such a wealth of talent in our community and it grows only when it’s shared,” says Stenger. “As the Cultural Mothers of our communities, women face particular challenges which impact the quality of the entire community. For ourselves, families and businesses, it is essential that we are prepared to take on those challenges.”

Stenger highlights on how leadership emanates from a person and not from a position, role or hierarchy. “As a mother or business owner, women focus on the growth and development of others, which inspires passion, courage and creativity,” she continues. “As change-makers, leadership is really a way of life for women.”

The WLR also works towards combining educational and self-renewal activities because of how women often place other’s needs of their own, according to Stenger. “We have a critical need to renew,” she says. “Unique to our event are Breakout Activities where women catch their breath and re-energize both physically and mentally. These include experiences such as dance, art, writing and yoga.”

Lastly, the WLR aims to explore the provocative issues challenging communities. “The cultural climate we must navigate our businesses through and raise our children in has a major impact on our success and the quality of our live,” says Stenger. “The only way to create a better future is by exploring those issues that are difficult and keep us divided. It is no secret that we are a stronger community when we are connected.”

The next WLR event, presented by Cairn Venture Group and Sohza, will be held on Friday, April 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Cincinnati’s Glendale Lyceum. The one-day program with feature a keynote, workshop, and experiential and self-renewal activities.

The keynote speakers covering Inclusive Leadership: Courageous Conversations is Where We Begin will be Janet Reid, Founding Partner of Global Novations, Mary Carol Melton, Executive CP of Cincinnati Union Bethel, and Diane Jordan Grizzard, Director and Strategic Talent Management of BHDP Architecture.

“We define the community by our actions or by our silence. It is critical then that we find our voices and empower conversations across difference to create the world we desire,” says Mary Carol Melton, April 2015 Keynote Presenter.

Kelly Vanasse, VP of Communications for P&G, and Shelly McNamara, VP of Human Resources at P&G, will be leading the workshop entitled Nurturing Diversity for Personal and Professional Success.

The program will conclude with three experiential and self-renewal activities: Meditation Made Easy by Julie Kippins of First Health Works, Anywhere, Anytime Yoga by Jana Currie of JanaCurrie Wellness, and Release Your Creativity with Art by Jennifer Crowe of Visionaries & Voices. The cost to attend the Retreat is $150 per individual or $115 for Non-Profit, which includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and reception.

For Stenger, the most rewarding aspect of the WLR is when women say as a result of the last retreat: “I formed a coalition of Food Pantry Directors,” “I expanded the vision of my business,” “I have a deeper respect for the lives and struggles of other woman,” or “I feel wiser and more inspired.”

To register for the event, visit or contact for more information. The next Leadership Retreat is scheduled for November 13, 2015.