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Removing The Stigma’s 1st Annual Visionary Leadership Retreat


By Denise Holcomb

On August 6, 2022, Removing The Stigma (RTS) had its first annual Visionary Leadership Retreat at the Shaker Heights Library in Shaker Heights, OH.

The retreat was tucked away in the Malvern Conference Room, which had all the amenities needed to create an atmosphere of fellowship, collaboration, and learning. Everyone on the RTS team worked together to create a welcoming atmosphere that provided a feeling of unity at the retreat. It was placed in the hands of the retreat facilitator, Valerie C. Smart of Smart Strategic Business Solutions, to help everyone capture the vision of RTS.

Smart, a seasoned strategic business consultant and coach, inspired the participants by reading the RTS brand story. This helped every individual understand the history and foundation RTS was built on. Following the storytelling, they participated in an exercise that recounted certain actions in the brand story to understand how that narrative drives the mission of the organization. The result of that exercise? Learning the mission statement and specifically tying each word to the brand story.

Next, Ms. Smart set up a fun team-building exercise called the Marshmallow Challenge. This challenge, along with a topical discussion on leadership afterward, helped everyone to understand their roles on a team, what the characteristics of good and not-so-good leaders are, and what they value.

At the end of the retreat, participants had enhanced their team member and leadership skills!

Denise Holcomb is the Founder and Executive Director of Removing The Stigma — 17325 Euclid Avenue, Suite 3016, Cleveland, OH — (216) 835-0083.