Growing Your Best Self

Registration deadline extended to September 8!

A Virtual and Physical Journey of Nature-Based Personal & Leadership Development

September 12 – December 5, 2021

Blending nature-based reflective activities with six virtual gatherings

Join us in our virtual Generative Council and experience the power of Nature to guide your life and leadership from the comfort of your home and local land.

The seasons are changing and we are emerging from a year of unexpected confinement. Our lives were altered in dramatic ways. You may have found yourself turning inwards, entering chrysalis form, or instead, found yourself bombarded with new tasks and responsibilities!  However you spent  that time, maybe hints of clarity were emerging,  new ideas were forming, or old ones resurfacing as you may have found rare moments of peace walking or simply sitting outside. 

With the promise of this new season, do you return to the usual noise and busyness unchanged?  What if you engage in purposeful reflective time, weekly solo activities blending time on the land with writing and other creative practices, and dialogue with peers doing the same?  With just you, this guidance, and the strands of Nature at your fingertips, what beacon signal might you wish to put forth to the world now, and in the days and years to come? 

This virtual retreat is for women of all ages and walks of life committed to bringing about a better world. We will weave together solo time in Nature with teaching, sharing and convening with others in council. Using inner and outer Nature as our first and best teacher, you’ll be guided with reflection and intention to connect mind, heart and action. The Center for Nature & Leadership and the Generative Council have enriched and emboldened many talented, thoughtful women leaders through this transformative experience and welcomes you to join our next journey!

“Spending time in nature with a broader vision for my life has yielded incredible insights. Setting time aside to contemplate both my personal and professional hopes. And what a lovely bonus to be in a reflective, supportive community with strong, interesting women!”

Karen Marie Christenson, St. Paul, Minnesota

Here is what you get:
  • Six 100-minute virtual gatherings of teaching, sharing, and connecting with others
  • A voluntary, extended-time solo retreat
  • Weekly solo activities blending time on the land with writing and other creative reflection practices
  • Connection with peers through dialogue walks, conversation, and Council
  • Opportunities for individual coaching with program guides
During our time together, you will:
  • Learn personal leadership development and nature-based practices designed to enhance your presence and effectiveness
  • Reflect on your life, work and aspirations to shape a richer personal and professional life
  • Join a community of like-minded women leaders who provide support, perspective and mentorship
  • Be inspired and motivated to bring your best self to what matters most in your life
  • Gain fresh perspectives and deeper insights to propel you towards greater wholeness and embodied leadership
Guide: Cary Gaunt, Ph.D.

Two great loves comprise the heart of who I am and the work I do in the world. One is a profound connection with the earth forged by my childhood on a small farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and honed through a lifetime of listening to the land, exploring and living in natural places. The other is a deep spirituality comprised of contemplative and nature-based practices, Soulcraft™, spiritual discernment, and wilderness rites of passage. I bring these two great loves together in my work as a sustainability leader and contemplative practitioner and teacher. My commitment is to support organizations and individuals in moving beyond sustainability to restoration and flourishing.

Guide: Kelli Bettenhausen

My passion is people, plain and simple. I love to listen to the stories people share and what makes them ‘tick’. In my current work as a consultant, I find opportunities to blend my passion for people with leadership. Being a part of Growing Your Best Self and the Center for Nature and Leadership has expanded my love of nature and my growth in myself.


Six online 100 minute sessions: September 12 & 26, October 10 & 24, November 7, and December 5 at 10am PT/1pm ET. You will also have an opportunity for a voluntary, real-time solo retreat. During the off-weeks, you’ll have individual reflection and planning, both inside and out.


$375 for the experience described above, practices between sessions and all program materials.
Interested, but the cost is prohibitive? Learn about our scholarships here. The mission of the Center for Nature & Leadership is to provide transformative experiences to diverse women leaders from all walks of life and locales, so no one will be turned away due to finances.

Registration & Readiness
  1. Complete the online registration no later than September 8, 2021. You will be directed to a payment page upon completion of your application form. Upon receipt of payment, we will send you confirmation that your place is held.
  2. You’ll need a reliable internet connection and device, download Zoom which is free, and respect outdoor safety & health recommendations in your area.
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