I left my office with no expectations… looking for fun, networking and to find out what other CEOs are doing in business today and how are they dealing with the demands of our world. I left the retreat feeing centered, calm cleansed and rejuvenated. Please use me as a future reference. I would describe the two days a journey …. Personal and business enhancements!!!!– Eileen Guarino, President, Greno Industries
At this point in my career, the opportunity to engage with women who bring experience, wisdom, and a willingness to be authentic is invaluable. The exploration of what it means to be a leader at this age, in this time, is such important work: I can’t imagine doing it alone. After the Cirque experience, I can’t imagine doing it without this incredible group of women.– Jan Hepola, Manager of Training and Organizational Development, Pier Foundry & Pattern Shop
As a strong, capable woman leader I’m great at leading others. But when it comes to myself, not so much. Cirque created an opportunity to explore what was on my mind and in my heart. Cirque provided me with the opportunity to focus on future goals-both personal and business – and to think about the very tangible steps I plan to take to realize these goals. While I could dedicate the time to do this on my own, the truth is that I get caught up in my day to day life and don’t do it. The support and coaching by the other women in the group (both CEOs and leaders) was instrumental in making me STOP and think carefully about the important next steps to create the future that I want.– Deena McCullough, President, Northern Insuring Agency
My Cirque du Sophia experience was amazing. It was an opportunity to connect with a diverse group of busy women who were interested in exploring new ideas. We shared great conversation, our talents, expertise and some wonderful food. [The facilitators] created a relaxing and safe environment – a much appreciated, quiet interlude for all of us.– Nancy M. Blaschak, Executive Director, American Red Cross Greater Buffalo
I have attended two Cirque du Sophia retreats. Both were incredibly broadening in opening up my mind to new perspectives and experiences as well as broad in terms of the subject content of the retreats. One gains insight from all of the participants both from what they say about you, and how they view themselves. How masterful to create a very trusting and honest environment for self-disclosure which makes the sessions richer and more meaningful. It is rare that in such a short period of time so much value can be extracted.– Katie Militello, Principal, Militello Marketing
Very rarely is there an opportunity for women CEOs to gather together, especially from such diverse areas of the country and unique backgrounds and professional expertise; Cirque du Sophia is a small, highly personal and introspective professional development opportunity that captures the synergy of the participants and inspires great personal and professional outcomes.
Female executives/business owners share unique challenges and opportunities, and in many ways are bound by a similar drive and determination and desire to continually succeed and achieve. Cirque du Sophia brought these minds and talented woman together in a setting of peace and solemnity to draw on their strengths, knowledge and creativity and share them with one another, while reflecting on one’s own growth and future potential. It was the “perfect storm” of friendship and professional/personal development!– Kathleen Christy, Executive Director, BISON Scholarship Fund
My first experience with Cirque du Sophia was a combination of relaxation, rejuvenation and inspiration. In a very short time period, I gained new insights about myself and got to spend time with wonderful, smart, accomplished women. I couldn’t recommend more highly and can’t wait for my next Sophia experience. In the meantime, I’ve continued to write in my journal as a way to maintain focus.– Rosanne T. Dee, President, RT Dee and Associates, Inc.
Imagine yourself at the crest of the hill, surrounded by other women. Cirque du Sophia was a magical 3 days of collaboration, experiences and heartfelt new friendships. All women, all the time, with an innate understanding and ability to truly listen and support. We laughed, cried, hugged and hiked, eventually instilling confidence in each other. I am so grateful for the chance to get to know these women and to realize that I am not alone as I continue to climb to the top of the mountain, I now have some very special colleagues and friends to rely on for support and guidance. The real life version of Cashmere Mafia.– E. Rachael Baird, President, Tilt Studio
I came away from this retreat with small steps to a bigger plan for our business, with priorities a little more clear, a better understanding of the perfect balance of my personal and professional life and MUCH more confident. The three days were filled with personal reflection, not only within ourselves but also defining who we are in our businesses. Melissa and Lise definitely make you think within to really find out who you are. I will say I was a little overwhelmed when I left because I wanted so much change, but knowing change takes time and to do it right takes patience. I am a better person because I attended this retreat.
– Pam Hayes, Co-Owner, United States Whip, Inc. and Tote Along, Inc.
Cirque du Sophia provided a safe place to share what it is like to be a woman CEO/CFO and balance personal and professional self. It was a place that I felt I could drop the mask that I frequently have to wear to survive in the executive arena and just be me. It was refreshing to “see” myself as others see me and to sort out all of the things that were jumbled up in my head. It was truly a retreat and I feel refreshed and renewed as a result of our time together.– Sheila Harvey, Owner/CFO, A+ Corporation, LLC
It was a remarkable experience, but the after-effects have been the journey. I have always believed that you take a little piece of each person with whom you bond into your heart forever.
You, dear friends, are in my heart and in the better business woman I believe I became in C’Gua [Canandaigua]. Thank you, every single one of you.– Teresa Helmlinger Ratcliff, Executive Director, Industrial Extension Service, North Carolina State University