Last year, I had this dream of hosting an event that would bring a group of business owners together to learn, do the work, and have fun.
I put it on my vision board for the new year and I told everyone about the retreat. I was so scared and didn’t know if that was something I could pull off. But I knew that if I shared this vision, it would help push me to implement all the things I need to do to make it happen.
My first task was to search for the perfect retreat location. I found Artemis Hill Farm in Chester, New York – this retreat space has a private estate with a beautiful view and a rescued horses farm. This amazing farm is run by Daniela Nastasi. Daniela also created a non-profit organization called Cavalli Healing Hearts (CHH). CHH empowers youth and adults while addressing suicide prevention through equine therapy.
I was so excited to host my first retreat there. But life threw me a curveball and I had to change my plan. Instead of a 2-night retreat, it became a 2-day retreat. I had to find a new location again.
After a few days of searching, I remember I toured the training room at Liberty Office Suites in Pine Brook a few years ago. I thought that would be a great location, right off Route 80, with a large parking lot, and the training room is a perfect size.
Karen, the general manager, from Liberty Office Suites was wonderful to work with and she was there to support me with whatever I needed.
I was super nervous on the first day because I was hosting and being one of the presenters. I got there early to set up and visualize how the day would go.
Around 9:15 a.m., the videographer and photographer from Happy Films Media, the exhibitors, and the speaker arrived to set up and mingle. Slowly, the attendees started to arrive. After check-in, they started to network and shop. It was so fun to hear all the amazing conversations going on.
At 10:20 a.m., I welcomed everyone and set the tone for the retreat.
Our first presenter was Laura Graziano of Laura E. Graziano, LLC ~ Personal BEST Coaching & Programs. Laura talked about the importance of reflection before we set goals. There are so many lessons in the past that can help guide us to discover our goal power source, she called it the GPS. Laura also shared tips on how we can set SMART goals and be a goal-getter. Here are 3 takeaways from Laura’s workshop.
After Laura’s workshop, we all enjoyed some Panera Bread sandwiches, salads, and cookies while some enjoyed shopping with the exhibitors for the day, including Nancy from Stuff with Iggie – A Curiosity Shoppe and NekaDesigns, Regina from Tiny Kitchen Candle Co., Judith from Rock Collage, and Andrea Pass of Andrea Pass Public Relations representing the NAWBO – National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO North & Central Jersey Chapter).
Special thanks to Judith Dazle of Rock Collage for teaching us an amazing breathing technique to reduce stress and a sound bowl experience after lunch. It was so relaxing and a perfect segway to my presentation.
I was struggling all week long when I was practicing my presentation. I couldn’t find the right flow and I kept stumbling on words. So when it was time for me to do my Tell Your Brand Story workshop, I was so nervous. It went way better than I practiced. I think the attendees’ energy and the conversation we had during the workshop really helped guide the way I presented. I was so happy to hear the wonderful questions and feedback.
I’m so happy and it was a successful Day 1 of the Business and Wellness Retreat!
On the second day of the retreat, I arrived the Liberty Office Suites at 9 a.m. and a few of my exhibitors were there as well. We chatted before the Liberty Office Suites opened. Once it opened, we all went in and set up.
I felt less stressed on the second day because all I had to do was host the retreat.
The attendees and presenters arrived early to mingle and shop. There were Nancy from Stuff with Iggie – A Curiosity Shoppe and NekaDesigns, Kathy from Kreated 4 You By Kathy, and Teekwa Scarborough from PowerPro Assistants representing the NAWBO – National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO North & Central Jersey Chapter).
Our first presenter of the day was Susana Fonticoba of Clear Path Strategy, LLC. Her Blogging Made Painless workshop was so fun! She gave us some great ideas and motivations to start writing our blogs. Did you know that blogs can help with your SEO (search engine optimization)? Here are 3 takeaways from Susana’s workshop.
After Susana’s workshop, we networked, shopped, and enjoyed some Panera Bread lunch. I bought a few things as well during the last two days. I love to support our local artists, makers, and small businesses.
After lunch, everyone was excited for Betty Galvan of My Friend Betty Says Digital Marketing Studio workshop. Betty walked us through how to plan out our 90 days of social media content. She shared that all businesses should have 7 content pillars to showcase who we are, what we do, who we serve, and more. The examples and content inspirations she shared were so helpful. Here are 3 takeaways from Betty’s workshop.
I ended the retreat on each day by giving away some of my favorite business books – You Are The Brand by Mike Kim and Striking Business Gold: Real Strategies, Practical Advice & Inspiration for the Aspiring Entrepreneur by Melanie Cunningham and Sasha Lalite.
I couldn’t have done this retreat without the amazing speakers sharing their knowledge to help our attendees start strong in Q4 and beyond. Thank you!
Thank you to those who came out to my first Business & Wellness retreat. I hope you learn some new skills to help your business grow and make some great connections. Thank you to all the exhibitors for making this a fun experience and giving away some amazing raffles to our attendees.
We were sad we couldn’t taste the amazing dessert from Marlie Bakes Cakes because she was sick. We hope to try her dessert again soon! Thank you, Marlie, for being the dessert sponsor!
And of course, thank you to those who helped me brainstorm ideas for my retreat. The information and suggestions you shared mean a lot – Faith of Yoga with Faith, Mike Kim and my peers at the Marketing Academy, NAWBO mastermind group, the speakers – Susana, Betty, and Laura, and Gabby Borrero and the women of The Next Generation Network.
I can’t believe I did it!! I hosted my first-ever Business & Wellness Retreat! This event energized me and brought me a lot of joy in seeing people having a great time, learning, and connecting. I can’t wait to do another one next year!
More photos and videos to come. Stay tuned!
To learn more about my photography services and upcoming events, head over to charissahyongphotography.com.