RTS Leaders Retreat 2018!
I was recently in New Orleans for the RTS Leaders retreat and let me tell you something. It actually changed me! Yeah, that's right, your very own cynical, unemotional friend has come back feeling like a changed person!! New Orleans on it's own was SUCH an incredibly amazing experience (but more on that later) but the retreat re-invigorated my soul and my business and my desire to lead in this incredible community!
First off, if you are reading this and wondering what I'm talking about let me give you a little big of background!
The Rising Tide Society started out as the brainchild of Natalie Franke, who saw that creative entrepreneurs didn't have resources or a community of people that most corporate or 9-5 jobs did. There are no co-workers when you work from home so things can get a bit lonely and there isn't really anyone to bounce ideas off of, create with or just talk to on a daily basis! Out of this need, the Rising Tide Society was born. Starting in Annapolis and growing to now an international community of creative entrepreneurs, RTS is founded on the principle that is the now famous JFK quote, "A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats".
The function and goal of RTS is to build a community of creatives that can support each other, lift each other up and help each other grow. The hashtag #CommunityOverCompetition is something that speaks to the overall goals and vision of the group and what our purpose is.
Now with that out of the way, I'm a local leader for the Manassas/Gainesville/Haymarket area and I host monthly meetings on Tuesdays for any local creative entrepreneurs that wish to join! We discuss a monthly topic and an insanely helpful guide that touches on so many pain-points that Solopreneurs like myself deal with on a daily basis! Because I'm the local leader I got the opportunity to go to the yearly retreat which was hosted in New Orleans!! Last years was in San Francisco and while it was a total blast, this year was seriously incredible! Check it out below!
Our retreat was held at the Pontchartrain hotel in the garden district and everything was decked out and provided by our awesome sponsors Travelbank and Weebly!
All photos by Madison Short!
We started our day with a continental breakfast and then listening to Natalie talk to us about RTS, inspire us and wow us with her dedication and vision and make us a little emotional with her story about her recent surgery on a brain tumor just a couple short months before the retreat. If there is anyone in this world that is an inspirational, wonderful amazing leader it's this lady right here.
After Natalie spoke to us, got us excited and inspired and ready to learn the incredible Mary Marantz spoke to us. As someone who is neither a photographer nor someone who knows the "who's who" of wedding photographers, I went into her talk with no real expectations but boy was I enthralled!
Mary spoke to us about "Building a Legacy of Leadership" and it really spoke to my core. She talked about the differences between being a "marketer" and a "leader" and how the two things do not coincide but can sometimes get confused. I had felt a little lost in my leadership role of late, trying to find my purpose and the path to really doing something great and leading in a way that was important. This really grounded me and helped me get back to basics and back to why I took up the lead position to begin with!
For the first lunch break we went to Turkey & Wolf, a restaurant right next to our apartment and highly recommended from Kari of Toolbox Studios.
When we came back from lunch we had a great talk from Kait Masters about people management and conflict resolution which had a lot to do with empathy and understanding where people are coming from. A great philosophy for dealing with any conflict! I also got to say hello and hug and squeeze this incredible human, Renee of Moxie Bright Events! She is an inspiration in business, life and a leader and role model I aspire to be like. She's also effortlessly cool which always makes me extra socially awkward and weird around her. But man do I adore her!
To wrap we ended with a great panel on passive income which got made my dream of owning a little cottage in Charlottesville and using it for an airbnb even more present!
We wrapped that day around 4pm and headed out for dinner and exploring the garden district! But of course we had to get ready for our masquerade ball that night at Hot Tin!
We had the whole top floor bar and beautiful terrace overlooking the twinkling city below. It was absolutely breathtaking, and so were the limitless Moscow Mules.
We were welcomed by champagne, passed chocolate chip cookies, tartlets and other delish snacks and (maybe one too many) Moscow Mules! The dj was jamming and played Beyonce on request so we danced the night away until our feet wouldn't allow us to anymore then retreated back to our apartment to sleep off the day and prepare for the 2nd and final day of the retreat!
Our next day started off with one of my favorite aspects of New Orleans, a biegnet breakfast!
I wanted to be polite so I only took two and by the time I realized they were incredible and went back for more they were gone.
Moral of the story?
Don't be polite, to anyone, ever, for any reason. ; )
After lots of coffee and mingling we started the second day with a talk on Marketing and growth hacks and a talk from Jessica Rasdall.
We then went into a great diversity panel with Josefina Sanders, Laylee Emadi, Tomayia Colvin, Dannie Fountain & Emilie Steinmann. Each shared a bit of their story and opened the floor up for honest, candid comments and questions from the attendees. Last year it was my favorite part of the retreat and it did not disappoint this year either!
After a great panel and Q&A session, we went to lunch and ended up back at a retreat favorite - Juans Flying Burritos with their gigantic cajun quesadillas and delicious queso. Then over to PJs coffee for a quick pick me up before the 2nd and final half of the day!
We came back to a presentation by the founders of Burgundy Fox and then a workshop where we came together to strategize our and share our best practices for leading our groups! It was a magical two days that I won't soon forget making new friends, exploring an incredible city and eating amazing food. I'm already planning my next trip back!