November 04, 2011

Family Voices Staff Retreat October 24 - 26, 2011

The Family Voices staff retreat took place on October 24 – 26, 2011 at the Hotel Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Family Voices would like to thank the Hotel Santa Fe (the only native owned and operated hotel in Santa Fe) for making it possible for Family Voices to be in such a lovely environment for the retreat. This event, organized by staff members Trish Thomas, Lacey Keene, and Karen Anzola, was an opportunity for FV staff to get in sync with all FV strategic plans and goals, fine tune communication systems, welcome and orient new staff, and build strong team relationships for effective and efficient work in the coming year. The theme of the retreat was “Teamwork is a Dance.”

Participants from the main office in Albuquerque included: Executive Director Sophie Arao-Nguyen, Financial Administrator Lacey Keene, National Office Coordinator Adelita Martinez, TA/Partnership Coordinator Trish Thomas, Development Director Michele Touhey, Communications Director Melanie Rubin, and Family Assessment Tool Special Project Coordinator Clarissa Hoover. Staff members from the field included: Director of Programs Nora Wells from Lexington, Massachusetts; NCFPP Co-Project Director Karen Anzola from Huntersville, North Carolina; KASA Project Director Jennifer Thomas from Montgomery, Alabama; IMPACT Program Director Leslie Carroll from Ashland, Oregon; and IMPACT Project Coordinator Melissa Vickers from Huntingdon, Tennessee.

The retreat was productive, fun, and overall a great success. Thank you Lacey, Karen, and Trish for your organizational skill and creativity, and staff members from far and wide for participating!

Highlights of the retreat included:

·         A historical overview of the origins of Family Voices, and how the organization’s past and current work relates to the evolution of U.S. policy and family initiatives in support of children with special needs;

·         A group exercise that provided insight into each staff member’s strengths, working style, and personality;

·         Sharing of each program’s work plan for the coming year;

·         Refinement of internal communications to maximize work flow efficiency for this predominantly virtual organization;

·         Discussion of branding, marketing, and other external communications considerations for Family Voices;

·         Review of plans for database development and refinement;

·         Overview of strategic plans for Family Voices during the next year;

·         Presentation by IMPACT program staff Leslie Carroll and Melissa Vickers about how the Bright Futures Initiative is drawing on research concerning the social determinants of health and life course theory to provide information that supports health for all people and children. They also presented their work to build a network of organizations that represent the full spectrum of children in the U.S. to work together on the dissemination of health and wellness information;

·         Small group meetings with staff teams to address specific projects and programs; and

·         Dance breaks designed to keep us thinking clearly and having fun!

For more information about Family Voices recent staff retreat please contact: Melanie Rubin, Communications Director.