Chicago Chapter Event - Retreat

Chicago Chapter Event - Retreat

WCD Chicago Retreat

April 30, 2024 – May 1, 2024
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Following the success of last year’s retreat at the Kohler Resort, we are thrilled to announce the details for our second two-day member retreat. The purpose of this retreat is to provide an enjoyable networking opportunity and a chance to break away from our busy schedules to stimulate fresh thinking and new ideas around the role women play in driving innovation, leadership, and problem-solving. We will retreat to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where all programming and dining will take place at The Ridge Hotel (overnight accommodations are available) and the Yerkes Observatory.

The retreat will kick off with a focus on the Women’s Leadership Center (the Center) (WLC) initiative. This innovative center is envisioned as a hub that will convene senior women executives across various fields, with a special emphasis on STEM, fostering an environment that encourages the formulation of breakthrough solutions. Not only will we learn about the Center, but we will also begin to discuss ways Women Corporate Directors (WCD) and the Center can work together to address important board governance matters in the future. We are honored to have Ann Drake, WCD Chicago member and the founder of the Women’s Leadership Center, share her vision and insights.

Next, we will embark on a transformative journey to master the art of “Teams of Teams.” Northwestern Professor Leslie DeChurch helps unpack the nuances of effective leadership that transcends individual teams, fostering unity and synergy across various functions and divisions within and across an organization. The workshop tackles the common challenges of organizational silos and intergroup biases head-on, equipping leaders with the tools and insights needed to build cohesive bridges throughout their organizations. This session is grounded in Leslie’s extensive research and her decades-long endeavor with NASA to conceptualize the “Teams of Teams” approach for missions to Mars.

We have arranged a special dinner at the Hunt Club Steakhouse. Inside this unique historical building is one of the best restaurants in Wisconsin. Lake Geneva’s premier steakhouse features an upbeat and lively atmosphere for drinks, appetizers, and a delicious dinner, promising an unforgettable culinary experience.

On the second day, we will embark on a journey through the stars with an exclusive tour of the historic Yerkes Observatory. This tour will not only allow you to walk in the footsteps of luminaries but also to gain a deeper understanding of the rich history and ongoing contributions of this remarkable institution to the field of astronomy.

Our strategic visioning session will solicit your insights on the promising partnerships and timely topics that the WLC should tackle, perhaps in collaboration with WCD, both locally and nationally. MarySue Barrett, Senior Strategy Advisor to the WLC, will help us distill and weave together insights from our earlier sessions with Ann Drake and Leslie DeChurch. By reflecting on the unique leadership strengths of women, as well as the challenges of multi-team complex organizations, we will emerge with fresh insights that will be valuable to our growth and impact as board members.

Please note that there is a meeting fee for this retreat. We understand that schedules may not permit attendance for both days, so we have the following multiple registration options to align with members’ schedules:

Attend both days with overnight accommodation


Attend both days without overnight accommodation


Attend Day 1 (lunch and dinner)


Attend Day 2 (breakfast, tour, and lunch)



Our agenda

Tuesday, April 30 – The Ridge Hotel

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.


 1:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m. Welcome

1:45 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Learn about the Women’s Leadership Center initiative

3:00 p.m.–3:15 p.m.


3:15 p.m.–4:45 p.m.

Leslie DeChurch, Northwestern University –Teams of Teams exercise

4:45 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Room check-in/break

5:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Travel time from The Ridge Hotel lobby to The Hunt Club restaurant (Transportation is provided.)

6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Dinner at The Hunt Club restaurant (Transportation back to hotel is provided.)

Wednesday, May 1 – The Ridge Hotel and Yerkes Observatory

7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.

Breakfast and hotel check-out

8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.

Travel time from The Ridge Hotel to Yerkes Observatory (Members need to coordinate their own transportation.)

9:00 a.m.–9:45 a.m.

Tour of Yerkes Observatory

9:45 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

Networking break

10:15 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

Strategic visioning session – WCD in partnership with WLC

11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Program wrap-up and lunch


The Ridge Hotel
W4240 WI-50
Lake Geneva, WI 53147

Yerkes Observatory
373 W Geneva Street
Williams Bay, WI 53191


For more information

Please contact Debra Panzarella at [email protected] with questions or if you have any difficulties registering for the event.

4/30/2024 12:00 PM - 5/1/2024 12:00 PM
The Ridge Hotel W4240 WI-50 Lake Geneva, WI 53147 UNITED STATES

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