Now Accepting Applications for our 2017 Courage to Lead Introductory Retreats

Courage to Lead:  Providing leadership training, nurturing and renewal for nonprofit executive leaders.

Those of us engaged in leadership, community service, and social change know the challenge of sustaining ourselves and our commitment to deeply held values and beliefs. The more passionate we are about our work, the more vital it is that we take time to renew our own spirits — to reflect on the wellsprings of our service to others — to reconnect who we are with what we do.  And in this process, we also benefit from the development of a trusted peer group for mutual support and inspiration.

The Courage to Lead® program is designed to provide just this type of nurturing environment for nonprofit executive leaders. Run by Leading From Within and developed by Parker J. Palmer, Ph.D. and the Center for Courage & Renewal, the Courage to Lead retreat series model focuses neither on technique, nor on society’s needs, but on renewing the inner lives of leaders.


Visit CTL Testimonials to hear more about the Courage to Lead program and
what a number of alumni have to say about their experience.

What Courage to Lead?

Courage to Lead is a year-long leadership and renewal program that consists of five quarterly retreats and monthly small group Leader Circles. Each group includes 20-30 nonprofit executive leaders. When nonprofit leaders have completed a year-long retreat series, they graduate into our Alumni Program with continued opportunities for peer community, retreat and renewal, and resource sharing. 114 nonprofit executive leaders have completed our program since 2008, and the great majority of them continue to engage actively as part of the growing Courage to Lead alumni community.
> Listing of Courage to Lead program alumni

Retreats are held in Santa Barbara at the beautiful La Casa de Maria Retreat Center. 
Amidst towering ancient oaks with views of the mountains beyond and just minutes from tranquil beaches, La Casa de Maria provides the perfect setting to help Courage to Lead participants begin to hear our inner voice. The practice of reflection, journaling, and deep listening are part of the fabric of our approach. Working in such a space, participants are able to focus on what they need to renew personal identity, professional integrity, and vocational vitality.

What happens at a Courage to Lead retreat?

Meeting quarterly in retreat with a group of other nonprofit leaders provides the opportunity to build a deep and trusted community of peers.  Our monthly Leader Circles allow participants to continue the work and reinforce their learning between meetings in a small group environment.  At Courage to Lead, we don’t buy into the idea that nonprofit leaders are all competitors for scarce resources.  Our philosophy is “we’re all in this together,” and our participants develop nurturing, mutually supportive peer relationships. Often we focus on a seasonal theme, using the rich metaphors of the natural world to explore vocational and life questions.  Over time, a deep trusted community of peers is created, and each participant has focused time and space to make progress on core questions they are holding about their life and work.

The Courage to Lead program:

  • Renews heart, mind and spirit through exploration of the inner life of leaders
  • Provides a rare opportunity to slow down and reflect
  • Explores practices that help sustain one’s vocational vitality
  • Builds a safe and trustworthy community of peers

>Hear more about the Courage to Lead program and what a number of alumni have to say about their experience.

>Learn more about Leading From Within Programs