Customized (1 to 3 day) retreats for executives, entrepreneurs and teams seeking to reconnect to their deeper purpose personally or professionally through more in-depth self exploration at a core human level.
Example retreats include: one-day executive alignment retreats, wilderness expeditions, in-depth retreats for executive teams, a weekend immersion in urban homelessness.
“I hired Will to facilitate a leadership development retreat with my work in Dynamic Presencing (a leadership and coaching methodology) a few years ago. Working with Will clarified the growing edge of my work, where it needs to grow to more optimally meet client’s needs and the pathway to making this a concrete reality. Though we did the retreat a few years ago, as I reflect on it now, it is clear to me that the work we did during those sessions played a formative role in clarifying the path, aims and means that I’ve since grown into exploring and materializing. William has an exacting ability to presence where you are at and hold a rich developmentally informed container to grow into where your most called to be. Because his sensors are richly attuned to and through his own carved out sensibility of meaning, because his why is real, palpable, there’s a rare experience to be had that when you face into where you are with him, untold possibilities begin to become tangible. Support like this is frankly rare and priceless.”
--Dr. Olen Gunnlaugson, University of Laval Faculty of Business
“The Executive Alignment retreat I did with William had a tremendous impact on my business, but more importantly, the way I thought about my business. Being a leader of a growing live music agency, it's easy to get consumed with operational concerns. Going into my fifth year of business I was transitioning into a more pure leadership role where previously I was doing a bit of everything. I felt a call to explore what being a leader in my organization could look like and go deeper into my own capacity for leadership - and what I could do to be as effective as possible. In the retreat, William lead an exploration deeper into the WHY of my business and specifically the meaning of the brand and my and my brand's purposes. At times it was difficult to go deeper but William is a skilled listener and leader and he knew when to push me when more clarity was needed or when I wasn't being fully honest with myself. We extracted a solid vision statement and a new vocabulary around my core values as a leader, and for the business, we created 5 core company values as well.”
--Andrew St. Royal, CEO and Founder, St. Royal Entertainment
“From time to time leaders need to be stripped of every adornment and just be in the world and function in their organizations without any props, without identity, without qualification, without external resources, stripped to raw essence so that we can learn to tap into our raw power again and again, so that we can feel, and relate human to human, essence to essence, with or without title, qualification or identifier. In the fall of 2014, William Walker invited me to go homeless on the streets of Montreal for a weekend. I was advised to eat well before setting out because it could be my last meal for a few days. William asked that we leave our IDs, wallets, phones, money. It reminded me of when Jesus sent his followers out on a mission and asked them to leave their money and bags. Now that is true leadership development, where for a limited time, within certain parameters and with some guidance, you are stripped of who you think you are and what you think you have and are left with your truth. You are likely to learn new things about yourself and the world because you have put yourself in a context where the areas you need growth become as clear as day. Here is what I learned:
Curiosity. I am naturally drawn to things I have never done because I came to the realization a while ago that if I only did the things I had done before, I would never grow and would never learn.
Integrity. I invite leaders, executives and teams into an experience called Cleaning as Practice, which is a very outside the box experience that stretches people beyond their comfort zones. I thought integrity requires that I experience again and again, what I invite others into.
Togetherness. I agreed to homelessness because I would not be alone. We were two. When difficult experiences are shared, the negative effect is minimized.
Radicality. I needed my thinking and paradigm challenged and shattered if necessary, by truth. I figured that by putting myself in an entirely new situation with an unfamiliar set of variables, I will have to create new thought patterns just to deal with them. I knew that the easiest way to think outside the box was to come out of it. It is very simple: when you step outside the box, you will think outside the box. Leadership and organizational development programs that keep most variables constant are not truly transformational.
Immersive learning. True learning involves the heart, mind, and body. Most learning involves playing with other people's ideas in our heads but true learning involves experiencing and feeling with our bodies and sensing and seeing with our hearts, enabling us to come up with original thought. I wanted to learn not only about homelessness, I wanted to learn about myself, my work and of course witness the city in a way I had never done. Real learning is experiential.
Juxtaposition. I love contrasts. A software developer becomes a better software developer when he or she is periodically exposed to experiences outside the world of coding. Juxtaposition enlarges our frame of reference. You are a better CEO the more you juxtapose your CEOness with a role that stands in sharp contrast to it like being a janitor, and vice versa. I went homeless because I wanted to better understand and appreciate homefulness. To learn about anything, it helps to experience its contrast.
Stripping. Floor stripping, perhaps the messiest and most difficult and time consuming cleaning task is also one of the most rewarding. This is the process of metamorphosis. The old self dies and a new self comes alive. This was my interpretation of the probability of not coming back alive. And really, we are not ready to live until we are ready to die are we? My primary reason for honoring the invitation to homelessness, which in a sense encapsulates all others, is that I wanted to be stripped of wax but also of dirt. I wanted to experience, albeit for a short period of time, what it was like to be, to navigate and to act without identity, qualification or resource, only my essence.
--Tolulope Ilesanmi, Founder, Zenith Cleaning Inc. and Cleaning as Practice