Updated: Sep 26, 2022
A retreat experience supporting Queer Leaders in their roles as change-agents, during Pride season, and beyond.
A transformational space for Queer Leaders and change-makers to rest, reset and re-connect.
Pride season can be challenging for many LGBTQ+ leaders, DEI advocates and community activists. This added pressure to share personal stories, perform and educate wider society can be exhilarating, but also exhausting. This is why we created the Pride & Beyond Summit and Retreat - to not only support change-makers with their wellbeing and mental health, but to also to equip them with sustainable leadership tools to build a more inclusive and healthier Queer Future - during Pride season, and beyond.
We brought together our global network of LGBTQ+ change-makers.
This year we saw dozens of Queer Leaders gather to reset, reflect and re-connect amidst a long and busy Pride season. We brought together community activists with corporate change-makers from our global LGBTQ+ Network - because we know that cultivating meaningful connections is a cornerstone of the wellbeing of any Queer Leader.
"Each person I met, and every conversation I had, left me feeling more connected and embodied than I did when I arrived. I’m grateful for the queer utopia that was created." - Josh Lavra (he/they), Creative Lead, Hope Lab
We focused on building connection and intra-community support networks.
Connection was one of the main threads weaved throughout our Programme and our evenings together. It allowed us to understand commonalities and differences across sectors and identities, strengthening the intra-community bonds and support networks we need to thrive as Queer Leaders.
“The biggest thing that I took away from the retreat was the affirmation of being a part of a queer leadership community. This was the first time in my life where I felt full psychological safety in exploring topics like leadership, strategy, culture and work within the confines of a community that represented or understood each of my identities.” - Andre Johnsen (he/they), Head of Social Innovation, Year Here
We believe mental health and wellbeing need to become a priority on the journey of every Queer Leader.
The retreat took place in a beautiful, converted farm in the Norfolk countryside. The perfect environment to reset and reconnect. We offered a daily mix of wellbeing sessions; including a morning movement practice and meditation, and workshops on mindful eating and breathwork. All powerful yet simple holistic tools that leaders can continue to use for effectively understanding their mental health needs and addressing them.
“It's definitely helped teach me the value of rest. I'm still on a journey, but it's helped me realise what I need to focus on.” – Dominic Arnall (he/him), CEO, Just Like Us
Through the cultivation of brave spaces we explored the impact and importance of authentic leadership and queer resilience.
Through creative workshops and inspiring conversations, we invited Queer Leaders to explore what authentic and inclusive leadership means to them and how to cultivate more confidence in knowing, connecting, and sharing their stories as change-makers. We offered tools to overcome imposter syndrome and facilitated deep conversations around resilience and emotional intelligence to navigate the challenges and barriers faced in the workplace and public spaces as authentic Queer Leaders.
“The experience to meet and connect with so many people who have different identities and lived realities within the Queer community was a turning point for me. I no longer feel like I have to be anything other than myself to prove that I belong in Queer spaces, which is something that has come through a number of WCS events that I have attended. This has really helped me feel more confident in my own identity and I feel that I can own the title of ‘Queer Leader’ now, which is something I struggled to call myself before this experience.” – Char Erskine (she/they), DEI Manager, Taylor Wessing
Special thanks go to Pride at JTI who kindly sponsored a number of community spaces; to our brand partners Aesop, lululemon and Papier for your support; to all the facilitators and speakers; to Kiran Kiani who produced our film, and Andrew Urwin who took these beautiful photographs.
Want to sponsor our Pride & Beyond events in 2023?
By investing in this kind of support, businesses not only become active in their allyship but also demonstrate supporting LGBTQ+ leaders in making long-lasting impact and change during Pride and Beyond is a priority. If you would be interested in sponsoring our Pride & Beyond events, including our Pre-Pride Virtual Summit (10-11 May 2023) please get in touch for more information.