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Reunite Hope EXTENDED Leadership Gathering advances 5-year Strategic Plan pillars and energizes network-wide leaders

Each year, Boys Hope Girls Hope hosts executive directors and board, program, and development/marketing leads for a four-day gathering,  to connect, learn from each other, and plan together.  After two years of virtual conferences, participants said it was refreshing to meet as “One Team One Mission” in St. Louis, Missouri last week. 

 The Boys Hope Girls Hope 24-member Network Headquarters team, led by President & CEO Kristin Ostby de Barillas, created an experience with ample time for learning and sharing best practices, while also giving people time to have fun together and build camaraderie.  More than 80 people from the entire Network attended, providing rich and diverse perspectives on all topics. 

Tuesday, March 29

The week kicked off on Tuesday evening with a Welcome Reception. More than 500 years of combined experience with the organization was in one room! After 2.5 years of being apart and managing the changing dynamics of the pandemic, it was important for the agenda to have a mix of working sessions and fun. Hosted at the historic St. Louis Union Station Hotel complex offered attendees complimentary access to the St. Louis Aquarium and the famous St. Louis Wheel.

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Reunite Hope EXTENDED Leadership Gathering advances 5-year Strategic Plan pillars and energizes network-wide leaders 36

Wednesday, March 30

After that, the work began! On Wednesday morning, the group revisited the recently completed Boys Hope Girls Hope’s 5-year strategic plan—A Bold Vision for the Future of Boys Hope Girls Hope. Sessions for the week were planned to directly tie to key foundational needs and opportunities presented within the plan.

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The Human Capital Management team led a session on Talent, Recruitment, and Retention: Building Sustainable Teams. 

 In the afternoon, Sonya Mehta of Metamorphosis Consulting joined in a Mission Effectiveness presentation on upgrades to Boys Hope Girls Hope’s signature digital scholar journey platform and how it will aid in scaling programming, providing age-appropriate curricula, and connecting scholars with peers from other affiliates to broaden their experiences and personal networks. 

In all sessions, after information was presented, panels made up of affiliate leaders and alumni contributed their experience and expertise. 

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Following the insightful sessions, participants were transported to the new Boys Hope Girls Hope Network Headquarters office on The Hill. Board Chair Joe Koenig and CEO Ostby shared remarks before founder Father Paul Sheridan provided a blessing of the space. Scholars from the St. Louis affiliate joined in the ribbon-cutting.  Major Boys Hope Girls Hope donors, the Vatterott Family, the Stokes Family, and the de Graffenried Family had spaces dedicated.

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The evening culminated with the 4th Annual Excellence Awards, held at the Moulin Events Jefferson Ballroom celebrating our honorees; Mike de Graffenried receiving the Vatterott Award; Jan Wacker receiving the Hero of Hope Award; Alumni Michallé Fain and Rayburn Deng receiving the Legacy of Hope Awards, and the University of Denver receiving the Partner in Hope Award. 

Thursday, March 31

Thursday was spent hearing from a powerful Alumni panel.  Alumni shared perspectives and reflections on their lives and how the organization can continue to prepare scholars for an ever-changing world. Guest presenters Brenda Asare, President and CEO of The Alford Group, and Emily Lohse-Busch, Strategic Advisor, Lohse-Busch Strategy, LLC talked about the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at every level of the organization, and how this benefits decision-making.  

Ms. Asare was joined by Thom Digman of The Digman Network to present on Funding Scale: Leveraging the Power of the Network on a Campaign while program leads discussed Programming Best Practices, Challenges, & Supports. 

 Equally valuable, the attendees spent time talking with one another in affinity-based, break-out sessions to wrap a bow around all we learned and how to move forward together with implementation.  

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Lastly, the night was capped off with dinner and dancing to the music of St. Louis’ well-known DJ Nune in the Spink Pavilion at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

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Friday, April 1

After a week of work growing the organization and team connections, those who were still in town woke up to kick off the 2nd Annual Walk to Hope network-wide fitness challenge by trekking from Union Station to The Gateway Arch as a collective team!

A full, impactful, and inspiring week was finally had TOGETHER!

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