Meet Me in Saint Louis: The NCJW, Inc. Leadership Retreat Experience

On June 1-3, 2018 almost 200 NCJW leaders from across the country gathered to LEARN, CONNECT, and DO, the theme of the triennial National Leadership Retreat.  Although we were not “at the fair” nor did we “dance the Hoochee Koochee” (lyrics from the 1904 song composed for the World’s Fair and made famous by Judy Garland in the 1944 movie) the team of four NCJW Long Beach attendees, Linda Fox, Sharon Brannon, Tila Carrol, and Bobbi Horowitz, experienced new learning, new connections with other leaders, and feelings of motivation to “Do”.

We immersed ourselves in outstanding workshops, where practical ideas and handouts to help build our skills as leaders were takeaways.  We were challenged to leave empowered as leaders of complex social justice work in keynote addresses by Washington University Law Professor and Vice Provost Adrienne Davis, and Dimensions Inc. CEO and Executive Director Yavilah McCoy, renowned researchers and

change-makers in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. And tears flowed the final evening as we listened to and interacted with the presenters of Mother 2 Mother, a Conversation with black mothers to white about “the talk” with their black sons.    


Prior to the retreat weekend, Section presidents met for a day and a half of training, and it was time well spent. I was gratified to find out that NCJW Long Beach is more of a “hashtag” than a “pound” sign, “pound” indicating activities that are more traditional in nature (snail mail, sit down luncheons, etc.) and “hashtag” indicating a more current approach (online newsletters and communication, use of social media, etc.). Much of what NCJW Long Beach is now doing fell into the “hashtag” column, although we still have some activities that belong to the “pound” category. Having made the commitment to “shift our focus” in 2017-2018 it was exciting to have confirmation that our Section has made great progress in becoming an organization more attuned to the 21st century.     


This leadership training event was impressive and left the Long Beach contingent motivated and inspired. We hope for more emerging leaders as all members of NCJW Long Beach “Learn, Connect, and Do” together this coming year.