Leader Retreats

Our retreats provide the techniques and tools that growth entrepreneurs need to take their companies to the next level.

Helping today’s growth entrepreneurs

Leader Retreats at Big Rock Valley (BRV) is a series of educational programs for second-stage entrepreneurs — those who have moved their businesses beyond the startup phase and are striving for continued growth. Our retreats provide the techniques and tools that growth entrepreneurs need to take their companies to the next level.

What makes Leader Retreats at BRV different from other leadership programs?

 Four things:

  • A laser-like focus on second-stage companies (those with 10-99 employees and $1 million to $50 million in annual revenue).
  • Program content that is both cutting-edge and relevant for growth entrepreneurs.
  • A deep understanding of peer learning.
  • BRV’s inspirational setting.

Our retreat program addresses the special challenges second-stagers face, such as building a strong management team, developing internal infrastructure, creating a dynamic company culture, honing their competitive edge and managing organizational change. The goal is to help second-stagers think strategically — and learn how to transform that strategic thinking into action.

Because we recognize that entrepreneurs learn best from each other, peer learning is an integral component of retreats. Although participants come from different industries, they share common issues — something that usually surprises first-time participants and enables them to bond quickly.

Along with our cutting-edge content and state-of-the-art facilities, the natural beauty at BRV enhances the retreat experience. Our 2,000-acre learning campus in southwest Michigan is surrounded by woodlands, wetlands, farm fields and prairies. The peaceful setting enables participants to unplug from hectic schedules and focus on growing their businesses.

Who should attend — Individual entrepreneurs can attend one of our leader retreats when they are affiliated with an entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs), such as a chamber of commerce or other membership organization, small business development center, technology council or economic development agency. After second-stagers have participated in at least one retreat with other business owners/leaders, they can:

  1. Send one or more of their key managers to a retreat attended by key manager from other second-stage companies.
  2. Bring their staff to BRV for an individual company retreat or strategic planning session.

One-stop shopping — Our retreats eliminate the headaches of organizing a learning experience. Everything is rolled into one package, including the location, curriculum and facilitation. Retreats usually span three days and two nights. The foundation heavily subsidizes the costs to bring the average price down to about $900 per person. Once you’ve signed up for a retreat, our team will help you select the curriculum that best fits your group’s desired outcomes.

For more information or to sign up your group for a retreat, contact  Rita Phillips.

Other educational offerings

Because working with second-stagers is a completely different ballgame from helping startups or small businesses, we also host retreats for entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs). These sessions help participants understand second-stagers and deliver the kind of tools and resources their clients need to continue growing. Participants also learn how to work with other ESOs to learn best practices, leverage resources and build a supportive entrepreneurial culture throughout their region.


Retreat Team

Laken Ray Stoliker

Senior Executive Specialist

Robin Joye

Program Manager

What people are saying

“I have been to many conferences and retreats over the years, but being at the Edward Lowe Foundation was the best. I experienced both a recharge and a reset — energized being back at Janska and better equipped to lead us forward.”

— Jan Erickson, CEO of Janska in Colorado Springs, Colorado

“Most learning events I’ve attended are not very interactive: You sit, someone talks, and you write a lot of notes. Yet retreats at the Edward Lowe Foundation are very different. Dino is an incredible facilitator and does a great job of engaging us. The process, the facility — even conversations around the fire pit — breathe life into program information, making it much more powerful. After the retreats I feel clear-headed, energized and ready to take on the world again.”

— Mike Otis, founder of Double O Supply & Craftsmen, Inc. in Byron Center, Michigan