Professional & Organizational Development

Spring Retreat

Spring Retreat, Thursday May 2, DoubleTree Suites Southcenter

This year marks the 20th anniversary of this annual conference for UW administrative and support staff. We would be delighted to celebrate this milestone with you!

We will bridge the past, present and future with a moderated panel featuring UW employees who will share insights about their careers and the changing workplace. Workshops and flex stations will equip you to be more centered, agile and empowered as you plan for the next years or even decades of your career.

Registration is now closed for this event.

This all-inclusive event offers:

  • A deluxe continental breakfast with pastries, fruit, and yogurt; a delicious hot lunch buffet; and Starbucks coffee, tea and snacks throughout the day.
  • Three breakout sessions of your choice (as space is available; see event schedule for details).
  • A moderated panel featuring employees from across the UW.
  • Post-lunch flex stations with a variety of dynamic activities.
  • Opportunities to network with your peers, informally throughout the day and through flex-station and workshop activities.
  • Chances to win one of two development-oriented gift baskets, POD Quarterly Course certificates and more giveaways throughout the day.

Coffee cups, UW bags and books.Every retreat-goer receives:

  • A keepsake journal and pen
  • A full set of materials for all retreat workshops
  • A Starbucks cup
  • A UW tote bag or drawstring bag
  • A copy of the book “The Perfect 15-Minute Day Journal: Managing Your Time, Your Thoughts, and Your Emotions” and access to a bonus follow-up webinar with 15-Minute Day author and innovator Pierre Khawand on Thursday, May 23, from 2 – 4 p.m.
  • Credit towards POD’s Administrative Excellence Certificate

More bonus items:

  • Registering for the retreat enters you for a chance to win a coupon for 95% off a room at DoubleTree Suites Southcenter for the night of the retreat, Thursday, May 2.
    • We will do a total of three drawings for the 95%-off coupons, one at the end of February, one at the end of March and one at the end of April.
    • Each registered participant can only win a maximum of one 95%-off coupon. If you win, your name will be excluded from future drawings.
  • Retreat participants can also reserve a room the DoubleTree Suites Southcenter at a guaranteed $189 rate for Wednesday, May 1 or Thursday, May 2 (plus applicable taxes and fees). Contact DoubleTree Southcenter sales team member Rebecca Hoffman (206-777-3395 or and notify her you’d like to book a room with the UW Spring Retreat.

Any masking requirements or recommendations will align with current UW policies.

8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. | Check-In & Breakfast

Please arrive between 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. to check in, receive your materials, and enjoy a variety of breakfast options.

8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. | Mindfulness Activity

Start your retreat with Certified Leadership Embodiment Coach, Catherine Bachy, as she leads a morning meditation to help center your mind, manage outlying stress, and be fully present for the day ahead.

9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. | Welcome

Associate Vice President Ujima Sands celebrates the retreat’s 20th anniversary, plants the seeds for a dynamic day of growth and connection, and presents some  development-oriented giveaways.

9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. | 20th Anniversary Panel

Learn from others’ experience through this moderated panel featuring UW employees sharing their insights about their careers and the changing
workplace. The panel will be moderated by long-time POD instructor and University Consulting Alliance member Joseph Pauley of Applied Leadership Teams.

Our featured panelists:

  • Lee Davis, EDI Training & Curriculum Lead, UW Medicine Office of Healthcare Equity
  • Frankie Fowler, Fiscal Specialist, School of Social Work
  • Elsa Kassa, Director, System Credentialing, School of Medicine
  • Norm Kwasinski, Grounds Supervisor, UW Facilities

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. | BREAK

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Workshops (you’ll choose one)

◼ Steering Your Professional Path with Jason Kalivas and Lee Riley

Though your boss may oversee your job, you control your career. Using self-empowerment in the public-service sector as a guide, facilitators Jason Kalivas and Lee Riley will delve into strategies for developing confidence, effectively advocating for your needs, setting
achievable goals, and taking the lead in your career. Engage in thought-provoking discussions that balance the art of the possible with realistic expectations, and learn to navigate the intricacies of public-service employment while staying true to your career aspirations. This workshop is more than a learning experience — it’s a stepping stone to owning and celebrating your role in your professional narrative.

◼ Personal Productivity and Restorative Practices with Jeff Leinaweaver and Ujima Sands

In the first hour of this double-header, engage with facilitator Jeff Leinaweaver to assess where your work and life feel overwhelming, learn about the purpose and methodology behind personal productivity systems, and explore how these systems can help with easing anxiety and focusing on your most essential priorities. In the second hour, decompress and reassess with facilitator Ujima Sands. Move
beyond the usual ways we attempt to avoid or overcome burnout and discover practices that can restore your energy and balance and equip you to be your better self each day. At the end of these two complementary one-hour sessions, you can expect to feel focused and refreshed.

◼ Work-Life Fulfillment: Designing a Life of Meaning and
with Rosemary Simmons

Does work-life balance feel like a dream that you never get to live? In this engaging workshop, strategically shift from the idea of work-life balance goals and priorities to creating meaning and congruence in all aspects of your work and life. Facilitator Rosemary Simmons will guide you through an intentional process to design your personalized work-life plan based on what is meaningful and fulfilling to you. As you incorporate your professional and personal strengths and values into your plan, you’ll also acquire skills and strategies to enhance your ability to thrive at work and in life.

12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. | LUNCH

Enjoy a buffet-style lunch with hot entrees, a selection of salads and sides, and delicious desserts. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options are included as part of the buffet; please indicate any special dietary restrictions when you register.

1:15 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. | Flex Stations

New this year! Choose your own adventure with a variety of drop-in activities, micro-learning presentations and networking opportunities. We’ll provide a handy guide to help you navigate stations and plan how to invest your time.

  • Connect with others through speed networking or conversations over games.
  • Attend micro-presentations on everything from resume tactics to exploring ChatGPT and AI prompt engineering.
  • Engage in guided mindfulness activities and movement exercises to recharge and refresh.
  • Invest in your future development by learning about coaching and mentoring opportunities,
  • Browse a curated list of books and resources you can check-out from the UW Libraries.
  • Spend time reflecting in the Mindfulness Practice Room, a dedicated quiet space with activities and guidance to relax the body and mind, center, and help reduce stress.

2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. | BREAK

2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. | Workshops (you’ll choose one)

These workshops are repeated from the morning, so you’ll be able to attend two out of three of these development-oriented workshops.

We are hosting the retreat at the DoubleTree Suites at Southcenter, which has free parking and is close to both I5 and I-405. Alternatively, you can use the hotel’s free airport shuttle (see below), which is accessible via a short walk from the SeaTac/Airport light rail station.

Contact Transportation Services for help planning your transportation for the day.

Shuttle information

On Thursday, May 2, scheduled airport pickups will begin at roughly 7:15 a.m., 7:45 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 9:15 a.m., and airport drop-offs are scheduled at roughly 4:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 5:15 p.m., and 5:45 p.m. Additional shuttles throughout the day are available by request.

Please see hotel shuttle instructions below:

Our complimentary Sea-Tac Airport Shuttle Service runs 24-hours a day. For pickups outside of the scheduled times, or for a shuttle ETA, guests should call us at 206-575-8220 when they arrive at the waiting areas at Island # 1 or Island # 3 only. This is located one floor above baggage claim, cross over the sky bridge to the parking lot, and go down one floor to floor # 3. Then call us from the island. Important note: Be sure to get on the smaller back Mercedes Sprinter with a cookie decal on the side for the DoubleTree at Southcenter and not the large buses for the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport location. Return shuttles scheduled with front desk.

Please note that space is limited (roughly ten guests per shuttle), and this may result in delays upon arrival.

Guests arriving before the 8:00 a.m. retreat check-in time are welcome to settle in the Atrium. CHA Café is open from 6:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Registration for this event closed on April 28, 2024.

Why do people love the Spring Retreat?

Here are just a few testimonials from the 2023 event:

The day gave me a chance to meet a lot of folks I had only seen on Zoom or Teams, which was wonderful. Being able to have open and honest conversations was priceless. Learning that we, as employees, are more alike than different helps make it through the harder times.”
– Sondra Henderson, Program Coordinator, UW Bothell

Loved the food/beverages served throughout the day, the swag, the offerings and the presenters. I felt privileged to get to attend this.”
– Jenny Flores Claims Administrative Specialist and Executive Assistant, Compliance & Risk Services

Since I mostly work from home, this retreat was a much-needed injection of good ol’ fashioned face-to-face contact (and vacation from phones and computers!). I gained valuable insights and tools from these workshops for both my professional and personal life and look forward to attending again.”
– Rebecca Caulfield, Sourcing Specialist, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

I enjoyed everything about this retreat. I could tell there was great care in planning it, as everything went smoothly and was well-organized. Every person I came into contact with was open, friendly, helpful, and very approachable. I felt very ‘cared for’ as a UW employee and was reminded once again how this is the best place I have ever worked. Truly grateful for all the work that went into this and it was so nice to take the day for my growth and development.”
– Kate Calisto, Associate Director of Academic Planning & Curriculum Management, College of Education

I really enjoyed meeting with new people from different departments. Even someone from my own department, who I have never met in person before. I really enjoy the moments to talk to different people and learn about what they are doing for UW out there.”
– Xena Hui Bao Xu, TEP/ABA Program Coordinator, College of Education