Facilitated Strategic Planning
"From our first phone call, you have been engaging and full of energy and enthusiasm. Despite our very niche area of consulting, you were able to quickly connect with the strategic challenges we’re looking to tackle, and to appreciate and factor in some of the delicacies of doing so. You did an excellent job of helping us to prepare for our facilitated strategic planning sessions, and in guiding us through the sessions themselves, encouraging an open and constructive discussion while always keeping the primary objectives clear. Our entire team now echoes your engagement, energy and enthusiasm for the refreshed strategic plan that you’ve been instrumental in helping us to develop, and we look forward to seeing it unfold!"
– Corey Kinart, MBA, PEng, Senior Associate, HGC Engineering
“Your approach to strategic planning was just what we needed to bring Board members with strongly held views together to prioritize our challenges and agree on key initiatives. Having participated in many facilitated meetings, I really appreciated the way you engaged our members and made the whole process so enjoyable. Your facilitation skills are excellent! I expect we will have a number of opportunities to work with you in the future, and would not hesitate to recommend your services to any organization looking for a highly qualified effective facilitators and strategic planning experts.”
– Marta Sponder, Executive Officer, Oakville, Milton & District Real Estate Board
“...you did a fantastic job [at our Strategic Planning retreat] keeping us focused and moving towards achieving the objectives we had discussed. You managed the two days exceptionally well.”
– Greg Essensa, Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Ontario
“The research was thorough and provided the foundation for a detailed strategy... By involving our senior team and Board members in an interesting and enjoyable process, we were able to get buy-in throughout the organization. Very importantly, your approach took into account our limited resources and built in a rolling launch that was ultimately very successful.”
– Diane Samek, Director of Marketing, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada
“You exhibited a high degree of knowledge and understanding of consensus building with diverse participants. Your patience, skills and abilities allowed all parties to feel that they had been accurately heard and that their participation was noted and valued. The outcomes were logical, supported and created a strong base for the organization to move ahead with.”
– Susan Cudahy, General Manager, Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corpotation
“Our Board was extremely pleased with the work you and your team did to develop our five-year strategic plan. Not only was your planning process well thought out, it was an enjoyable process to go through. The meetings you facilitated helped us agree on our strategic direction, and the plan was something we were able to put to immediate use.”
– Paul Fraumeni, Director, The Safehaven Project for Community Living
“[your] involvement was instrumental not just in guiding our process, but in eliciting creative concepts and ideas from our team that would not otherwise have surfaced. Your engaging style, and respect for all participants, were key to the creation of a plan that we believe is aspirational in its scope and direction, yet pragmatic enough to drive quick results."
– Kevin Beingessner, President & CEO, Coril Holdings Ltd.
“For the past six years, [Strategic Retreats has] been under contract to help plan and coordinate the marketing efforts of PwC Debt Solutions. This contract began with the development of a strategy with which our leadership team was very pleased, and extended into all aspects of our marketing efforts including marketing communications, advertising, staff training, website development, and online marketing. We have found [Strategic Retreats] extremely responsive, knowledgeable and easy to deal with. Your skills as a strategist, and ability to actually do what you have recommended are unique, and we would not hesitate to recommend your services to companies large or small that are looking to get maximum leverage from their investment in marketing.”
– Derek Cramm, (formerly) Senior Vice President, Consulting & Deals, PwC
“From our initial meeting, you showed a fresh enthusiasm and an innovative approach to creating strategy and engaging a cross-section of managers in the process. You exhibited real depth in strategy and strategic thinking and ‘hands-on’ experience in leading change.”
– Marc Caira, Chief Operating Officer, Parmalat Canada
“It was an excellent [strategic planning] session [due to] a facilitator who knew how to guide the group and provide excellent teaching points. It was one of the most interesting and uplifting sessions I have experienced.”
– Valerie Morris, Information Management and Privacy Specialist, Freedom of Information and Privacy Office, Ontario Government
"The meeting exceeded our expectations. By getting to know us beforehand and customizing the agenda, you helped us identify our key issues and redefine our strategy. This work has become the foundation for developing our marketing programs. It was time very well spent and I highly recommend you!"
– Michael Speraw, President, Uplift Technologies Inc.
"What’s never obvious on these assignments is the amount of upfront preparation – along with working closely with the executive sponsor – that’s required to make the assignment a success.. Huge value is brought to the assignment by getting an independent perspective on both the individuals and the company, then coming back to the executive sponsor to tailor the working sessions in order to achieve what the executive sponsor has in mind. It puts the supporting structure – or scaffolding – around the strategy that is being built by the team, and prepares the external advisors to accommodate the personal and professional sensitivities in the group, allowing the members of the team to reach much greater shared understanding of and commitment to the resulting strategy."
– Ken Wilson, former President, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Sprint Canada
“You provided real value in guiding our leadership team through a strategic thinking process. Your very personable and engaging style created a safe and trusting environment, and allowed for an open and honest dialogue.”
– Kevin Jones, President and CEO, The Bloom Centre for Sustainability
“We were extremely pleased with… the interactive workshop you facilitated for our management team. Not only was your whole program informative and extremely useful in helping our managers better understand the change process and the changes we were introducing, it was very entertaining.”
– Dr. Christian von Twickel, Executive Vice President, Dr. Oetker Canada Ltd.
“You skillfully engaged the very diverse board of our NGO in an offsite strategy session. Your experience paid off handsomely as you drew both new insight and active debate from all directors on challenging issues affecting our future course. Through your leadership we have a plan that enjoys the full support of the board and had a productive and enjoyable day.”
– Paul M. Lavelle, Director, CESO | SACO and Chair, Cambridge Corporate Development Inc.
“[you have] facilitated many meetings and focus groups for Mezzanine clients and the feedback is always glowing. [You are] a wonderful facilitator, able to gain consensus from often disparate stakeholders and create a relaxed and productive environment.”
– Lisa Shepherd, President, Mezzanine Group
“[You] did an excellent job of taking complex ideas and making them simple, easy to understand and meaningful for each and every employee. The facilitated breakout groups developed mini-action plans for strengthening our market position. A worthwhile investment for any organization looking to get the message out to employees…highly recommended!”
– Patti Houghton, Senior Manager Corporate Marketing, B2B Bank
“Your facilitation skills are excellent. By ensuring that our Board members and staff were able to contribute their ideas you were very instrumental in helping us develop our 5-year strategic plan.”
– Karyn Kennedy, Boost Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention
“Your workshop-based approach to branding is impressive. You were able to engage the business leaders who participated in the process and make it an enjoyable and productive experience. We are extremely pleased with the results.”
– Tom Horlor, Chief Development Officer, YMCA of Greater Toronto
“Our objective of ensuring that each employee gets the important role that he or she can play in building the brand was fully achieved. Many employees have commented on how comfortable they were during the workshops and how they couldn't believe that learning could be so fun!”
– Sandi Clark, Assistant Director Communication, Ontario Real Estate Association
“[You are]...a strong and skillful facilitator with a sound process and the ability to get people singing off the same sheet.”
– Malcolm Berry, Chair, Canadian Association of Gift Planners
“You stand out as being very results oriented. You are a great facilitator, always well prepared and informed about your client, and able to think on your feet and adapt to devise a clear implementable roadmap to reach objectives.”
– Gigi Dawe, Principal Risk Oversight and Governance & National Practice Leader Governance, Strategy and Risk, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
“In your role as facilitator of an extensive engagement to revamp our CPA Canada tax education programs, you have been energetic, enthusiastic, focused, disciplined and a great project coordinator.”
– Ian M Sherman, Partner, Tax Services, Ernst & Young LLP
"Fantastic job at the Board meeting! It's not too often you remember a good facilitator (only the ones that don't work out so well). The meeting was efficient, reached decisions in a timely fashion, and we kept the stress levels down while making some pretty key decisions."
– Rick Whittaker, Vice President, SDTC