Taormina Update - Most Recent


July 8, 2024


Good day all!!  We took a big leap towards Taormina since our last update.  I have a few bits of information here and one request – which I will get to now:


First, please forward your itinerary to me so that I am able to begin coordinating the arrival and departure car service spreadsheet.  The concierge has already contacted me and is ready to begin building our requirements.  I will need your arrival and departure flight dates, numbers and times.  Second, last week I spoke with our facilitator, Chris Johnson, and she provided me with a program outline and pre-reading list.  Please see below:


Our Program Content


November 2-9, 2024
 ~ The Energy of Leadership


“Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you.” ― Peter F. Drucker


I can’t believe that we are getting so very close to this event! For those of you that did not see my little video intro at last year’s event – I am Dr. Chris Johnson and I look forward to spending some amazing time with you in Taormina!!  Each morning’s session will include content on the neurobiology of learning, energy, and leadership application, with exercises and practices designed to support you in your specific area of focus. Thought homework (meaning something for you to ponder) for the afternoon and evening will tee up the next day’s session. Pre-readings are listed below and will be provided ahead of our event.   


Our intention is to move the needle a bit with regard to the way you understand and utilize your leadership energy to create added value for you, your board, and your organization.  We understand that you are primarily directors.  And we understand that the language of leadership is often framed for executives and not board members.  That said, leadership spans a very broad space, and this program is about taking those valuable leadership attributes that you already bring to the table and moving the needle a bit further.


Session 1: Energy – Why’s it Matter?


It’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives and lose connection with life’s natural rhythm and flow. But when we persist in ignoring, overriding, or tuning out because our attentions are elsewhere for long, we run ourselves down, costing us access to our vitality, including our health, our focus, and our relationships.


Learning Objectives


·      Identify the Impact of Busyness on Energy & Leadership Effectiveness in Your Life and Leadership

·      Explore the connection between Energy Depletion, Decision Fatigue, and Burnout

·      Tap Your Internal Reserves of Care as an Energy Antidote




·      Beware a Culture of Busyness, Adam Waytz, HBR

·      The Leadership Pause, Intro & Chapters 1 & 2, Chris Johnson, Braintrust

·      Recharging Yourself as a Leader- 3 Laws of Managing Energy, Ginny Whitelaw, Forbes

·      5 Steps to Investing Your Energy More Wisely, Peter Bregman, HBR


Session 2: Organizational Health – It Starts with You


Organizational health includes three elements: how well the entire organization rallies around a common vision and strategy, how well the organization executes its strategy, and how well the organization innovates and renews itself over time.  As directors you are intimately engaged in the state of the credit union’s health.  It starts with you and directing your own energy.


Learning Objectives


·      Identify Your Leadership Energy Advantage & How it Impacts Health & Wellbeing

·      Explore Energy Habits that Work and don’t Work

·      Examine how Your Energy impacts Your Leadership and Your Organization




·      Does Your Organization have the Energy to Transform, Michael Mankin, HBR

·      The Secret to Dealing with Difficult People, It’s you, Tony Schwartz, HBR

·      The Work of Leadership, Ronald Heifetz, HBR

·      Organizational Health is still the key to long-term performance, Alex Camp et al, McKinsey


Session 3: “Get It” Conversations to Embody Trust


If you’ve ever had the experience of feeling so seen and heard by another that you find yourself smiling, thinking, ‘they get it’ or ‘they get me,’ that you walk away finding yourself feeling understood, valued, inspired, or energized, and ready to act, you were in a “Get It” conversation.  Experience the importance of empathy, connection and how to have ‘get it’ conversations.


Learning Objectives


Trust is stretched thin in organizations and communities. “Get it” conversations grow trust.

·      Examine the Neuroscience of Conversations

·      Explore the Trust Formula

·      Perspective-Taking with the Core Commitment Cycle




·      Connect then Lead, Amy Cuddy, HBR

·      Promise Based Management, Donald Sull, HBR

·      Former Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly: Empowering Workers to Create “Magic,” HBR Interview

·      C Suite Skills that Matter Most, Sadun et al, HBR



To begin wrapping this up for now …

Things are getting quite busy for us as we get into the detail of 2024 and of course are concurrently ramping up for 2025.  Chris provided me with a folder of the read ahead docs mentioned above.  As I upload the papers into the website I will add links to the titles. Simply check back to this page periodically and they will begin to populate as links once I get them read and uploaded.


Looking ahead … 

I will have a menu selection for you and your guest (if applicable) for our opening night dinner.  I will alert you once the hotel has confirmed our selections and I can show you the options.


And Finally …  

Many of you may have seen a news story recently about water restrictions in Sicily.  They have been experiencing below average rainfall for many years.  I have written to our main contact and requested an update – specifically with regard to Taormina and the San Domenico Palace. This morning I received the below from my trusted hotel contact with regard to my request:  


We are very pleased to inform you that the water shortage that might happen sporadically, for few hours and only in August (due to high temperatures) has no impact on the Hotel. 😊 They are summer city directives to the general community that does not apply to hotels and commerce.


I take this opportunity to also inform you that our majestic Etna Volcano, which is very active for many years, does not pose any threat, only unforgettable nighttime spectacle a few times a year.







February 24, 2024: 


For this event you will enjoy:

– 6 nights at our hotel, the San Domenico Palace,

– Breakfast for two each day,

– An opening night meet-and-greet cocktail event and dinner – with participants and paid guests,

– Private ground transfers arranged for arrival and departure to the airport (NOTE: the arrival airport is Catania),
– And of course, our content delivery (3 days of content at approximately 4.5 hours per day),

The daily schedule:

Nov 3 Sunday – Day 1 Arrival day, and cocktails and dinner (6pm – 9pm)
Nov 4 Monday – Day 2 Content session I (8-12:30)
Nov 5 Tuesday – Day 3 Content session II (8-12:30)
Nov 6 Wednesday – Day 4 Open
Nov 7 Thursday – Day 5 Open
Nov 8 Friday – Day 6 Content session III (8-12:30)
Nov 9 Saturday – Day 7 Departure


Early arrival nights and post event nights have been available for those that have requested them thus far.  Rates for these nights are higher, at this point averaging as much as €450 per night over our contracted rate.


This is a private page for program attendees.  We will use this location to add all future Taormina 2024 updates.  The most recent update will be placed at the top of the update strand.  This page is designed to keep participants from the need to locate old emails and prior information releases.  In essence this will be a “one-stop” for program related material and information.  Please bookmark the page for future reference. 

Feel free to write, text or call with any questions that you might have (703.606.6018).  We are now in weekly communication with the hotel – planning meeting space, providing rooming list updates and selecting menu options.   Upcoming steps will include full itineraries so that we may schedule your arrival / departure car service, and finally dinner selections / allergy concerns.  I will write when it is time to gather this information.  Conference read ahead materials will be made available as we approach the program date.