I’ve had about a week to download the truly unforgettable experience of attending the Inaugural Dream Big Darling Leadership Retreat on full scholarship. Dream Big Darling is a Non-Profit founded by Visionary and Ancient Peaks Winery VP of Operations Amanda Wittstrom Higgins with a mission to foster the success of women in the wine and spirits industry. I learned about this amazing opportunity through my dear friend and wine sister Sukari Bowman who received the information from trailblazing wine journalist Dorothy Gaiter. Our retreat group is affectionately referenced as Tribe 1 <3.
I’ll be completely honest in saying that as excited as I was, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just knew that I would have the unmatched opportunity to be in a room with likeminded women to empower me in both my career and the mission of TLTV. I knew that I would be stretched by this experience in a good way. I just didn’t know how much.
Sommy Mommy Meets Glamping
The retreat was a “glamping” experience. And, camping is not your girl’s ministry lol—the closest I’ve ever come to camping was 32 years ago in 5th grade. The backdrop of the Dream Big Darling Leadership Retreat was at Oyster Ridge in the middle of the Ancient Peaks’ Vineyards. The views were stunning and inspiring. We kicked off the retreat with a ziplining excursion over the breathtaking vineyards in Santa Margarita. In the middle of my first run, I yelled out “THANK YOU” over the vineyards as the wind hit my face. What an indescribable rush of adrenaline and gratitude!
The first night kicked off with a BYOB dinner. We were asked to bring a bottle that was special to us. I chose to bring the award winning 2013 Petite Sirah by Theopolis Vineyards to showcase a beautiful wine by a black female winemaker uplifting diversity in wine. Dinner was followed by one of several powerhouse panels.
The first night in the tent was rough for me, although we were in these POSH Glamping tents with full size Tempur-Pedic like mattresses and given plenty of covers to stay warm from Paso Robles’ large diurnal swing that causes temps to drop to 45-50 degrees at night, I couldn’t get past the fact that I was sleeping in a tent for the first time in my entire life. So, I stretched both my comfort zone and bladder, because I heard EVERYTHING outside and I wasn’t going anywhere until daylight. Luckily by the second night (thanks in part to the wine and a day full of events) I slept like a baby!
Sommy Mommy Meets Her Guardian Angels
We were up at 7:15 with yoga the first morning, and a meditative walk through the grapevines the second. Both mornings offered a mindfulness activity led by the incomparable sweet spirit, Cathy Huyghe. Tears came easily for me during this retreat (and I hate to cry), as a part of my spirit awakened by connecting with the outdoors. There was a closeness that I felt with my guardian angels that I hadn’t experienced before. I believe it was in part to my ability to slooowwww down.
There’s a peace and stillness outside and early in the morning that once exposed to, I couldn’t deny its power, so I just let it go, and stopped fighting the tears. This cleansed my spirit.
This spirit emergence was an unexpected “stretch” for me. I knew I would be stretched and inspired by listening to the amazing panels of speakers. I knew I would be stretched by the conversations that I shared with the inspiring women in my beloved industry. But I didn’t expect this Spirit Stretch—this clarity that I felt or this new-found focus on wellness and mindfulness.
While the Wine industry is fun without question, it comes with late nights, regular wine/spirit consumption, weekend work, and heavy travel, which makes achieving balance imperative. I’m excited to share this new-found wellness focus and the tools I learned with you all, my Wine Friends, with hopes that they will take your life to the next level as they are for me!
- Phone App: Headspace for Meditation. I was traveling in Columbia SC for work and used this app to fall asleep in the hotel. It was a 3-minute meditation, and I don’t remember the lady with the pleasant voice coming back to talk to me after the first minute because I was knocked out lol. This app is great for giving you quick 5 to 10-minute meditations to clear your head.
- Physical Wellness: Viome. This kit will give the “stuff” in your gut a thorough analysis so that you can pinpoint what in your diet may be in the way of you living your best life. We just ordered our kits!
- Read, “The Go Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea” by Bob Burg & John D Mann. There’s plenty to talk about with wine, but I want the Vine Tribe to thrive in ALL spaces both personally and professionally. Good Reads will always help out there!
- Podcast to Enjoy.
- The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo– Following the advice we were given at the retreat, go allll the way back to the very first episode from 2014 called “Why You Aren’t Taking Action” and start listening there.
- Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations: …It’s Oprah. Duh
So, to my ladies in the place with style & grace, who are industry professionals with 4-7 years of experience. If you are interested in gaining additional business & leadership knowledge, while connecting with other industry influencers, Dream Big Darling is for you! I’m beyond proud to be a part of Tribe 1, and I will gladly share when the application process opens for Tribe 2! I know without a doubt that the phenomenal women I shared this experience with will be among the movers, shakers, and disruptors that this industry needs to level up and show out.
Remember to Dream Big Darlings… because you will certainly move mountains!