• Leaders First

Leadership Retreat in Puglia: insights into transformational experience

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

This October we invited our members and guests to embark on an epic journey with Leaders First to one of Italy’s most charming and picturesque regions - Puglia. This exciting and enlightening three-day adventure was packed with memorable cultural experiences combined with educational workshops delivered by our leading strategist and professional development expert. We spoke about emotional intelligence, intrinsic motivation and practiced how to prevent conflicts in a secluded environment surrounded by centuries-old olive trees.

Our guests were greeted by the welcoming hospitality of an elegant and charming medieval masseria (farm house) seated in the heart of Apulia. The unpretentious boutique hotel was chosen not purely by accident; it provided a perfect atmosphere of privacy with an airy ambience to allow our guests to get to know each other, engage in early conversations and bond over delicious food and drinks. This was accompanied by sunny weather, blue sky and warm temperatures hovered mid 20s during all days of the retreat.

Right after arrival our guests were whisked away for Puglia wine tasting experience – oh what a welcome! They visited a local winery and were introduced to the science and technology of wine making and production by walking around the grape yard and tasting fantastic organic wines. They were also presented with interesting traditions of the family owned business and the history of the old farm – a delightful tour offering an explosion of colors and scents, a perfect start to our Leadership Retreat!

Day 1 was in abundance of fun cultural activities in the region, making our first retreat a one to remember! The morning started with a visit to a local cheese production factory with tasting of local cheeses and bakery products. The experience began in the production where our guests got actively engaged in the making, stirring, and braiding of mozzarella and burrata and consumed it within just few hours of their creation! After having observed the methods of artisan preparation of cheese and dairy products, there arrived the moment of pasta making experience!

This is when some of our guests were challenged by local nonna (grandmother) while learning and mastering traditional way of making fresh handmade pasta. Then, comfortably seating, we all tasted the cheeses and dairy products, both fresh and seasoned and our guests’ eyes and their taste buds were delighted by so much goodness!

The most adventurous among our guests were set for a trip to Alborobello - a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its Trulli conical roofed fairy-tale houses. Unsurprisingly, they were fascinated and enchanted by its architecture and the distinctive construction beautifully adorned by some magical ancient symbols. Exploring the quaint streets and tasting the best coffee with perfect pasticciotto cakes – was a perfect way to finish off the day full of cultural discoveries!

Official part of the retreat started with an evening aperitivo based on olive oil tasting and learning about the key principles of Mediterranean diet, from a local medical expert.

After relaxing and exploring local traditions the day before, our guests immersed into strengthening their leadership skills on the next day of the retreat. The educational part was skillfully delivered by our leadership development expert, Nicolo Andrealua, whose research work has been featured on several international publications, ranging from the Harvard Business Review to Forbes.

Drawing on a number of innovative coaching tools and some more conventional techniques, Nicolo expertly helped us identify obstacles and top challenges leaders face today, and also find ways to overcome them. A 2-day interactive workshop equipped our guests with practical and powerful tools for connection with their peers and developed upon the skills and competencies necessary to become an effective leader. The workshops were very interactive, with each session giving a mixture of practical guidance, professional insight and energising laugh therapy.

Our guests enjoyed the three action-packed days and have taken away with them a beautiful memory of Puglia.

The feedback from participants was incredible with some describing it as:

“An eye-opening and transformational experience. A wonderfully organised trip combining outstanding cultural activities with educational workshops. The course content was excellent with a good balance between theory and practical application, which I think was a great way to learn. I also liked how interactive and personal the course was, it has given me a more cemented view in my role as a leader. It has been an enjoyable experience and one which has challenged me. I definitely will be back!"

We look forward to our next Leadership Retreat and to continue a tradition of bringing together quality audience to relax, refresh and re-skill. Keep tuned and look out for announcements on Leaders First educational experiences at our website and Social Media channels!