2012 Leadership Retreat










2012 Alliance Leadership Retreat

Cultivating Strong Leaders for Our Future
September 7-10, 2012 | at The Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA

imagePhoto by Tom Wald

With 116 advocacy leaders of 80 organizations from 36 states and provinces across North America, the 2012 Leadership Retreat was the largest and most successful Alliance gathering to date. Discussions at the retreat centered on exciting new partnerships and initiatives around transportation equity, public health, community development and building a more diverse and inclusive movement. In addition, during workshops as well as in formal and informal breakout discussions, organizational leaders took the opportunity to discuss organizational strategies and learn best practices on from their peers.

At the Alliance Leadership Retreat, leaders take the opportunity to step back, regroup and recharge. "The Alliance Leadership Retreat was the most energizing, fruitful three days I've spent all year," said Erin O'Melinn, Executive Director of HUB in Vancouver, BC. After the retreat, many Alliance leaders felt ready to take on whatever challenges may lie ahead with a renewed sense of purpose.

In addition to the many learning and networking opportunities offered, many of the attendees recognized at this retreat that they are part of a larger sea change in the way people across North America think about healthy transportation and recreation opportunities.

"As a new executive director I found the retreat an amazing opportunity to meet and learn from my peers," said Barb Chamberlain of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. "It's so important to build this movement working together across state boundaries to strengthen a national agenda."

"This was one of the best Leadership Retreats ever!" said Jeff Miller, President/CEO of the Alliance. "Jeremy, the Alliance Staff, and all the leaders and partners who shared their wisdom, experience, and creativity, really expanded the knowledge of everyone at the Retreat."

After the retreat, many representatives of Alliance member organizations carried their enthusiasm and energy through the following week at the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference. Many also participated in the National Women's Bicycling Summit, which provided a spectacular forum for addressing and bridging the gender gap in bicycling.


2010 Alliance Leadership Retreat

Building Your Organization; Growing the Movement
September 10-13, 2010 — Delta Queen Hotel — Chattanooga, TN

From September 10-13th, the Alliance hosted our biennial gathering of bicycle and pedestrian advocacy leaders in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on board the Delta Queen and in the wonderful space provided by Outdoor Chattanooga. The incredible turnout exceeded even our highest expectations. In total, we had 106 leaders from 37 states and four Canadian provinces. Even more exciting, though: more than half of the leaders were experiencing their first Leadership Retreat.

Over the course of three days, advocates from across the continent got to know each other in a way you can’t replicate on conference calls or webinars. Whether lounging in the sunny park during the day or chatting long into the night, we shared ideas, challenges and solutions that will undoubtedly make our movement stronger. To prime the pump on crucial issues, like diversity and federal policy, we convened large group discussions. To exchange insight and explore topics in smaller groups, advocate leaders and national experts led more than 20 workshops. Be sure to check out the Alliance Resource Library to download all the materials from those workshops.

But we didn’t just learn and strategize. We had a blast, too. Bolstering the longstanding Thunderhead love affair with Ultimate Frisbee, we gave each participant a snazzy, glow-in-the-dark, Alliance-branded Disc. It certainly came in handy on Sunday night, as we squared off on the lawn for a lively Ultimate game before a hilarious talent show and rocking dance party.

Ali Mangkang of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition nailed the power of the Leadership Retreat by saying it allowed her to “see the big picture for biking and walking, to feel connected to a movement that is growing, and creating real change.” Carol Sildorf, Executive Director of Bike Maryland, told us how wonderful the retreat was, how much she learned and how she was re-energized. “I told all the new Executive Directors there how lucky they were to start their jobs with this retreat,” Carol said. “I wish I had been able to come to this event two years ago… I can’t tell you how much I learned this weekend - it really was incredible.” It was truly gratifying to hear her further describe how the new leaders had a two-year lead by simply coming to this three day retreat because it was packed with so much information and networking focused on bicycle and pedestrian advocacy leaders.

The Alliance staff, board, and more than 25 leaders who shared their expertise in engaging and interactive workshops all did an amazing job. A very special shout out goes to Jeremy Grandstaff, the Alliance’s Member Services Director, who coordinated everything from the curriculum to committee input to the significant logistics of housing and feeding more than 100 people for three full days. Jake Knight, a 2010 Alliance intern, came down from Indiana to lend indispensible, behind-the-scenes assistance that kept the Retreat running smoothly.

The evaluations shine with enthusiastic comments and high scores showing that the Alliance delivered another Leadership Retreat that has surely energized and inspired all who attended. Those of us on the Alliance staff are both proud and humbled by the incredible crew of leaders we get to work with. Thank you for being part of this People Powered Movement! And stay tuned for details on the 2012 Retreat!

  • Click here for tons of great pictures, courtesy of photographer Yvonne Bambrick.
  • Click here for a direct link to materials from the 2010 Leadership Retreat in our Online Resource Library.


2008 Alliance Leadership Retreat

Uniting Bicycle and Pedestrian Advocacy Leaders
August 30 - September 2, 2008 — Bainbridge Island, WA


Alliance leaders came together at the end of August for the 2008 Leadership Retreat on Bainbridge Island in Washington. Nearly 70 leaders from 23 states and three Canadian provinces represented 55 different organizations spanning the North American continent.


Make a Difference

Invest in biking and walking advocacy where it matters most... on the ground!

Upcoming Events

Youth Engagement and Family Biking --Call on April 02

U.S. Federal Transportation Policy Briefing --Call on April 08

Baltimore, MD Winning Campaigns Training
April 11 through April 13, 2014