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August 2013

Leadership Hawaii Island Retreats creates unique team-building programs

by Maria Lenhart

Combining a morning boardroom session or seminar with an afternoon spent hiking through upcountry Maui, exploring an ancient temple or paddling an outrigger canoe is typical of how Nina Cherry, executive coach and owner of Maui-based Leadership Hawaii Island Retreats, designs team-building leadership programs for corporate groups. Her clients, teams of up to 20 people who sign on for one- to three-day programs, have come from a wide range of Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller organizations.

“Both the indoor and the outdoor components are important elements in achieving business objectives,” Cherry says. “During the indoor sessions, we’ll brainstorm on areas such as communication or leadership objectives, while the outdoor activities help create a high-functioning team. We look at ways they can work better together.”

Cherry believes that ancient Hawaiian cultural traditions, as well as the natural beauty of Maui, are helpful for executives who want to achieve both personal and business growth. She also believes that many company-sponsored retreats or team-building programs fail to inspire their participants.

“A lot of times people don’t want to go on retreats because they don’t want to just be fed the superficial company line,” she says. “What we want is for participants to come back with substance and change.”

The customized programs can run for several days or be a one-day event incorporated into a lager meeting. Along with the learning element, the retreats are designed to offer participants the chance to experience a side of Hawaii that may be new.

“We try and get off the beaten path—hiking to old temple sites by the ocean and other places tourists don’t usually get to,” Cherry says.

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