Retreat 2013 report

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— Jonathan L.
BK 2013 big group.jpg

Berrett-Koehler Authors Co-op Retreat
October 11-13, 2013
Otsego, Minnesota

There were over sixty of us: new and seasoned authors, BK staff, allies, and invited guests.  The leaves were in full color and the Mississippi River a short walk away.

This incomparable tribe traversed wide territories of work, play, and connecting together.  Here are some features.

Steve Piersanti with his annual "10 awful truths about publishing."

Steve Piersanti with his annual "10 awful truths about publishing."

  • Deep dives into topics like happiness and courage, the impact of our work in the world, social media, personal purpose, and practical strategies for improving our work.

  • Open space sessions on various BK initiatives (BK Foundation, the Collaboratory, and a possible speakers bureau) as well as improvisational writing and an impromptu men’s group.

  • BK president and founder, Steve Piersanti, updated the community on the current state of BK and the world of publishing.  As usual, BK is surpassing the industry in innovation and performance.  And it’s still an “awful” situation in publishing.

  • The annual co-op meeting included a conversation about future possibilities for the co-op as well as a spontaneous new member welcome, engineered by co-op president, Dave Basarab.

Our extraordinary auctioneer, Rob Jolles, and his Robblehead.

Our extraordinary auctioneer, Rob Jolles, and his Robblehead.

  • The first annual Live and Silent Auction raised over $6,300 toward scholarships for future marketing workshop and co-op retreat attendees.  BK Author, Rob Jolles, stepped in at the last minute to handle the live auction of several items. Rob’s wacky and relentless encouragement helped the community unleash its generosity in remarkable ways.  Special thanks to Ellen Augustine and Rob Dietz for their work on this project.

  • The talent show was unusually diverse and hilarious and featured ear wiggling, tap dancing, sing-alongs, poetry, stories, and a world premiere flute duet by Jennifer Kahnweiler and Kristen Frantz. 

The spirit of the weekend was generous, engaging, and open.  New book ideas were hatched.  Long-time friendships deepened.  New friendships and possible collaborations were born.  Big questions were pondered with curiosity and rigor. 

In the closing circle, many people expressed gratitude for being part of a community where intelligence, generosity, aspiration, and fun so freely mingle.