Step by Step:
WHSA Parent and Staff Leadership Retreat
November 7-9, 2022


Leadership is for everyone and we need to take care of our leaders! Are you a manager? This training is for you! Are you a Head Start parent? This training is for you! Are you part of the Head Start community? This training is for you! Join us for a leadership retreat on the shores of Elkhart lake. We’ll spend time remembering our purpose, replenishing our reserves, and identifying new tools to help us all be better leaders in our Head Start programs, at home, and everything in between.


The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, WI

Event Fees:

$250 Early Bird (extended through Sept. 23)
$295 General Admission

Who Should Attend:

All Head Start leaders.
Parents, staff, managers and directors.
All our welcome!

Room Block Information:

A room block is available until October 10th, 2022.
Call 1-800-876-3399 and tell The Osthoff Resort agent
you are booking under the Wisconsin Head Start Association.


Contact Brian at or Jennie at

Meet Your Presenters:

Keynote: Gail Konop Baker is the critically-acclaimed author of Cancer is a Bitch (Or, I’d Rather be Having a Mid-life Crisis), professional speaker, talk show co-host, Huffington Post blogger, adjunct writing professor, freelance essayist, poet, runner, yogi, and mother of three.
Gail currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin where she runs and practices yoga and writes and mothers and thinks and over-thinks and talks and plots daily.
Keynote: “Everyday Rituals for Decreasing Stress and Increasing Joy” 
Gail will be offering Yoga classes on Monday for those not involved with WHSA business and a breakout sessions after Tuesday’s keynote including: “Simple Easy and Inexpensive Joy Building Rituals”
Abha Thakkar is the owner of Mosaic LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in organizational systems development and coaching for nonprofits, collective impact initiatives, and local governments through an antiracist lens. Abha brings 20+ years of local leadership and a unique combination of skills and relationships that are critical to systems work, including grassroots leadership development, community organizing and non-extractive engagement, food systems resilience, community journalism, restorative justice, financial management, policy development, and systems analysis.
Charisse Johnson is mother/Stepmother of 7, former chair of her local Head Start Policy Council, former President of the Wisconsin Head Start Association Parent Affiliate, Former Vice President of the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health Board, and Former member of the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council. She is currently a Family Engagement Specialist at the Northside Early Childhood Zone in Madison. She has a passion and personal and professional commitment to family engagement. Charisse understands that empowered families and parent leadership are essential to healthy children and communities.
Abha and Charisse will be leading a series through Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning entitled: “Leadership During Transition”

Full Schedule

Monday, November 7th, 2022

12:00pm – 1:30pm: WHSA Director’s Affiliate Meeting (Hybrid)
2:00pm – 3:00pm: WHSA Parent/Staff Affiliate Meeting (Hybrid)
3:00pm – 4:30pm: Yoga Breathing and Free Dancing for All Beings, All Bodies – This class will incorporate movement and breath for fun and relaxation. Participants will be taught short and easy ways to incorporate movement and breathing techniques for decreasing stress and increasing relaxed focus. I will provide handouts of the breathing exercises and other techniques for participants to take back to their centers and their homes.
3:30pm – 5:00pm: WHSA Board of Directors Meeting (Hybrid)

Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

9:00 – 9:30: WHSA Welcome
9:30am – 11:30am:
Keynote Gail Konop – Everyday Rituals for Decreasing Stress and Increasing Joy – Gail will share the personal story of how a health scare set off a midlife reckoning and turned her into a joy seeker 15 years ago. In her words, she will detail:

  • How (with a lot of practice!) I stopped judging myself and learned to accept and even celebrate my human imperfections.
  • How I started asking myself what I needed the way I would ask a toddler and often discovered the answer was as simple as a glass of water or a nap or a yummy snack.
  • How I re-discovered (and nurture) the fun and playful child (and dork) in myself.
  • How I taught myself to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary.
  • How simple rituals like reading a few lines of poetry (before the news!) helps me face those (sometimes) dreadful Monday mornings.
  • How I use self-honesty and the full spectrum of my feelings to deepen the joy seeking.
  • How I learned to shift my mood in under five minutes using only my breath.
  • How Yoga Therapy can heal the mind/body/spirit—including current research studies.

12:00pm – 1:00pm:  Lunch
1:30pm – 3:00pm: Simple Easy and Inexpensive Joy Building Rituals Part 1 – Gail Konop – Participants will be taught to tap into and create rituals they can use for decreasing stress and increasing joy. We will start this session by learning to greet ourselves (and one another) with loving kindness and compassion and humor. This session will utilize breathing and short meditations and free writing to guide the participants in creating their own joy seeking templates to take back to their centers and their homes.
1:30pm – 3:00pm: Leadership During Transition  Part 1* – Abha Thakkar & Charisse Johnson – Everyone leads. Join us for growth and reflection during Leadership During Transition where the following will be accomplished:

  • Welcome & Grounding Exercise
  • Centering Ourselves as Leaders
  • Understanding Our Teams
  • Sharing who we are at work through different modalities

3:00pm – 3:30pm: Break
3:30pm – 5:00pm:Simple Easy and Inexpensive Joy Building Rituals Part 2 – Gail Konop (description above)
3:30pm – 5:00pm: Leadership During Transition  Part 2* – Abha Thakkar & Charisse Johnson (description above)
5:00pm – 6:00pm:  Networking, Socializing & Drinks

*Leadership During Transition will run throughout the November 8th and 9th. However, participants on the 9th are not required to have joined on the 8th. The presenters are expecting new audiences.


Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

7:30am – 8:30am: Breakfast and Good Morning from WHSA
8:30am – 10:00am: Leadership During Transition (Day 2) Part 1* – Abha Thakkar & Charisse Johnson – Everyone leads. Join us for growth and reflection during Leadership During Transition where the following will be accomplished:

  • Welcome & Grounding Exercise
  • Designing a workplace culture that’s responsive to our teams through:
    • managing transitions
    • facilitation
    • supervision

10:00am – 10:30am: Break
10:30am – 12:00pm: Leadership During Transition (Day 2) Part 2* – Abha Thakkar & Charisse Johnson (description above)
12:00pm – 12:30pm:  WHSA Closing & End of Event

Click Here to Register!

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