It’s hard to believe that LPS has been operating for 8+ years and yet most members of our leadership team have never met in person due to our geographical spread. In one regard, we are proud to be a part of a cohesive team that is able to navigate complex planning, difficult conversations, and numerous time zones to successfully implement LPS in 12 classrooms across the United States. On the other hand, we acknowledge the value in interacting with a team face-to-face, and have long since dreamed of making this a possibility.
Those dreams became reality in late January, when LPS hosted its first ever Leadership Retreat taking place in Long Beach, California. Our northeast team members were grateful for an escape from the winter snowstorms, and our SoCal attendee was excited for a short commute avoiding notorious LA traffic. The weekend was full of dynamic conversation and intentionally designing the growth of LPS with a mix of relaxing moments of exploring somewhere new together and getting to know each other’s personalities better.
Before the retreat officially kicked off, co-founder, Macon Lowman and current CEO, Lucy Madden were able to visit a current LPS classroom. LPS teachers, Ms. Cronmiller and Ms. Cocca introduced us to their 6th and 7th grade classrooms at Sierra Intermediate located in Santa Ana, CA. Being on the back-end planning side of LPS is fulfilling, but leaves little to no opportunity to interact with students directly. As two former teachers, Macon and Lucy thoroughly enjoyed being back in the classroom, getting to know some of our pre-scientists, receiving their input on what they would like to change and add to the program, as well as hearing about the relationships they’ve developed with their scientist pen pals. Check out our highlighted story on Instagram to get a sneak peek into this classroom visit!
The following day, the LPS Leadership Retreat officially kicked off with our CEO (Lucy Madden), Chief Technical Officer/co-founder (Anna Goldstein), co-founder/Board Member (Macon Lowman), Chief Brand Officer (Aliyah Weinstein), Program Coordinator (Anna Madden), and Social Media Coordinator (Hannah Miller) all in attendance. The day began with breakfast and an icebreaker session to get to know one another better. This was an invaluable time that allowed us to positively frame the weekend and appreciate the unique strengths we each bring to LPS.
Fun facts learned over the weekend (answers below), which team member:
(A) is an avid bird watcher and identifier; (B) is a former collegiate soccer player; (C) can sing and play the flute; (D) recently ran her first trail half marathon; (E) completed over 100 hours of yoga in 3.5 months; (F) got married in a national park this summer
The following two days of the retreat were jam packed from start to finish with topics ranging from defining the problem LPS seeks to tackle, goal setting our intended impact, restructuring our website design and accessibility, planning the financial needs to support a growing non-profit, expanding our data collection, creating marketing material, coming to consensus on values and beliefs, and brainstorming new spin offs! We were so grateful to Lucy for sharing her wealth of knowledge she has attained this past semester while attending the Harvard Graduate School of Education Policy and Management. Lucy planned and organized the majority of our session making for a productive and engaging leadership retreat that will translate into sustainable growth and exciting changes over the next year for LPS!
We left the retreat with a renewed investment in the mission of LPS, a greater understanding of the action items needed to reach our goals (more on those goals and exciting changes at a later date ☺ ), and maybe most importantly, a deeper bond and appreciation for a remote team of individuals, who invest countless volunteer hours into the belief that every student, no matter their background, deserves a fair opportunity to explore the wonderful world of science. We greatly look forward to making this retreat an annual event to celebrate our progress, problem solve our challenges, and devote face-to-face time to our LPS family.
Fun team fact answers:
(A) Hannah Miller; (B) Anna Madden; (C) Anna Goldstein; (D) Lucy Madden; (E) Aliyah Weinstein; (F) Macon Lowman