About Summits

Harwood Summits are retreats for change leaders working to solve community problems and improve public life. They are hosted by Rich Harwood and can be structured anywhere from a day to a full weekend retreat. 

They are based on a National Summit we have held every year since 2007. The 2016 Summit was March 11-13 in Charleston, SC. Stay tuned for next year's dates!

The Summit is meant to help leaders trying to solve community problems and improve public life get greater clarity on issues standing in the way of progress. It's also a space to better connect and rejuvenate. At Summits, we don’t produce reports or other products out of the event.

Summits are a great for:

  • Senior staffs
  • Boards
  • Major donors and supporters
  • Community leaders
  • Leaders within networks or associations

People tell us that the Summit helps them do their professional work better and grow personally. They help leaders stay grounded, it’s a space they come into in order to rejuvenate, it helps them get “unstuck” in their work and it’s the boost they often need to engage on their professional challenges with more vigor.

Summits can be customized depending on your needs. However, the design will place a premium on informal and personal conversation, which we generate together through:

  • Small Group Discussions – Small conversations that are self-guided, not facilitated.
  • Common Sessions – these sessions, facilitated by Rich, include everyone and often emerge from the small group discussions.
  • Personal Reflections – at meals or during other breaks, pre-selected Summit participants will offer one to two minutes of personal reflections. These run the gamut from serious to funny, deeply moving to satirical – but in all cases, they add to the depth and spirit of the event


“It was very powerful to hear others stories and reflections. It provided better understanding of difference perspectives, differences, successes and failures”
“I will recommend this to others. It was an opportunity for me to pause and reflect on my role as a leader and how I can be more intentional about how I engage my internal team to bring others along.”
“Life changing experience. My strength has always been in giving it away, and I must continually remind myself that it is OK fail; it’s actually necessary for progress.”
“Very few opportunities exist to talk with other in the public sector that we normally wouldn’t talk with.”
“[The Summit] rejuvenated/energized me – gave me the strength to step forward. It connected me with people who have shared passions.”
“The people attending were exceptional, and I am richer and fuller for their insight and wisdom. I liked the mix of folks that are connected with the institution and those that aren’t.”
“An experience like this can push off burn off as you connect with others that feed and inspire you.”


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