2015 Agenda


SVI Hudson Valley is no ordinary experience: a weekend of profound problem solving, visioning and connecting, all in the inspired setting of one of the world's premier educational retreat centers. (No bland hotels for us.)

People say that the real learning and the true value at most conferences come from the downtime, the unscheduled time, the time between the panels and sage-on-the-stage talks.

At SVI Hudson Valley, those times are built into the program as a central part of the format. This is what makes it so different from most business conferences (aside from the values alignment).

It’s not about jam-packing the schedule and cramming new ideas into your head. It’s not just about learning a new tactic or discovering a new resource. It’s about harnessing collective intelligence in an inspired setting to actually work through creative solutions to vexing challenges.

It’s about injecting new life into your business (or organization)… and yourself.

We have a full schedule, but we leave room to breathe, to think, to do — through a variety of approaches and frameworks.

Think of it as an ad hoc advisory board. With depth.

High-quality mentors, a supportive environment, practical problem-solving formats — all give participants a rich portfolio of skills, a plan to grow their social ventures, and a network to support their journey.

We want you to leave not only inspired and informed… but ready to act.

I came away with clarity, direction, and a sense of community with the people attending the weekend…. I am shifting the way I think about community and the process of creating a culture within an organization.
— Anthony Whitehurst, Enlightened Culture

True Confessions

A signature Social Venture Institute feature...

During True Confessions leading entrepreneurs share their trials, tribulations and triumphs in creating socially responsible organizations. It's sort of like a keynote around the coffee table, or the campfire... without the fire (that comes later!).

Etsy's former VP of Values & Impact Matt Stinchcomb will kick us off Friday night. Matt is now executive director of Etsy.org, a new nonprofit empowering under-represented entrepreneurial populations to build businesses that regenerate the planet, the community, and the self. He had been at Etsy since its earliest days.

Sharon Rowe, CEO & Founder of Eco-Bags Products, will pick up Saturday morning. Sharon has been featured as an environmental pioneer in TIME Magazine, Glamour, and in the award-winning documentary BagIt and quoted in numerous media outlets. ECOBAGS products were featured on Oprah’s first dedicated Earth Day show in 2007.

Case Study

The core of the SVI model, where the greatest learning happens...

In the Case Study session, an entrepreneur presents a specific, strategic business challenge. A panel of "experts" (we're all experts) and retreat participants alike offer advice based on their experience and expertise. Each Case Study gets an hour of focused problem solving.

It's a powerful way for the entire group to work collectively and gain a wealth of practical ideas to deal with the challenges of running a social enterprise.

Delivers targeted, music-based audience engagement strategies through events, programs and promotions. The brainchild of Liz Stookey Sunde and her dad Noel Paul Stookey (of the folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary), M2L helps mission-driven organizations apply cause-music in fresh ways to amplify their message, align and motivate supporters, and create powerful calls to action. Their strategic challenge is how best to communicate and quantify their value to clients and investors.

Hosh Yoga
Hosh's nonprofit civic model is to go deep into a community through a yoga studio as the launching pad to implement service programs in schools and senior centers. They make health and wellness programs possible regardless of skill and income. Their strategic challenge is funding expansion into other cities beyond Brooklyn and Burlington, VT. They want to be the premier nonprofit yoga studio in the country, much as YMCA is to nonprofit gyms.

The pointed questions of the case study guest panelists were very helpful to my thinking about my goals and methods…. It is like briefly dropping into business school.
— Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Hone Strategic

And More...

We’ll combine all that with group problem-solving workshops, mindfulness-based practices, community-building, action plan exercises, and strategic visioning, a vogue-ish high-level exercise in business, urban planning, nonprofits… anywhere where thinking strategically about future direction is helpful.

Friday (May 15)

  • 5:00 PM  /  Welcome + Orientation
    Our first chance to connect with one another and create a safe space for the weekend.
  • 6:30 PM  ++ dinner ++
  • 7:30 PM  /  True ConfessionsMatt Stinchcomb, Etsy
  • 9:00 PM  /  Performance — Decora
    MC and poet Decora will move us with his socially conscious rhymes.

Saturday (May 16)

  • 7:00 – 8:45 AM  ++ breakfast ++
  • 9:00 AM  /  Movement + MindfulnessAmy Soucy, Yoga + Meditation Instructor
    Exercises to get your body flowing, your mind open, and your creative spirit to flourish. Dress comfortably!
  • 9:45 AM  /  True ConfessionsSharon Rowe, Eco-Bags Products
  • 12:15 PM  ++ lunch ++
  • 1:30 PM  /  Mindful Nature Walk
    Take a break from the intellect. No better way to ground and inspire than mindfully soaking in Mother Nature.
  • 2:15 PM  /  Case Study Presentations — expert panelists
    Powerful way for the entire group to work collectively and gain a wealth of practical ideas to deal with the challenges of running a social enterprise.
  • 6:00 PM  ++ dinner ++
  • 7:30 PM  /  Socialpreneurs Sounding BoardScott Tillitt + Ajax Greene, SVI Hudson Valley co-producers
    Think of this as a mash-up of an ad hoc advisory board and group therapy for your work.
  • 9:30 PM  /  Bonfire
    Since the dawn of time, humans have bonded around fire. Share stories and commune with the SVI tribe. (conditions permitting)

Sunday (May 17)

  • 7:00 – 8:45 AM  ++ breakfast ++
  • 9:00 AM  /  Movement + Mindfulness — Amy Soucy, Yoga + Meditation Instructor
    Exercises to get your body flowing, your mind open, and your creative spirit to flourish. Dress comfortably!
  • 9:45 AM  /  Strategic Visioning WorkshopScott Tillitt, Founder / Antidote Collective + BEAHIVE, Co-founder + Board Chair / Re>Think Local, Co-producer / SVI Hudson Valley
    Series of high-level exercises to think strategically about future direction. Includes time to share with others for feedback and connection.
  • 12:00 PM  ++ lunch ++
  • 1:30 PM  /  Business as a Practice — Flip Brown
    Given the ongoing stresses and challenges of our business life, how can we be totally engaged in the success of our enterprise while simultaneously practicing the “art of healthy detachment"? In this interactive session we’ll examine the situational factors that keep us wound up, off-center, or in a negative space, and look at ways to reframe our involvement in our business roles as an invitation to greater personal/professional growth and wellbeing.
  • 3:15 PM  /  Closing Circle + Meditation

* schedule subject to change