5th Annual Leadership Retreat & Board of Directors Meeting

March 25 – 27, 2022
Executive Summary

The turnout and energy for the 5th Annual Reede Scholars Leadership Retreat was nothing short of amazing! We added the Annual Board of Directors Meeting, and had a fresh new format: a blend of learning, work, and fun!

The 2-day program, supported by the Commonwealth Fund and Harvard Medical School Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Partnerships, showcased the accomplishments made since the first retreat in 2018, and set in motion plans to develop the next 5-year strategic agenda. Twenty Reede Scholars, joined by two Yale CWF Fellows met in-person, with three Scholars attending remotely.

Participants included:  Mary Fleming, President, Nicole del Castillo, Secretary (remotely), Don Lee, Treasurer; four Board of Directors: Cynthia Hodge, Elna Nagasako, Amon Rodgers (remotely), and D’Nyce Williams; and Scholars: Maggie Chery, Shantel Hebert-Magee, Kevin Simons, Siobhian Sprott, Shelly Taylor, Brian Swann, Yamicia Connors, Kennetha Gaines (Yale), Cece Calhoun (Yale), Wayne Stephens, Carmela Socolovsky, Carine Davila, and Sarimer Sanchez. Laurie Zephyrin and Joan Reede participated remotely as well.


The purpose of this year’s retreat was three-fold: 1) to address the stressful impact of the pandemic; 2) to review the overall status of the organization, and 3) to outline a 5-year strategic agenda. The program included 1) an opening continued medical/dental education (CME) presentation, 2) executive committee and all other committee reports detailing goals, objectives, and future plans, and 3) much attention was devoted to how we define and operationalize achieving health equity.

The 2-Day Program

Opening session keynote presentation: Addressing Burnout: A Training Program For Healthcare Leaders, delivered by Charlene. Dewey, MD, MEd, MACP, from  Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN.  Participants were given an opportunity, pre-retreat, to complete a personal assessment. Those who did were given a personalized assessment along with an individualized plan to enhance their resilience.


Dewey led a warm and powerful, interactive discussion, fully engaging everyone. She outlined risks and sources of burnout, identified individual strategies that enhance resilience, and compared and contrasted individual vs organizational approaches to reducing burnout.

Dr. Charlene Dewey addressing group, with a personal touch.

Welcome Reception

The Welcome Reception was held immediately following her presentation.  Scholars enjoyed a well prepared variety of flavorful, meal-level hors oeuvre and leisure fellowship with one another.


Saturday morning began with updates provided by all committee leaders. President Mary Fleming, Treasurer Don Lee and Secretary Nicole del Castillo helped new Scholars understand where we are within the executive branch. Fundraising/Capital Development Committee, Ad Hoc Research Committee, and Ad Hoc Scholarship Committee chairs Don Lee, Elna Nagasako, and Cynthia Hodge, respectively, shared highlights of their committee work.  A Committee Sign-up sheet was circulated that gave attendees an opportunity to select committees based on their interest.


Laurie Zephyrin, VP, Health System Equity at THE COMMONWEALTH FUND, gave an insightful PowerPoint presentation describing opportunities for collaboration at CWF.  She welcomed an ongoing dialogue between Reede Scholars and CWF.


Following the status reports Joan Reede, dean for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Partnerships, at Harvard Medical School, shared a powerful message, encouraging Reede Scholars to ‘think about new directions/spaces for the Reede Scholars, Inc. Think about places and positions that we can create change and opportunities and not just in DEI spaces. Think about changes – how things are done (policy/practices).  Also, to think about how can we train others and create opportunities.’  She encouraged us to use our Podcasts to speak to roles and spaces that are non-traditional but highlighting health equity.

It was a powerful, emotional message that resonated with all.

L-r: Bryson James, Junior at Morehouse College, Olivia Duever and Ireland Battle, Juniors at Spelman, and Christine Bynum sophomore at Spelman


Pre-dental students from the Atlanta University Center (AUC), members of the Increasing Diversity in Dentistry Scholars Program (IDID) served as Ambassadors-greeting attendees, preparing gift bags, and monitoring on-site registration sign-in.

Attendees organized lunch on their own and found the hotel lobby area a great place to chat, share thoughts about the retreat up to that point, and take photos.

Returning after lunch, Scholars were ready to tackle the business at hand: developing a 5-year strategic plan. Ralph Fuccillo brought his special facilitator talents and skillfully guided us to a strategic planning framework, embracing 5 pathways: fundraising, visibility and position, member engagement, complementarity, and partnerships.

Saturday evening Director D’Nyce Williams, opened her beautiful home for all to enjoy an elegant southern style dinner and fellowship! She and Director Cynthia Hodge were the local hosts and retreat planners.

The Retreat adjourned Sunday, with Don Lee providing reimbursements onsite.  An Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Committee was organized, with Maggie Chery accepting the Chair position to lead the team.  President Fleming thanked everyone, and encouraged all to stay engaged.  It was announced that the 2023, ALR and BOD Meeting will be held March 24 – 26.