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experiential retreats

Latina entrepreneur Pilar Avila launches Renovad experiential retreats around the world

Renovad’s carefully curated experiential retreats entice participants to take a breath of fresh air, clear their minds, stimulate their senses, refresh their souls and reconnect with the essence and power within themselves.

Meet Pilar Avila at the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch in Jersey City on June 13 – Wellness Panel Speaker 

Inspired by her journeys across 5 continents and 18 countries,and the desire to spend more quality time with the extraordinary women who serve as her mentors and collaborators, Pilar launched Renovadexperiential retreats as an extension of her organizational change management consulting practice, interDUCTUS.

The inaugural 2019 programs, August 27-31 in Italyand in MoroccoNovember 27 – December 1, will be followed by experiences in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico and Thailand in 2020. Renovad pivots on deep destination knowledge, andremoving the burden of travel planning and the risk of trial & error, to design experiences focused on relaxation, inspiration and adventure.

The idea behind the experiential retreats
experiential retreats

Renovad experiential retreats are carefully curated by Founder and CEO Pilar Avila (L)

After building a fruitful career over 26 yearsproviding leadership at institutions across the private equity, hospitality, and nonprofit sectors, Pilar Avila decided to launch a consulting practice as a boutique lifestyle business.

Pilar stated, “As women focused on sustaining our families, advancing our businesses, and improving our communities, too often we place ourselves far down the priority list. Reality is that in the measure that we nourish ourselves, we are more effective in lifting others. This is the impetus for Renovad retreats.”

The experiential retreats are intentionally without speakers and prescribed programs, to open space and set the state of mind for participants to let go, listen to their inner voices, delight on the sounds they will encounter around the world, to ultimately reinvigorate mind, body and soul.A “come as you are and when you please” approach provides participants the freedom to flow, dial up and down on activities, and further tailor their own renewal experience.

Pilar Avila, the passage from corporate to entrepreneurship

Pilar’s reputation as a strategic, innovative, multidisciplinary, results-oriented business and civic change leader precedes her. But in her own words, it took a whole new level of gustiness to muster the courage and take the plunge from employment to entrepreneurship. “The biggest challenge I overcame in launching my business was the fear of leaving behind the certainty of an increasing and predictable income. I had always known that my biggest anxiety in life was building and maintaining financial security, being prepared to support my family in time of need and opportunity, and securing funds for a comfortable retirement.”

Pilar took inventory of what she had accumulated and figured that if she could generate funds to sustain her lifestyle while protecting her net worth, she would likely be in a good position to retire when the time comes. She decided to invest in herself by allocating 10 percent of her reserves as seed money for launching her business.

As Pilar’s network got word that she was in the process of launching a consulting practice, the first client knocked on her door and validated her move to entrepreneurship before she could even complete her new company branding and print business cards.

The three most relevant strengths Pilar developed through her career and that provided a solid foundation to launch her business included a proven ability to successfully manage most critical business aspects of a non profit and small business enterprise, a deep and wide network of collaborators and advisors across industries and markets, and a reputation for getting things done with a focused, transparent and win-win approach. “These continue to be my biggest assets that I’m tapping in building my management consulting practice and Renovad’s experiential retreats,” Pilar explained.

Building experiential retreats as an change agent
experiential retreats

Beautiful landscapes of Italy for Renovad experiential retreats

As Pilar continues to delve in this new stage of life and business, her commitment as a change agent, passion about the rise of diverse leadership, and championing of equal access to economic opportunity and investment in education, are as strong as ever.

She isenergized by the determination that women are applying in advocating for equal pay and opportunity. She has been an advocate in her own way since the beginning of her career. “It always makes me smile, and wonder where I got the guts, when I recall approaching my boss during a yearly performance review – it was my second professional job five years into my career,” she said.

Considering her title and job responsibilities, not to mention her unstoppable drive and developing talent, Pilar knew that she was grossly underpaid. She showed up at the performance review ready with highlights of her accomplishments over the previous year. Her boss commended and thanked her for her vision and success in implementing a new national program.

Before the talk on salary and bonuses, she swiftly presented him with a basic budget of living expenses (in excel, of course) required to sustain the modest lifestyle of a young professional, such as her, in Washington, DC. The budget demonstrated that she was underpaid at least by 50 percent; she received a 30 percent increase in compensation on the spot. The next year her income increased by another 30 percent when she accepted a position at another organization.

“Three years later and eight years into my career, I broke into the six-figure income club and purchased my first home, one of seven real estate investments I have made to date. I am certain that without the audacity of standing up for the pay that I deserved, things would have worked out differently”.

You might be interested:  Leaders, influencers and entrepreneurs converge in NJ at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch (EEL)

If you are thinking of starting your own business
experiential retreats

Mysterious rias in Morocco to hold your imagination

Here is Pilar’s advice to Latinas who are thinking of starting their own business or would like to achieve success in their profession or career:

  • Focus on utilizing and showcasing your current strengths while developing other strategic skills that may enhance your career and business success in the future.
  • Skills are not everything – a collaborative, kind and win-win approach will take you a long way.
  • There is nothing more valuable than your reputation – do not compromise on transparency, trustworthiness and kindness.

 

www.renovad.co, an initiative of interDUCTUS, hosts world-class renovation experiences around the globe in destinations that evoke relaxation, inspiration and adventure, providing women of consequence a unique opportunity to reinvigorate mind, body and soul. RSVPfor upcoming retreats.

www.interDUCTUS.cois an organizational change management consulting practice focused on enhancing the capacity and performance of nonprofit and private enterprises by providing extended leadership and multidisciplinary expertise.

 

Latin American destinations

3 Latin American destinations to get out of the cold and into adventure

Visiting some Latin American destinations this time of year is ideal to get out of the cold and enjoy some beautiful landscapes in Central America without the usual crowds.

Latin American destinations

Playa Santo Domingo in the morning By JacobKlinger – Own work, Wikimedia Commons

The Polar vortex made a persistent visit this year, blasting the Northeast with four consecutive storms and lowest temperatures for weeks. According to Weather.com, winter storm warnings, where snowfall is expected to be heaviest, extend from eastern Massachusetts to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. They are also in effect in parts of the Ohio Valley, including the cities of Cincinnati and Louisville extending from the Ohio Valley to parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee to Maine.

If you travel for work to Latin American destinations, then you are in luck. Take a few days if you can and head down to warmer landscapes in wonderful Central America without the annoying usual crowds.

Latin American destinations

Bougainvillea Ometepe Island Nicaragua, Wikimedia Commons

Unlike other most commonly visited touristic areas such as Mexico or Puerto Rico, certain places in Central America have only become popular in recent years. Political unrest as well as poverty and lack of infrastructure were barely tempting to the regular tourist looking for an easy stay at an international hotel or an all-inclusive resort.

However, with improved economies and more stable governments, travelers can now dare to choose adventure over comfort and wild life and nature over crowded hotels and shopping malls.  Those vacationers eager to explore might prefer to get off the beaten path and discover the richness of “a few pearls” that Central American countries have to offer. Vamos!

Day trip to Monteverde, Costa Rica

Just 70 miles west from San Jose airport in Costa Rica, travelers find the soothing lush of the Arenal Volcano National Park ecosystem. The majestic Arenal Volcano sets the tone for the landscape but it is not the only one in the vicinity. The Cerro Chato volcano, containing a lagoon in its crater, is believed to be inactive –and has been for over 3000 years.

Sitting at volcano’s base, the Arenal Lake is the largest in the country covering approximately 33 square miles. The manmade body of water was first built and later enlarged to give home to the Arenal dam, which provides almost 17 percent of the country’s electric energy.

Latin American destinations

Arenal Volcano seen from Monteverde, Wikimedia Commons

Another 66 miles south from the lake, the village of Monteverde sits on the Cordillera de Tilarán.  The small town established by Quakers in the 1950s –who were looking for a place to freely exercise their anti-militaristic religious beliefs–, gives name to the adjacent Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde (Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve).

The reserve protects 26000 acres of tropical rainforest, home to over 2500 vegetal species, hundreds of mammals and birds, and a large biodiversity of insects, reptiles and amphibians. The rare and mythological quetzal can be seen in the area seasonally. A true paradise for those who love nature and wild life!

Latin American destinations

Hidalgoa ternata — epiphytic vine with vermillion flowers, in the Asteraceae family.Near Monteverde (town), Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica. Wikimedia Commons

Take a couple of days for Ometepe, Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua, also called Cocibolca, Dulce, or Granada, is the largest body of water in Nicaragua and one of the largest in Latin America. It is home to an interesting volcanic formation, the island of Ometepe which holds two twin volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas, emerging from its grounds connected by a narrow isthmus. It gives the island its spectacular presence in the middle of the lake.

The island can be reached by ferry from the bordering town of San Jorge on an hourly basis but first you need to get to Rivas, a city and main hub and bus station to get around in South Western Nicaragua (62 miles south from Managua).

Early inhabitants of the island are believed to have settled 25000 years ago. Along the times, it has been home to Náhuatl y Olmeca tribes, who were later on invaded by Chorotegas and Nicaraguas. All these civilizations left a large amount of archeological ruins, petroglyphs, objects and stone sculptures that can be found around the island and in archeological museums and sites, a real treat for those who like to dig the past.

latina American destinations

Omepete Island Nicaragua By Milei.vencel – Own work, Wikimedia Commons

Stay for a weekend to visit Suchitoto and Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador

If you are done with business, stay for an extra weekend to visit the colonial wotn of Suchitoto. A long trip through small lingering roads takes travelers from San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, to the colonial town of Suchitoto. A small but charming enclave nestled in the mountains, it glances the imposing artificial Suchitlán Lake with the Cerrón Grande Dam.

Outside town, the nature preserve contains miles of deep forests and refreshing waterfalls, where abandoned guerrilla camps can be found. Suchitoto celebrates an International Arts Festival during the month of February each year so be aware of the dates!

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Latin American destinations

Waterfall Chorros de La Calera, Juayua, Sonsonate El Salvador By ElmerGuevara – Own work, Wikimedia Commons

Two short hours from the town, and starting in Sonsonate, travelers can find the Ruta de las Flores (Flowers Road), name given by the tropical and colorful beds of flowers growing alongside the way.

But the road touches several amiable colonial towns where Salvadoran artisans and local markets offer a colorful stop for curious tourists looking for fresh groceries and native artifacts, while breathtaking waterfalls and natural pools can provide a refreshing rest to the long day.

Serving of pupusas By Ll1324 – Own work, Wikimedia Commons

Towns such as Juayua, Apaneca, Ataco and Ahuachapan, which are located few minutes from each other, offer from vibrantly painted houses to marimba music but be aware that it only happens on weekends. The outskirts are also great hiking opportunities for those who love to explore volcanic formations and the coffee plantations nearby.

And do not forget to visit a pupusería, those little homemade pupusa factories, one of the many delights offered in these Latin American destinations.