From California to Chicago, nearly 300 leaders attended Leadership with Horses Programs at Epona Meadows last year. When Dennis, the Senior Director of the Supply Chain Department at PepsiCo, Chicago was looking for a special experience for the 15 leaders of his team, he decided Mindful Leadership with Horses was the the way to go.
‘Willow Lodge originally recommended we consider a day with the horses. The unique approach to leadership, combined with a location close and convenient to the Lodge decided it for us,’ Tracy Krakar, Senior HR coordinator for PepsiCo commented. ‘Additionally, Amanda really listened to what we wanted to achieve and her team put together a day that was beautifully in alignment with Pepsico’s mission and what we wanted to get out of the day.’
Today, the Supply Chain Team often sends email to each other with learning quotes from the session. ‘We’ve sustained our learning and employ actionable problem solving from that day with the horses, as well as take better ownership and responsibility for the way we provide the best possible customer service,’ said Tracy.
When Amy Morgan, CEO of the Pride Institute was scouting a location for the annual leadership conference, she visited Willows Lodge. Because she was also seeking a signature leadership experience for conference attendees – all of whom had already completed the institute’s rigorous in-house leadership program – she ended up visiting Epona Meadows and decided to host Leadership with Horses for more than 80 Pride Institute alumni.
‘This event was a watershed for us,’ reflects Amanda. ‘First, it was the most people we have facilitated at one time. We needed four arenas and 20 horses in addition to our own herd – so we partnered with Gold Creek Equestrian Center in Woodinville and they were just wonderful to work with. Second, it was essential to me that we maintain one of the big take-aways for people, which is a genuine sense of a personal, even intimate experience of leadership insight. And finally, conference attendees were a pretty sophisticated group of dental professionals from all over the country who had been-there, done-that when comes to leadership development. They wanted a stand out experience with lasting impact.’
PepsiCo Leadership Insights
- Lead with lightness from anywhere – side-by-side, from behind, as well as the front.
- Step away and get a 360 view.
- Apply intention and the right amount of energy to achieve successful results.
- Mindfulness is quietness. Leaders don’t need to talk all the time.
Amanda and her facilitation team created a combination of large and small group sessions, utilizing the four arenas and different groups of horses. ‘I’m usually the primary facilitator in the arena,’ Amanda commented. ‘For the Pride Institute, I couldn’t be in every arena at once, so I needed to let go and allow the talents and capabilities of my facilitators shine. And of course, they did.’
At the post-event reception, attendees shared their feedback with Amanda. ‘It was really wonderful to hear people’s experiences of personal growth and insights. Several commented that it was one of the best leadership experiences they’d ever had. Frankly, that’s what we aim to hear at the end of every session!’