6th Annual Vanessa Rich Leadership Experience:

 Getting Your Mojo Back!

Great Leadership Starts with Self-Leadership and Understanding YOU!

Tuesday, July 20  - Thursday, July 22, 2021


Tuesday, July 20,  2021 
Thursday, July 22, 2021 


Tuesday from 1:00 - 3:30pm 

Wednesday rom 9:00 - 11:30am and 1:00 - 3:30pm 

Wednesday Evening: Virtual Happy Hour from 5:00-6:00pm 

Thursday from 9:00 - 11:30am

Registration Fee

IHSA Member Fee: $225.00 per person

Non Member Fee: $375.00 per person

registration fee includes three days of training, two books (see books below), electronic resources/handouts & FUN & EXCITING virtual happy hour on Wednesday night! 

Books Included with Training

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

The Four Agreements 1. Be Impeccable with Your Word 2. Don't Take Anything Personally; 3. Don't Make Assumptions; and 4. Always Do Your Best will be woven throughout the Retreat. The Four Agreements will connect the objectives of the training by allowing particpants to see past their own filters, connecting with others around them, being less reactive and finding peace in the current moment. The Four Agreements offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.


Notes to Self: A Journal for Self-Care

Self-care has become a buzzword--and a necessary part of life in our stressful and uncertain times. As this creative, insightful journal demonstrates on every page, self-care is whatever you want it to be. Taking a walk in nature. Meeting a friend for tea. Revising that bucket list--or writing one for the first time. This journal will encourage and inspire us to carve out some quality time to take care of the most important person in your life--yourself.

Virtual Event on Zoom

Zoom links will be sent out to participants closer to the event. 

Event Contact

Michelle Iocca

Director of Membershp Services & Professional Development, Illinois Head Start Association


Motivation  Optimism  Joy   (being)Okay

We all know that as leaders we NEED to get things done and in order to get things done efficiently, we need to WANT to do the things that need to be done.  MOJO refers to your self-confidence, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-acceptance, all extremely important traits to be the best leader and the best you. As our Head Start & Early Head Start programs are opening and we are nearing the end of the COVID-19 threat, it doesn't change the fact that we are each moving forward differently as our individual lives and experiences have been drastically changed. Due to these circumstances, many of us are facing lost inner-energy and that special power and passion we used to have inside. When we are missing that feeling, that spark – there is a flatness to our state of being that can quickly take over our power of positive thinking, leaving us unmotivated, tired, stressed, and burned-out. Simply put: you have lost your MOJO. So, how can you get it back? 

As leaders in Head Start, we accept the responsibility of creating environments in which our teams are nurtured and energized, our agencies innovate and flourish and our working relationships are built on a foundation of mutual trust and satisfaction. As leaders, if we are struggling with our energy, passion and motivation it will only be a matter of time before our teams will follow suit. However, we know that when we are in our "zone", the feeling inside is an almost magical force capable of propelling us forward to great heights. You may be thinking, “easier said than done” in practice, especially given what is happening in the world around us.

Yes, the situation we are in is unique and at times can be completely overwhelming. But don't allow yourself to drown in a flood of negative energy and emotions. Getting your MOJO back does not work with anger, fear, pity or sorrow. Finding your MOJO will only happen when you find peace, calmness, and you are in rhythm with your energy. Do you need help finding your MOJO? Let us help you reclaim your purpose, reclaim your passion and find your inner-peace by attending the 6th Annual Vanessa Rich Leadership Experience virtually on July 20-22, 2021.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vanessa Rich Leadership Experience will be  an intra-personal, self-exploration training offering strategies and techniques to become the best leader possible by understanding who you are, what you need, meeting yourself in the present moment and being okay with where you are. 

You will acquire skills to help with focus and clarity, see past your own filters, cultivate resilience and become a more innovative and effective leader. We will explore reflective practices, meditations, small group work, mindful movement and strategies to bring reflective leadership into your work and into your life at home. This retreat is an opportunity for leaders at all levels to re-engage with their passion, motivation and most importantly re-engage with themselves. As we rush back to in-person programming, back to back meetings, fend off "emergency” interruptions, and scramble to react to the constant changes coming our way, WE NEED OUR MOJO BACK so we can lead with calmness, clarity, creativity, and compassion.

Rest assured (no pun intended), after spending three days with nationally known trainers, Dr. Tim Nolan and Yolanda Winfrey CAPSW, MS, you will move forward with leadership skills that will influence you and those around you in ways that truly make a positive difference to our organizations, our children, our families, and our communities.

Meet Your Leadership Guides: 


Yolanda Winfrey


Yolanda Winfrey, a past Head Start Child and a past Head Start Parent (her son Douglas is a Head Start Alumni as well) has worked in the early childhood field for over 20 years. She has held various positions including Head Start/Early Childhood Director and Chief Talent and Organizational Development Officer.  Yolanda has a Master’s Degree in Education (Early Childhood) from Concordia University Wisconsin, a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an Advanced Practice Social Work Certification from the State of Wisconsin. In 2013, Yolanda received an award from the Milwaukee Community Journal for her Contributions Towards Making Our Community Stronger (in the area of Education). Yolanda combines her educational background, knowledge and skills with that of her experiences as a past Head Start Child and a past Head Start Parent to bring a unique perspective and approach to her work in this field. Yolanda is experienced in systems development; management systems, policies and implementation practices; providing training and technical assistance to administrators, board members, managers, staff, and programs in program design and service delivery; grant writing; and customized consulting services. The perspective Yolanda provides has led to numerous, positive and innovative approaches that has helped her program and others develop and ignite the passion in their work to improve outcomes for children, families, staff, and organizations.

Dr. Tim Nolan 

Dr. Nolan is about to complete his 50th year as a Head Start Executive Director serving National Centers for Learning Excellence, Inc. He has been a consultant to business organizations for over 46 years. He is author or coauthor of 47 books. He is known across the Head Start world for his work on Compassionate Partnering™. His Applied Strategic Planning™ model has been used by thousands of organizations across the English-speaking world, including the FBI, the U.S. Treasury, Allied Van Lines, the Los Angeles public library and over 470 Head Start agencies. A psychologist by training, Tim is CEO of Innovative Outcomes, Inc. and the Center for Leadership Excellence, Inc.  He has been a consultant for 46 years and has trained over 3,100 consultants so far in his career. One of his consulting specialties is individual and organizational innovation, having done his doctoral work in creativity and thinking skills. Tim has enthusiastically provided leadership for numerous special projects on behalf of NHSA over the last several years. He is President of the Wisconsin Head Start Association and is highly involved with the Region V Head Start Association and its Parent Gauge™ project. His professional mission is to shape the future, one child and one family at a time! Tim absolutely loves Head Start!