Spread Oaks Ranch Leadership Retreat

Spread Oaks Ranch Leadership Retreat


Experience a unique and immersive two-and-a-half-day leadership retreat in the gorgeous setting of Spread Oaks Ranch, a 5,500-acre historic and pristine ranch nestled along a five-mile stretch of the Colorado River, just 90 minutes southwest of Houston.

What makes this retreat unique and effective?

  • Custom Experience: Unlike off-the-shelf programs, the retreat is tailored to your unique needs. We can integrate your specific challenges into the program.
  • Experienced Facilitators: Offering a unique combination of experience in corporate, private enterprise, and academia, your facilitators have served as CEOs of major corporations and have experience leading large transformations.
  • Action-Oriented: You and your team depart with a detailed Game Plan and specifics on how to execute it. We follow up to see if you need additional assistance.
  • Unique Team Activities: We incorporate the outdoor experience into the retreat, such as organizing a two-team chuckwagon cookoff, a GPS scavenger hunt, or other activities based on interest, weather, etc.
  • Completely Private: You and your team take over the 5,500-acre luxury ranch.
  • Fully Immersive: Your team gets 2.5 days of working together onsite in a beautiful ranch setting, with no distractions from the city or the hotel.
  • Luxury Accommodations: Up to 12 individuals (eight minimum) can enjoy a private luxury room and bath.
  • Field-and-farm Cuisine: Locally sourced, world-class cuisine from our on-site chef is included, as well as wine and cocktails.
  • Exclusive and Seasonal: The retreat only is offered from December to April, which is an incredible time to be at the ranch.
  • Cost: The Leadership Retreat is $4,500 per person, all-inclusive. (Pricing for standard Corporate events is $850 per person, per night, all-inclusive.)

A Typical Leadership Retreat Agenda

While every Leadership Retreat can be customized to meet the unique needs of each client, the following represents how the two-and-a-half-day agenda typically progresses. The Leadership Retreat starts with participants arriving on Sunday afternoon to enjoy a relaxing evening and dinner and get settled in.

Day 1 (Mon.)

  • Introductions, Ground Rules, Expectations
  • Leadership Overview (*pre-read)
  • What is a Performance-Based Culture?
  • Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback
  • Lunch
  • Basic Principles of Effectiveness/7 Habits Time Management; Listening Skills; Conflict Management; Meeting Management
  • Cocktails and Dinner


Accessing & Reviewing your 360 Reports:

  • Clear Strengths
  • Unexpected Strengths
  • Recognized Development Areas
  • Unexpected Development Areas
  • Work begins on your “Taking Action” plan
  • Prepare for one-hour coaching session the next morning

Day 2 (Tue.)

  • Individual one-hour coaching sessions with Mark Esselman and Wayne Dorris. When not in your coaching session, prepare to discuss your most frustrating employee who has unrealized potential.
  • Action-oriented team-building activity, such as a cookoff or a GPS scavenger hunt.
  • Individual one-hour Coaching Sessions continued
  • Presentations of challenging employee not living up to their potential
  • Cocktails & Dinner Evening: Prepare to report to the group on individual action plans. Additional coaching sessions are available to discuss 360 reports and develop presentation plans. Also, team members may choose to work together to review reports and plans.

Day 3 (Wed.)

  • Teambuilding Activity
  • Report out
  • Participants present to the group their Action Plans, receive feedback and recommendations
  • Program Evaluation Sheets
  • Lunch and departure

Meet your facilitators

Wayne Dorris

  • Degrees:  BA in Sociology/Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • MSW in Administration, University of Pittsburgh
  • Ph.D. in Social Policy/Organizational Behavior, Brandeis University
  • United States Air Force: More than 14 years managing different hospital programs to support airmen and their families, focusing primarily on child abuse, alcoholism, and cancer
  • Leadership Development: 30 years developing and implementing leadership training for Covey Leadership Center, Royal Dutch Shell, Pennzoil-Quaker State, and AMEC, in addition to programs for many smaller companies and non-profits

Mark Esselman

  • Degrees: BBA and MS in Business Management, Human Resources and some law school
  • More than 42 years in Human Resources
  • Adjunct Professor – graduate business at University of Houston
  • More than 29 years as Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Experience in C-Corps, MLPs, Private Equity
  • Experience in Steel, Oil & Gas, Consumer, Packaged Goods, High-Tech, Chemicals, Communication and Truck Parts
  • More than 29 years of experience working directly for CEOs with executive leadership teams and with Board of Directors
  • Responsible for Organizational Design, Succession Planning, Building Bench Strength, Organizational Change and Transformation, Culture Development and Management, and People Development throughout organizations

Forrest Wylie

  • Degrees: BBA (UH), MBA (UT)
  • More than 30 years in Energy Industry: Exploration, Midstream, Trading, Refining, Offshore Drilling
  • CEO of two Public Companies, one a Fortune 500 Company
  • Board of Directors of six Public and eight Private Companies
  • Focus on Leadership, Teamwork, and Commercial Re-focusing of organizations

“One of the unique things here is the 360-degree immersive nature of this leadership retreat. It’s in a rustic setting that’s free of distractions, and it’s not book-based or ‘preachy.’ The program is based on real-world experience and focuses on engagement and interaction.”


Spread Oaks Ranch Leadership Retreat

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