Date of Award


Document Type

Project Portfolio

Degree Name

Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives (DLd)



First Advisor

Trisha Welstad, DLd

Second Advisor

Kristin Hamilton, DLd

Third Advisor

Jason Swan Clark, DMin, PhD


NPO Statement

Experienced leaders who have experienced burnout or leadership trauma lose their risk-taking capacity.

Emerging Insights

Emerging insights began to imply that leaders in helping professions such as ministry leaders who are serving in this post-COVID world may experience increased burnout and trauma as they lead in spaces where they are tasked with leading while helping others heal. Burnout and lack of community started to arise as a potential factor that could lead to leaders slipping into survival mode and avoiding risk-taking in their contexts. Research workshops revealed leaders had feelings of survival, burnout, and loneliness. They spoke of a lack of community as a contributing factor to their feelings of disconnectedness and loss of passion. This had a direct impact on their ability to take risks and to access their creativity. Research around risk-taking, play began to emerge as a way to address these needs of leaders. Play allows adults to access creativity and risk-taking while engaging the whole body and nervous system in healing from leadership trauma. Playful community travel allows for a safe place to engage in this healing work where participants engage in new experiences that enrich all their senses, opening them up to new ways of thinking and engaging in their leadership, including increased capacity for risk and creativity.


While serving as and with women clergy, it became clear that this group of leaders would benefit from community cohorts and retreats.

Project Description

Through the power of play and community, Venturing Free seeks to create an experiential cohort and retreat community that provides leaders with the needed tools and empowerment to begin to engage in the risk-taking that is needed for their individual growth and leadership. Through this program, leaders and organizations can be equipped to take risks, grow, and weather future challenges.