Northeast Ohio Regional Library System

2024 Directors' Retreat: Fostering a Thriving Work Culture
5/23/2024 - 5/24/2024
Breakfast begins at 9 am on May 23rd and we conclude the retreat at noon on Frid
Leadership, Communication
Event Description
We are excited to announce the 2024 Directors' Retreat:  Fostering a Thriving Work Culture.  We will be returning to the Punderson Manor Lodge & Conference Center this year. The retreat will kick off with a light breakfast on Thursday, May 23rd at 9:00 a.m. - the perfect time to catch up with your peers. The workshop will begin at 10 a.m. starting with Leading through Low-Morale Experiences: Recognizing Outcomes & Engaging Countermeasures.  The afternoon will focus on How to Talk so your Board will Listen: Education, Communication, and Transformation.  We will conclude the first day at 4:00 p.m. Dinner will be at 6:00 p.m. with the tradition of rich conversations to follow. The second day will start with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. followed by a program on Creating a Compassionate Workplace. We will conclude at noon with a quick lunch.

Thursday Morning, May 23rd:
Leading through Low-Morale Experiences: Recognizing Outcomes & Engaging Countermeasures
Low morale is detrimental to the health and well-being of employees, library organizations, and the communities they serve. Kaetrena Davis Kendrick has conducted extensive research on low-morale experiences in libraries, identifying various workplace behaviors, factors and events that can lead to employee disengagement, and revealing the systems and structures that enable organizational or interpersonal dysfunction or compromise how people lead. Join Kaetrena and Sunnie Scarpa, Library Director, to learn more about this important research and leave with actionable ideas that signal incremental systemic changes that will support a healthier work environment for all staff. The presenters will highlight established and emerging countermeasures for library workers, including promoting work-life balance, encouraging candid communication, and cultivating a supportive workplace culture that allows all employees to thrive. Brief pre-work is required for this event.


Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, MSLS earned her MSLS from the historic Clark Atlanta University School of Library and Information Studies. Her research interests include professionalism, ethics, racial and ethnic diversity in the LIS field, and the role of communities of practice in practical academic librarianship. She is co-editor of The Small and Rural Academic Library: Leveraging Resources and Overcoming Limitations (ACRL 2016) and author of two annotated bibliographies. In her daily and long-term work, Kendrick has transformed library programs, services, and culture via creativity, leadership, and advocacy. She is committed to centering well-being, creativity, and empathy in the workplace and promoting career clarity and rejuvenation to workers. In 2019, Kendrick was named the Association of College and Research Libraries Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. Learn more about her mission, coaching, and consultative services.

Sunnie Scarpa is the Director of the Wallingford Public Library, a vibrant library located in central Connecticut. She began her career as a Teen Librarian at the New Haven Free Public Library before serving as Head of Children's Services at the Wallingford Public Library for six years. She left in 2019 to accept her first Director role at the E.C. Scranton Memorial Library in Madison, CT, but was very pleased to return to lead her hometown library in 2023. Scarpa is passionate about the library field and loves to read/listen/talk and coach people on career advancement, management, and leadership topics.

Afternoon Session: 
How to Talk so your Board will Listen: Education, communication, and transformation

Communication is the key to all relationships and your relationship with your Board of Managers is no exception. Join Sunnie Scarpa, Director of the Wallingford Public Library in CT, to discuss tips and tricks for defining and strengthening your connection with your Board through education and communication. This session will include time for facilitated discussion and structured group work with your fellow library leaders.

*** For our directors in academic and special libraries, most of this content will apply to you as well. The session is focused on communication, and can apply to various scenarios such as advisory councils and university peer group meetings. In the group discussion portion, all of the discussion prompts will be applicable to the academic setting.

Sunnie Scarpa is the Director of the Wallingford Public Library

Friday, May 24th:
Creating a Compassionate Workplace
Compassion for yourself, staff, and patrons affects morale, productivity, finances, and satisfaction. Libraries are inherently caring communities and compassion can develop a space of psychological safety as well as mitigate compassion fatigue. Creating a compassionate workplace doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming but may require a slight shift in focus.
In this interactive and reflective program, discover the science around compassion and simple techniques for cultivating compassion for yourself, others, and as a work culture.


  • differentiate how compassion differs from pity, sympathy, and empathy
  • connect how your self-care affects compassion
  • design 2 strategies to boost compassion in your library

Laura Greco is a certified wellness coach, author, and speaker/trainer with a 20+ year background in nursing who helps professionals eliminate burnout, manage stress, create life balance, and rekindle their sense of purpose and joy. She believes that self-care (body, mind, and spirit) is the basis for well-being and that we all have the capacity to make positive lifestyle changes. Her books include Wellness Made Simple, and Wellness Made Simple-for Residents. For more information please visit her website .

Laura has a BSN (University of Michigan), Master in Adult Education (Penn State), trainings from HeartMath and the Mass General Benson Henry Mind Body Institute, and certifications in wellness coaching from both Wellcoaches and Center for Credentialing and Education.
Setting: In-Person
Punderson Manor Lodge & Conference Center
11755 Kinsman Road
Newbury, OH 44065

click here for Google Maps
Contact Person
Who should attend:  Directors and Deputy/Assistant Directors
Competency:  Leadership

Cost: FREE

$155 surcharge for facility use and amenities.

On Your Own
Call the reservation line at 440-564-9144 to reserve a room under the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System block by Tuesday, April 30, 2024.
Cost is $135.00 for a lodge room, $175 for a cabin with two sleeping room they are directly across from the lodge.  All of the lodging is subject to a 6% lodging tax, and 3% beautification fee.  Rooms are limited so book early.

It’s never too late to save your library money. NEO-RLS Memberships are pro-rated! Call us today to join.


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