The idea of starting my own business was both exciting and daunting. I started seriously playing with the retreat center idea in 2017 when I took a sabbatical from Starbucks, but allowed myself to push it to the back burner when I returned to work. It wouldn’t stay there however. Before I was even back a year, I’d left Starbucks and ultimately joined an NGO, thinking this was the change I needed. In the back of my mind, I believe I was hoping the new job would engage me enough to distract from the scary prospect of launching a big business.

I worked hard and enjoyed this new challenge, but the seed that had been planted desperately wanted to break through the earth to see daylight. During an October trip to the Washington Coast with my dear friend Princess, I asked her to help me decide if now was the time to commit to this vision. Through our conversations I realized that I had reached the point where I couldn’t deny how much this retreat center meant to me. The trip was pivotal, and since then we have formed a practice of accountability. The regular goal setting, check-in and support has been invaluable throughout the creation process.

The moment I came home, I started looking at properties on South Whidbey Island and getting my house ready for sale. I had purchased this sweet home I grew up in from my mom only eight years before. The gardens were beautifully landscaped by my brother Kevin and had been carefully maintained by my parents, and then my mom after my father passed and his ashes were spread in the garden. My brother Paul completed a remodel of several parts of the house under my ownership. Selling the family home wasn’t taken lightly. My Mother Carol, my brothers Kevin and Paul and my sister Marcia, as well as a big extended family, all have over 40 years of rich memories associated with our home from different ages, celebrations, births and deaths.

The house sold in May 2020 and within 5 months I’d left my job. With starter capital in hand, I now had no excuses and every opportunity. I visioned, wrote and progressively revised the financials and business plan based on in-depth research and consultations. Now that I could see the numbers penciling out, I knew I was ready to purchase property and ask others to trust me with their capital. What started as a loosely put together dream gradually knit together into a solid business I could see
coming to life – a retreat center where people will be inspired to form a lasting connection to nature and community, and reconnect with themselves.

What made this retreat center possible, and in fact imperative for me to bring to life as a business was a combination of:

  • Seeing the need for an inspirational safe space where facilitators can bring their community for a reset and to personally develop;
  • A burning desire to make the vision of a retreat center come to life;
  • A network of talented and generous friends and former colleagues willing to share their expertise;
  • Confidence in myself and my skills to make this dream a reality;

While I am in it, taking all the steps to make the vision a reality, I sometimes feel like things are taking a long time. But it has actually only been two years since I sold my house and one year since I bought my beautiful property in Port Hadlock on the Olympic Peninsula. There is now significant momentum and I have been fortunate to have a great team of hired professionals and volunteer champions who are helping me make this dream a reality. For me the push to launch this business has been a culmination of readiness and a full body yearning to make it happen.

Pomona Woods is more than a business to me. It is the physical embodiment of ethics and values developed throughout my life – it is as personal as it gets and I am fully invested in its success. It brings together my desire be caring of Mother Earth and allow nature to be a healing, inspiring element in other people’s lives. As a woman-owned business I look forward to joining an interconnected network of farmers, crafts people and service providers to nurture my guests with delicious, nutritious local food, inspire sustainable living through our LEED Certified building and operations, and delight them with curated activities in the community.