October 2016 Newsletter


Good Day,

I hope everyone is having a great Fall. We are well underway in planning for the Cuba Retreat and have over 100 members and guests signed up!

2017 Dues were due at the end of September, many people have still not paid. Please remember, you are not permitted to attend any retreats (even if you have signed up for them) unless you have paid your dues. There is a section in the newsletter below to click to pay your dues. You will also be excluded from the Face Book if you have not paid your dues.

The Cuba Retreat deadline has now passed (October 5th). The Cuba committee is planning some exciting panels and is in the process of inviting speakers. Those of you who are registered, stay tuned in the coming weeks for an email to register for your tracks. We have over 100 people signed up so it looks to be a fun and eventful Retreat in January!

Lastly, we are all very sad to see Erin LeBlanc leave her post as the Executive Director of the Belizean Grove. Erin’s last day will be November 15. Her successor will be Leslie Dube. Leslie has served as the Director of Development and Communications for WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation for the past three years. She is a welcomed addition to the team and will be transitioning into the role over the next few weeks. Her email is leslie@belizeangrove.org.

If you have any updates you would like to share for future newsletters, please email me or Leslie Dube (leslie@belizeangrove.org).




Cuba Retreat

Vintage multi-coloured taxis in Cuba

January 26-30, 2017

17th Annual Belizean Grove Retreat 

Havana, a Mix of Past and Present, Freedom and Restrictions, is Alive with New Energy and Ingenuity.

Official Registration Date for Cuba has CLOSED

Flight Status:

Many have been asking about the flights.  On Tuesday, October 25, we sent out flight information to all those who are registered for the retreat. Click HERE for flight information.

TODAY (Ocober 31, 2016) is the deadline for people to confirm their extensions.  Once we know the numbers for the after trips, we will be able to determine the final flight prices. If you have not sent in your confirmation, please click here to complete.We are encouraging everyone to travel with the Grove. It is not possible to discount people who decide to travel on their own.  There is only one price this year.  Please remember that Batia is not able to make separate arrangements for you to arrive early or stay late.  She is focused on our group’s activities and doesn’t have time to make alternate arrangements for our members and their guests.

January 26 Pre-Event

Join us in Miami before we depart for Cuba for a Conversation With Alexandra Villoch, President and Publisher of Miami Herald Media Co.  In the coming weeks we will send out registration and room block information.

About Alexandra Viloch

Alexandra is the first woman to hold these positions at the Miami Herald. Prior to taking over as President and Publish, she served as Senior Vice President of Marketing & Advertising at The Miami Herald Media Company until April 2014. Villoch served as Senior Vice President of Advertising at The Miami Herald Media Company since July 2005. Ms. VillochShe has been with MHPC for five years, first as national advertising director.

Prior to joining The Herald, she was general manager for United Airlines at Miami International Airport, responsible for all Miami and Caribbean operations and sales; she was also government liaison. She is heavily involved in a variety of civic boards in the arts and business in South Florida, including the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Please join us for a wonderful Cuban Adventure! Draft Agenda and Informational Sheet.

Click HERE to read a WSJ article about some hurdles we may face in our travels to Cuba. Everyone should prepare to be flexible!

Click HERE to view the New Yorker Article about “A New Cuba.”


2017 Adventures for the Mind Auction in Cuba

Belizean Grove Icon

Thanks to amazing efforts of many Grove members, the Adventures for the Mind Foundation was able to donate $125,000 in 2015 to various organizations that support disadvantaged women and girls.

Click HERE to view the list of these organizations

Auction Chair, Rebecca Boenigk, is now accepting auction donations for the 2017 Cuba Auction to benefit the Adventures for the Mind Foundation.

Please email Rebecca at auction@neutralposture.com if you have anything to donate for the 2017 Auction.

Donations can include items, home stays or even unique special services. For example, Grover Julia Hansen just donated a “Behind the Scenes of New York Theater” and will host this fabulous insider’s look tour for the lucky bidder.

Thank you for your continued support of the Adventures for the Mind Foundation!


Save the Date – Santa Fe 2017!
September 14-16, 2017 

Mark your Calendars – the Grove Mini Retreat will be in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the Fall of 2017 at The LaFonda Hotel.
The Belizean Grove Room Block is now open at the La Fonda Hotel.  September is a popular time to travel to Santa Fe so be sure to book your room early.
Details on Room Rates and how to book are listed below:
Traditional Room rates:
            $219.00 single/double occupancy
            $234.00 triple occupancy
            $249.00 quad occupancy

Based on availability, upgraded rooms are available at special room rates:
Deluxe Room:  $259.00 single/double, $274.00 triple, $289.00 quad occupancy
One-bedroom Suite:  $299.00 single/double, $314.00 triple, $329.00 quad occupancy
Terrace at La Fonda Room:  $419.00 single/double, $434.00 triple, $449.00 quad occupancyRoom rates are subject to prevailing taxes, currently 15.3125%; 7% Lodger’s Tax and 8.3125% Gross Receipts Tax.

Please Contact Hotel Directly:

Reservations:  800-523-5002, #1 or
505-982-5511, #1

Group Code:  877069

*Please contact Hotel directly to make reservations.

Please call between the hours of (Mountain Standard Time):
Monday – Friday: 7am-8pm
Saturday: 8am-5pm
Sunday: 9am-5pmCut-off date for making reservations:
Monday, August 21, 2017


Adventures for the Mind 2016 Grant Update

The AFM board met in September and voted to award the following organization grants and scholarships:

2016 Funds Granted to date:

  • Jack & Jill, $5,000
  • America Solidaria, $5,000
  • FAU Student Scholarships, $15,000 ($7,500 for one undergraduate student, $7,500 for one graduate student)
  • Living Classrooms, $5,000

The AFM board is still in the process of evaluating additional requests, we will keep you abreast to these updates.

Thank you for your support!



In 2015 AFM granted Sheva $15,000 to help fund workshops for women and girls.  These workshops included self esteem building and Internet Security Workshop.  They learned how to use mobile tools to improve their education and their academic performance; so, they can stay in school and aspire to a better future.

Our own TARA Marisabel Ruiz, CEO & Founder of Sheva, provided us with an update and information on how the funds were used. Click HERE for a status report


It’s the time of year again ladies…time to update your Face Book bios!

Deadline is November 15
We are beginning to work on the 2017 Face Book.  If you would like to make any changes to your bio from last year, please send in your completed bio to facebook@belizeangrove.org  no later than November 15.
Please note that the facebook bio is different than the online member profile and we cannot make the changes for you.
If you don’t pay your dues you cannot be in the facebook


What the Grovers and Taras Have been Up to Lately…

LAUREN HERRING, CEO of IMPACT Group, has released her first book, This Side Up! A Simple Guide to Your Successful Relocation.

TODDI GUTNER – with sad news, we announce Kenneth (Kenny) Gutner, 89, died peacefully at his home in Scottsdale, Az. He lived a wonderful and full life. He will be greatly missed but lives on in our hearts and minds.  A Memorial Gathering and Celebration of His Life will be held on Sunday, November 13, 2016 from 3-8pm with a Shiva Minyan at 7pm Toddi’s home:  359 Quaker Road, Chappaqua, NY


If anyone would like to nominate someone for the new Grove Cohort, Nyomi, please sumbit ASAP.

The key candidate criteria is two-fold:

1.     Her values are a good fit with the Belizean Grove. 

She must be kind, an already amazingly successful contributor to a greater good, dynamic and zany enough to enjoy our brand of fun. She must pass the roommate test, and the ‘stuck in an airport for 9 hours’ test. That can be a pretty high bar, as we have sometimes painfully come to appreciate.

2.     She already has at least one significant accomplishment under her belt.

We all also know there is an incredibly talented pool of young women who would be truly marvelous additions to the BG, and, as have the Taras before them contributed to the Grovers, help us all grasp the future in ways we haven’t yet even begun to imagine. With the changes in work environment (globalization, the Internet and other tech advances, entrepreneurial spirit, philanthropic spirit), many young women are walking their own path and achieving great successes in their 20s and early 30s. And many more young women have the potential to do so. For our initial kernel of 10, we want young women who already have at least one notable success story.

And as with the Grovers and Taras, membership in Nyomi is by invitation only. The candidate must have the support of one BG nominator and at least one seconder. The nominator must have known the candidate personally for a sufficient period of time to ascertain that they are a good fit for Nyomi, and must introduce the candidate to at least one other Grover or Tara to secure a seconder. We want to know ahead of time that this candidate will fit into the culture we work so hard to nurture and maintain.

So please do not forward to us applications for anyone who:

1.     You don’t personally know

2.     You wouldn’t be willing to share a room with on a retreat

3.     You do not have at least one seconder for

4.     You believe is “on the way” but is not quite there yet … save the application for a future time when the candidate would have probably achieved her first success story and her application will have the ‘wow’ effect on first impression. For example, fresh SSS fellows are probably not quite “there” yet, so please postpone their nominations till they have come into their own.

Click HERE to Download the Nyomi Application.

Please submit all applications with resume to leslie@belizeangrove.org


Don’t Forget to Pay Your Dues!

The regular deadline for 2017 Dues was September 30th.

If you pay in October, you will be assessed a $100 late fee.  If you pay in November, you will be assessed a $250 late fee.

Remember, to be able to participate in retreats and appear in the Face Book, you must pay your dues.

Dues are very easy to pay online with a credit card this year so please click the appropriate link below and pay your 2017 Dues.


Haven’t updated your profile on the website yet? Not sure what to do?

Watch this short video for step-by-step instructions. (NOTE:  To make the video larger – click the small “4 arrows” icon at the bottom right of the video – to the right of the HD.)


“It’s not me who can’t keep a secret. It’s the people I tell that can’t.”

-Abraham Lincoln

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