Last weekend, the leaders of each Starfish program participated in a team retreat to a nearby lake town called Cerro de Oro (Hill of Gold). The objective of the getaway was to creatively brainstorm in a new space about the long-term vision of Starfish. Staying on a beautiful lakeside property for the weekend was an added bonus!
The main focus during the retreat in Cerro was on S.M.A.R.T. goals–Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Relevant, and Time-bound. Setting goals like this makes us more effective as an organization and ensures that our work results in sustainable, positive changes in Guatemala. Starfish already has four organizational goals that we use to measure the success of our Girl Pioneers: “her economic autonomy,” that she earns at least $3,500 annually; “her lifelong learning,” that she attains at least 15 years of formal schooling; “her family on her terms,” that she marries and has children after the age of 25; and “her leadership,” that she leads positive change in her community through formal participation in community groups. Building on these goals, team leaders worked to develop more specific S.M.A.R.T. objectives that will lead to systemic change in Guatemala. Each leader also developed their own five-year S.M.A.R.T. goals pertaining to each of their specific programs. It certainly involved hard work, but we wholeheartedly believe that it is effort and critical thinking such as this that will lead to data-driven, systemic change in Guatemala.
While most of the Starfish retreat was work, there was a little bit of play as well; the team had the opportunity to swim in Lake Atitlán and enjoy some quality time together. It was a good weekend away, not only because it ensured that all of the project leaders share common goals and a strategy around how to achieve those goals, but also because it allowed the leaders to grow together as a team and truly bond over the vision they created for Starfish. “Creating this strategic plan together allowed us all to become aligned and united,” reflects in-country director Norma Baján. “Seeing the leadership that the staff demonstrated was very inspiring and brought everyone closer together. We are all very invested in this strategic plan, as its success is very personal to us. I believe 100 percent that when girls have the power to change their lives, nothing can stop them.”