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UNITY Executive Committee Comes Together for Annual Leadership Retreat

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National UNITY Council Executive Committee Members focused on
communications, team building, networking, mind mapping training

January 13-15, Mesa, Arizona  – UNITY’s elected leadership came together to ring in the new year with renewed vision and leadership during a 3-day leadership development training facilitated by Dr. Pearl  Yellowman and Peer Trainer and former Co-President Audri Mitchell. 

Leadership Development Training . . .

The training focused on communications, team building, and understanding the roles and responsibilities of the National UNITY Council (NUC) Executive Committee (EC) and how their leadership correlates with UNITY’s overall mission as a national native non-profit organization. A group exercise on mind mapping where EC teams wrote representing tasks, words, and powerful concepts linked to and arranged around a central concept and/or subject.

Some of the concepts included:

  • Civic Engagement
  • Advocacy
  • Awareness
  • Embracing Indigeneity/Identity 
  • Understanding individual intersectionality
  • Utilizing Indigeneity for Civic Engagement
  • Cultural Engagement/Recognition
  • Creating Safe Spaces
  • Facets of Identity: self, external, community
  • Community Care is Self Care
  • Community Wellness – Self Wellness
  • Indigenous Health is Wealth

Networking . . .

As part of their networking efforts, the Executive Committee was hosted by a local UNITY affiliate, the Mesa STRENGTH Youth Council from the Mesa Public Schools Native American Education Program, and joined by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Youth Council. The fun evening included Barrio’s pizza and training on developing an “Elevator Speech”, Finding Your Passion, and Team Building. Executive Committee members helped train the attendees on how to speak about their passions, and upcoming projects or ask for funding for their youth council initiatives. 

Healing the Spirit of Native Youth Initiative 

The Executive Committee continued its work on organizing and reviewing the National UNITY Council’s new Initiative “working document” through a mind mapping exercise and lengthy group discussion. 

Some of the Core Goals:

  • Inclusive environments
  • Embracing identity
  • Civic Engagement


The Plan

  • Identify resources to support Youth Councils
  • Creating safe spaces for healing in recognition of UNITY’s four pillars: Spiritual, Mental, Physical, and Social wellness; aka indigenous concepts of wellness
  • Provide opportunities to create innovative community-based projects
  • Fostering continued connections with UNITY’s Cohorts I.e., 25 Under 25, Earth Ambassadors, and Peer Guides to restore and support youth councils who may need additional support

More Networking . . . 

On the last evening, the Executive Committee enjoyed some O’odham Fry Bread from a locally-owned native restaurant and was hosted by Jalen Harvey, President of the Future Inspired Native American Leaders (FINAL) Youth Council at the Keshjee,’ the Navajo Shoe Game held at the Phoenix Indian    Center, Inc. 


Closing with Purpose and Values . . . 

The final day recapped the training with a purpose and values exercise. Each representative shared their values which are the founding principles of their roles as NUC elected leaders. These core concepts are important to their servant leadership. Some of the values that the Executive Committee identified included the indigenous concepts of:

  • Community
  • Connections
  • Grounded/Purpose
  • Movement
  • Leadership
  • Servants of our Communities
  • Empowerment
  • Advocacy
  • Vision
  • Service
  • Accountability
  • Never Losing that Fire (Keep Going!)
  • Mending the Circle