The REACH Leadership Series for Small Businesses

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April 07, 2020

About the Program

Special Program Update in Response to Covid-19

To say things have changed for small business in Rhode Island seems an understatement. We recognize that now is a period of significant disruption for many of us small business owners. We also know that beyond disruption lies repair and renewal. In times of crisis, our best laid strategies fall to the wayside. What takes the helm is our culture, which starts with how we show up as leaders.

In response to the current environment, we are transitioning to a virtual format that is parsed into smaller segments over a shortened time period. We believe that this will allow you to address your current disruption, but also give you the needed space and community to evolve your business to be resilient in this changing environment.

We have added a pre-session on April 7th. This forum offers an opportunity for the cohort to connect and engage in discussions about the program and gain feedback to how we can modify the structure to make it easier for you to participate.

As fellow small business owners, we fully understand the uncertainty you are navigating. Therefore, this is an important time to use this series to learn, grow and connect as a community of  business leaders so we can share perspectives and make smart decisions as we REACH for the future of your businesses.


Lisa and Tejal, co-creators of AWE

About the REACH Series

Most small businesses are consistently found in the midst of change; needing to adapt, think ahead, and be resilient to the evolving marketplace. This past month has put what we know to the test, and has fast become an anxiety filled moment for every small business owner. The Reach Series is designed to support small business owners during this pivotal time.

When faced with uncertainty, it is easy to lose focus and become overwhelmed. But in order to reach “up” or “around”,  we need to widen our lens, shift our perspectives and change directions with intention. It is essential to be agile and continually evolve leadership, assess managerial capabilities, and most importantly, leverage the strengths of your team to create a resilient culture that positions your business for long-term success and sustainability.

The focus of this program is about evolution – as a business owner, as a leader, within your people and within your culture. We invite you to REACH for the future of your business, not only to get ahead, but to thrive and successfully navigate this new uncharted era.


Who Should Attend
Understanding the challenges business leaders face in a constantly changing and highly uncertain environment, AWE invites 15 small businesses to the REACH Small Business Leadership Series. The program is designed for a cohort of 15 businesses which will include both the owner and a manager from each participating business.

What to Expect

AWE will take the business leaders cohort on a journey of engaging modules focused on expanding key leadership competencies, leveraging human capital, evolving culture and understanding the critical shifts needed to bolster impact, and effectively respond to the challenges and change happening within the business.

The series will be a collaborative program that enriches the collective experience and knowledge of the cohort. AWE’s proven experiential approach will allow participants to forge connections, expand their network, and create forums to exchange ideas.


There is no cost ($0.00!) for a business owner and a manager to participate in The Reach Leadership Series for Small Business program. The program is supported by the State of Rhode Island and was created to assist small businesses in the State with access to programming to develop business leaders as well as expand the capacity of the business for growth and job creation. Attendance is required. We understand that operating a small business can be unpredictable, however, attendance must be a priority. Participants should not miss more than one session. Due to the high demand for the program, we encourage business owners to apply by registering as soon as possible.

Upon registration, you will receive an email with a link to a form to fill out more information about your business.

Owner Cohort: Evolve the Culture

These modules explore a leadership mindset, the behaviors and the shifts that owners need to embrace and evolve their business culture. We address the challenges of “letting go to grow,” to forward-thinking strategies to evolve culture through people, experiences and connections, and most importantly, effective leadership.

Pre-Session: April 7

Module 1 – April 14

Evolution Through the People You Lead

Module 2 – April 16

Evolution Through a Creative, Inclusive, and Committed Workplace Culture

Module 3April 21

Evolution Through the Customer Experience

Module 4April 23

Evolutionary Journey: Peer Discussions; Action Planning

Manager Cohort: Expand Your Impact

These sessions explore the strategies and mindsets needed when stepping into roles of leadership, including understanding the difference between managing and leading, expanding impact through influence, leading with agility, and leveraging individualized approaches to up-skill your impact in support of the business.

Module 5 – April 28

Step Up to Leadership

Module 6- April 30

Expand Your Influence

Module 7 – May 5

Lead with Agility

Module 8 – May 7

Expand Your Impact: Peer Discussions; Action Planning

Owner and Manager Cohort: Engage Through Connections

In the final sessions, we bring the “Owner” and “Manager” cohorts together to explore effective communication strategies and the impact emotions and energy have on engagement and productivity. We incorporate the DiSC assessment tool to understand various communication styles. This will explore emotional intelligence strategies for managing emotions, minimizing conflict and effectively engaging in difficult conversations.

We further delve into actionable practices for building capacity and cultivating an energized culture that enables people to think more creatively, lead more effectively, make better decisions and perform at higher levels even when faced with an increasingly complex and constantly changing business environments.

Module 9- May 12

Engage Through Dynamic Communication

Module 10- May 14

Engage Through Managing Emotions

Module 11- May 19

Engage Through Energy: The “X” Factor in Engagement

*Module 12- May 21

Plan for Performance: Empower People Through Alignment; Plan and Commit

Attendance to the AWE Conference – September 29th

Program Schedule

Owner Schedule

  • April 7,  9:30 am-11 am – Pre-session
  • April 14 & 16 – Evolution Through the People You Lead
  • April 21 – Evolution Through the Customer Experience
  • April 23 – Evolutionary Journey: Peer Discussions; Action Planning

Key Manager Schedule

  • April 28 – Step Up to Leadership
  • April 30- Expand Your Influence
  • May 5 Lead with Agility
  • May 7 –  Expand Your Impact: Peer Discussions; Action Planning

Owner & Manager

  • May 12 – Engage Through Dynamic Communication
  • May 14 – Engage Through Managing Emotions
  • May 19 – : Engage Through Energy: The “X” Factor in Engagement
  • May 21 – Plan for Performance: Empower People Through Alignment; Plan and Commit


Included in your participation:

Attendance to the AWE Conference Experience: Stay Human in the Workplace at the Omni Hotel in Providence, RI in September 2020.

An AWE 3-Month Complimentary Membership on completion of the program.

Meet Lisa Raiola, Facilitator

Lisa Raiola, MPH, is an AWE Experience Maker and is the lead facilitator for this program. Lisa is the founder of Hope & Main, Rhode Island’s first food business incubator. Hope & Main helps to grow the local food economy by creating a community of support for food entrepreneurs and cultivating an environment where emerging culinary startups can test, create, scale and thrive.

Lisa has worked at both Roger Williams University and Brown University and has more than 30 years of experience in program development and advancement. She has a special focus on distributive justice, social responsibility, and economic development.

Meet Tejal Tarro, Facilitator

Tejal Tarro is Managing Partner and Chief Services Officer (CSO) of AWE, Advancing Workplace Excellence.

Meet Lisa Bergeron, Facilitator

An accomplished business leader, Lisa Bergeron is the Founding Partner and Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) of AWE, Advancing Workplace Excellence.

Meet Kevin Matta, Facilitator

Kevin Matta, Director of Client Engagement & Inclusion of AWE, Advancing Workplace Excellence.

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