It is with great excitement and gratitude that I let you know I’ve been invited to be the Executive Director at Harmony Hill. Many years ago I participated in a program that met at Harmony Hill every few months for more than a year. Within moments of stepping on this property I knew this was sacred ground. It is a dream come true to be able to come here each day to steward and move forward this beautiful environment and life-changing mission.
I’ve been involved in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years. Much of that was in the role of Executive Director for 3 organizations;
FareStart (job and life skills training in the foodservice industry for homeless adults)
Washington CASH (microenterprise training and micro-lending for low-income adults)
Jubilee Women’s Center (housing and services to move homeless women out of poverty)
In every organization the core work has always been about transformation; working through self-limiting beliefs, healing the pain from trauma, finding hope, and living an inspired life. Harmony Hill is an environment designed and centered on that personal transformation. Additionally, after receiving my Masters in Nonprofit Leadership, I spent years as a consultant working with organizations to:
Grow boards of directors
Strengthen financial management
Clarify and track outcome measures
Develop social enterprise businesses
After receiving my Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University I taught nonprofit strategic planning as an adjunct professor for 6 years. Prior to my time in the nonprofit sector, I spent the first part of my working life in the hospitality industry, including as a small business owner with a custom cake company and catering company. I am also a breast cancer survivor. Getting cancer is a life-changing experience. Harmony Hill is such a gift to people going through this experience; to process, reframe, and embrace their new reality of life.
I hope you can see that my path in life, as an Executive Director, managing housing, working in the hospitality industry, developing social enterprise businesses and having personal experience with cancer all contribute to my personal alignment with Harmony Hill. I’m grateful for the strong, heart-centered mission that has been built here in the past and joyful about leading this amazing organization into the future.
Founder & Executive Director Emerita / Integrative Nurse Coach
Gretchen Schodde, MN, ARNP, FNP-BC, NC-BC is the Founder and Executive Director Emerita of Harmony Hill Retreat Center. After attending a retreat at St. Andrew’s House in 1985, Gretchen decided to open a small retreat center and wellness community on the adjacent property now known as Harmony Hill. In 1994, she founded the Harmony Hill Cancer Program, still the best known program offered at Harmony Hill. Gretchen has been part of almost every Cancer Program workshop and retreat at Harmony Hill, helping to facilitate thousands of individuals through their cancer journey.
Gretchen is a family nurse practitioner, a former University of Washington Assistant Professor, and one of the first nurse practitioners in the State of Washington. She is a board certified Integrative Nurse Coach, an Associate faculty for the Integrative Nurse Coach Association, and also co-facilitates retreats on the sacred Isle of Iona in Scotland. She has received numerous awards for her life’s work, including being inducted into the Washington State Nurses Association’s “Hall of Fame,” Distinguished Career and Transformational Pioneer by NWONE— the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, the Humanitarian Award from the University of Washington School of Nursing and in 2015 the Washington State Medal of Merit. Gretchen has a life-long commitment to all aspects of health and well-being, loves to garden, cook, and read; and enjoys music in her spare time.