The professional retreat that embraces the wholeness of life and work

Do you ever feel like you need some time away so that you can focus, feel inspired, and unleash your creativity?

Do you crave connection to interesting people who can help you learn and grow?

Do you embrace the idea that happiness leads to greater productivity?

If you answered yes to all these questions then you and I have a lot in common!

After spending years working in technology and leading engineering teams I’ve learned that creativity and productivity do not come for granted, even if you have the best talent in house. Creativity and productivity requires a committed and happy team, it requires positive team dynamics and interactions! I believe the best way to fuel creativity and productivity is to keep things fresh, expose people to different experiences and environments, other interesting individuals who they can learn things from, appreciate different perspectives and open their minds to possibility. Not only that but, tapping into people’s passions and looking at them as a whole being rather than simply a professional peer goes a long way in making them feel valued.

Over the last year I’d been thinking about creating something that would allow people to get away from their daily routine and help them accelerate their ideas and projects, and achieve their goals and dreams through collective thinking and meaningful activities. That’s when Southwest Collective started to shape up! My co-founder and I joined forces and started organising Offsite Immersive 2016, a week long conscious co-working retreat in the south of Portugal. At an incredible location in Guia, a civil parish 5km away from the Atlantic Ocean, we found the most beautiful traditional Portuguese house rebuilt with a modern twist, surrounded by quiet rural fields, and we knew this was the perfect place.


We wanted it to be a week where ideas meet mindfulness and disconnection meets inspiration! So we’ve put together a program that includes goal setting, collaboration, flash talks, deep-dives, digital free experiences, playshops, field trips, musical evenings and more! We’re bringing 18 professionals plus our resident volunteers together for this incredible experience. We have a strong element of professional selectivity so we’re getting in touch with every applicant to get to know them better and find out why they want to join and what they can offer the group!

We’ve been working passionately hard to make sure that we make this retreat an amazing experience and so far we’ve partnered up with MoneyPenny, Moo, Piktochart and CoworkLisboa to offer some great perks to all attendees. We also have TEDx speaker, community specialist, startup co-founder and Remote Year participant Jacqueline Jensen coming down as a guest speaker. Dana Svoboda, Chief Joy Officer at Makers Academy is also joining us as a resident volunteer and wellbeing coach to help us look after our heart, body and mind through yoga, mindfulness and playshops! Our musical director Paulo Segurado is going to invite us for a ride along lyrics, sounds and harmonies and probably ask us to sing-a-long around a bonfire! We continue to work towards getting more incredible people involved and you can be one of them!

So far, we have received applications from Canada, USA, Spain, Germany, UK and Holland, and candidates come from different backgrounds that include entrepreneurs, software developers, designers, freelancers, corporate employees, journalists and social media strategists. This can be a great opportunity to find new inspiration, broaden horizons and make new connections!

If you love this idea here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Apply to participate in the retreat
  • Get your company to sponsor your attendance
  • Sponsor one or more employees to come to the retreat
  • Contact me to discuss mission aligned sponsorships and partnerships
  • Join us as a guest speaker or instructor for a flash-talk or deep-dive
  • Apply for the volunteering program

You can do all the above by visiting our website where all the information is available or by getting in touch with @anahenneberke.

If you read this far I’d also love to hear from you and find out more about who you are and talk about your passions! Email me at and follow us on Twitter @swcollectiveco to receive the latest updates.

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