Leadership San Antonio’s 47th Class Kicks Off at Opening Retreat

How can our beloved San Antonio move forward honoring its unique history while not having that history constrain our future?  What has been my personal history that led to this leadership moment?  And how do the paths of the city and the citizen intersect to their mutual benefit?

These were the framing questions of the Leadership San Antonio (LSA) Class 47 Opening Retreat, held January 20 and 21, 2023. The class spent the majority of the first day at Frost Tower’s top floor, taking advantage of the incredible panoramic views of the city. They were welcomed by Dan Geddes, President of the San Antonio Region for Frost Bank (LSA 46). Co-Chairs Stephanie Suarez and Jeffrey Arndt introduced the theme for LSA 47, SA4Ward, and shared the four pillars of growth that reflect the values of growth in San Antonio that will guide the class year – inspiration, collaboration, innovation, and action.

Francisco Gónima (LSA 39) served as facilitator and led the discussion about what makes San Antonio unique followed by a group activity exploring the elements of building trust among the class members.  With the background of the city skyline, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairman J. R. Trevino (LSA 38) greeted the class and welcomed Judge Nelson Wolff, who spoke candidly about his half-century career in public service.

After a delicious lunch provided by True Flavors Catering, class members were greeted by representatives from Weston Urban who developed the Frost Tower and then took advantage of the beautiful view by taking part in a self-guided tour around the city through the perimeter windows.  To guide the participants, Steering Committee member Andi Rodriguez posted trivia and conversation starters associated with each particular and unique view, providing a historical backdrop of San Antonio.

Members were then challenged to create their own “historical backdrop” through a River of Life exercise.  Each person’s River reflected the elements that define them and led them into leadership. Following the afternoon programming, Class 47 enjoyed a festive dinner at Mi Tierra in Market Square, where Pete Cortez (LSA21) provided a history of his family’s development on the west side of downtown, pointed out familiar faces on the mural wall, and toasted to the success of LSA 47.

The President and CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Marina Gonzalez joined the Co-Chairs at dinner and brought “Funkytown” to Mi Tierra while revealing class day assignments, which also featured Steering Committee members in garb evocative of their Day – from 80’s inspired spandex workout clothes to hard hats, welcoming the Class members who will plan and execute their Day.

As the retreat ended on Saturday, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Interim President and CEO Dave Petersen and San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Katie Harvey greeted the class and shared the importance of the business sector in advancing the city and provided an update on the Chamber’s vision and strategic plan in the new year.

For more information on Leadership San Antonio, follow news and updates at www.leadershipsa.org or email Lori Stinson, Vice President of Military Affairs and Leadership Development.


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