The 13th annual DLE Retreat was to be held Nov. 6-8, 2020. The pandemic canceled that plan. This transformative weekend immersion—the DLE’s inaugural program—has profoundly changed perspectives and relationships. DLE Advisory Board Member Jesse Noll writes about his experience in his My DLE Story blog installment. A three-time retreat participant, Jesse is the Manager of Integrated Planning & Custom Content & Experiences at Wavemaker in New York, NY.
In November 2019, more than 50 people gathered in the Berkshires for the 2019 DLE Gen Now Retreat. Each year, so many amazing connections come out of the weekend of networking, seminars, and activities. The highlight though? Finding friendship during that weekend.
After the first night of festivities, a group of 2019 retreat attendees went for a mini celebration in downtown Pittsfield at the Hotel on North, myself included. At the very end of the night, Linda (Dulye) and I were talking, when all of a sudden we were joined by a new face—Sophia Romeu. After a glass of wine, we decided to call it in, but I had a feeling I had just made a new friend. And boy was I right!
As the pandemic set in, a friendship took shape as well. Sophia and I started to talk regularly—about music, pop culture, Schitt’s Creek, and we started having wine nights over FaceTime. She has seen me at all-time highs and has also seen me in some low moments as well. Because of that friendship that was built, both of us had an idea—we needed to have a reunion.
I was supposed to go to Europe this fall, but COVID happened. Luckily, I heard that the Berkshires were the Munich of the States, so I replaced my plans to travel abroad with a brief trip to visit an amazing friend. We finally had the opportunity to have one of our wine nights in person, and throughout the week many other friends joined us along the way.
Although I’m a selfie addict, and despite having three days to take a friendship selfie, Sophia and I completely forgot to! And honestly, I love that. Because that means we were enjoying the moment. And frankly, a selfie will not matter as much as the memories of a week well spent and just enjoying friend time without distractions.
While I take away so much from the DLE, my favorite thing is that I’ve developed some incredible friendships over the years. Having the chance to connect with others has brought me such joy over the years, and I’m eternally grateful.
I’m lucky to have such great friends in the Berkshires—ones who will hop on a video call on a whim, drink wine with you when you’re having a bad day and even make a full itinerary for your trip to the Berkshires.