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Spend some time working on the most important design project of all – your life.

Designing Your Life for Women, offered both in person and virtually is designed to help you learn and use the Life Design© method, popularized by the New York Times bestseller Designing Your Life, How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.  You will leave with mindful awareness of where you are right now, new designs for balance and energy, new ways to frame problems you’ve been trying to solve for a while, insights on how to hone your decision making, and three possible future paths for your life.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have canceled all of our in-person Designing Your Life for Women Workshops for 2020. We launched our first-ever Virtual Program, featuring the Designing Your Life app and 3 highly interactive zoom workshops this fall.  Although we all may not be able to travel, we will radically collaborate with other women safely from wherever we are, using Zoom and other online collaboration tools. 

To get a notification about upcoming virtual programs, please email rhianna@designingyour.life to be added to our email list.

Designing Your Life for Women One Month Virtual journey

Taught by Kathy Davies, Managing Director of the Stanford Life Design Lab and Susan Burnett, certified DYL Master Instructor and longtime business executive, this innovative digital solution gives you the opportunity to learn and practice ideas and tools contained in the NYT bestselling Designing Your Life, How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life in a life design community.

Each day you will access our DYL app to learn a life design concept or tool, take that learning into action, and use social features to share and gain insights from your community. Along the journey, you will participate in 3 highly interactive virtual workshops where we will work together real-time to reframe dysfunctional beliefs, explore the social and personal narratives that shape us, and dig into design tools to increase your creativity and confidence. We will use breakout discussions, and online ideation tools to share and collaborate. We will heighten a mindful awareness of where you are now, use design tools for balance and energy and improvements, practice ways to frame problems and get unstuck, gain insights into honing your decision making, and design three possible future paths – Odyssey Plans – for your life.

The following items are included in the experience

  • 3 highly interactive zoom sessions where you will talk with other participants about your life and life design tools. (details below)
  • Enrollment in the DYL Life Design App, specifically designed to support your one month experience with daily learning and action. (2 two week paths – details below.)
  • Digital tools and worksheets to support your assessments and reflections.
  • A one-hour post retreat call with the instructors and fellow participants for follow-up and coaching.

Session Details:

  • Sept. 26, 2020 8:30am – 11:00am PT Live Session 1: Get Ready! : Kick off your DYL experience. Meet the instructors and your community, share your goals, commit to the norms for an effective life design community and share your goals for the experience. Practice the unique way we will work together using digital tools: our new DYL App, ideation through MIRO and Zoom collaboration.
  • DYL App Path 1: Start Where You Are : Dive into the Design Thinking process and mindsets. Reflect on why you work and map past and present work roles to identify what satisfies you and what doesn’t. Reflect on your life’s purpose and if what you do, who you are, and what you believe are coherent. Assess your process for making choices and hone your own discernment.
  • Oct. 10, 2020 8:30am – 12:30pm PT Live Session 2: Build Your Compass : Come together to share your views of work and life. Discuss the social narrative, your personal story and how both have influenced your thinking and choices. Through radical collaboration, incorporate your emerging insights into a compass to help you navigate life’s changes.
  • DYL App Path : Get Unstuck :Work on understanding where you are stuck and how problems can be framed and reframed to get unstuck. Lean into your definition of balance, assess your balance and energy, and use the bias to action mindset to try small improvements. Finally, create three versions of your future – ideas that will galvanize next steps!
  • Oct. 24, 2020 8:30am – 12:30pm PT Live Session 3: Design Your Future : Rejoin the community to share your assessments, versions of the future, and insights gained in the previous weeks. Together use generative listening and idea boards to design tangible ways to move forward and realize your future dreams. Leave with an action plan and accountability.
  • OPTIONAL: Nov. 21 9:00am -10:30am PT Live Session 4 : Discovery and Support : Get the support you need to continue your life design practice. Discover the science of change to set yourself up for success when you are making small or large life changes. Celebrate progress, share obstacle and get insight into how others have handled similar challenges. This session is optional.

We look forward to meeting you and to engaging in this journey together!

Designing Your Life For Women In Person Retreats

We will:

  • Challenge dysfunctional beliefs and the social narrative for women.
  • Assess the kind of roles you’ve had in the past and determine what you need in a role to be challenged and fulfilled.
  • Work on the problems you’ve been trying to solve, by reframing them and engaging the community in ideation on your problem.
  • Help you envision three potential future lives and learn how to prototype or try out the parts of these lives that are most compelling to you.
  • Hone your decision-making process.
  • Increase your ability to network to get the connections for the prototypes you want to run.
  • Help you to create a supported action plan, providing a 30-day post-workshop checkpoint with the instructors.

Best of all, you will do this work in a supportive community of women with similar goals.


  • Retreat ​​price:​​$950; Early bird discounts: $799 (quantities limited).​​ ​​
  • Workshop sessions from 8:00am-6:30pm on Saturday and 8:00am-1:00pm on Sunday.
  • Breakfast, lunch and a wine and cheese reception on Saturday, breakfast Sunday.
  • Designing Your Life for Women Workbook for your exercises and reflections.
  • A one-hour post retreat call with the instructors and fellow participants for follow-up and coaching.

Upcoming Events:

No In person Events in 2020 – We hope to see you in 2021!

To get a notification about upcoming virtual programs, please email rhianna@designingyour.life to be added to our email list.

About Us

Kathy Davies

Designing Your Life Workshop Leader

I am the Managing Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford University, where I teach Product Design, Mechanical Engineering, and “Designing Your Life”. I have 15 years of experience developing electromechanical and software products, and proudly hold five patents. I consult with Silicon Valley companies, teach design thinking, conduct ethnographic research, and develop product strategies and concepts. My experience includes roles as Sr. Product Manager at Arena Solutions, Sr. Manager of Technical Programs at D2M, Inc, Manager of Mechanical Engineering at nLighten Technologies and Mechanical Engineer at Cardica. I am the co- creator of “Designing Your Life for Women” and a passionate advocate for design thinking as a methodology to empower social change.

Susan Burnett

Designing Your Life Workshop Leader

I have dedicated the last 35 years of my career to catalyzing individual and business transformation and growth. I have held executive positions at Hewlett Packard, Gap Inc., Deloitte, Yahoo! and BTS, where I have led large scale business changes, cultural renewal, employee engagement, leadership development, and global marketing services in the computer systems industry. I am an adjunct professor at Antioch University, teaching Women and Leadership, and I’ve taught Designing Your Life at Stanford, in companies and women’s retreats. I am a regular speaker, consultant, and author on leadership development. My Odyssey Plan for the next five years is all about empowering women to change the world!

Andrea Ciafardini

Instructor and Owner Holistic Connections

As the founder of Holistic Connections, Inc., I have designed and taught healing workshops on forgiveness, emotional health, and all aspects of Kundalini Yoga. Through my training with some of the most highly skilled teachers on conscious living, including Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, PhD, of the Kundalini Yoga tradition and Leslie Hershberger, M.A., of the Enneagram of the Narrative Tradition, I’ve learned how to enable true healing to occur. My practice areas include: the Yoga of Authentic Relationships, Mind and Meditation, Stress and Vitality, Somatic Experiencing, the Enneagram, and the Emotional Polarity Technique. I enjoy my role in the Designing Your Life for Women workshop where we create a space for participants to unwind, and reveal a deeper awareness of themselves.

Retreat FAQs

Who goes to the Designing Your Life for Women (DYLW) retreat?

You will find women of all ages, backgrounds and career experiences participating in this retreat.  Their common goal is to design a life and career with more joy, purpose and fulfillment.  And they are usually at some kind of crossroad in their life, like starting their first job, or making a mid-career change, or deciding whether to leave or re-enter the workforce, or designing their retirement. The diverse group of women really brings different perspectives which makes the collaboration and community work so well.

Why do women choose the DYLW retreat?

Many women who come to our retreat have read Designing Your Life – How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life and want to do the exercises and new designs for their life in collaboration with others.  It’s especially effective to be in a room with women you don’t know, as they have no history or preconceptions about you, and they have no stake in your decisions, unlike family and friends.  So they can hear you and propose possibilities for you in a new and refreshing way.  We work very hard to build collaboration and community in the first 30 minutes!

Do you have to read the book to get the most out of the retreat?

Women have told us its helpful to read the book in advance, and others have said they like doing the workshop first and then read the book.  It’s a personal learning preference, not a requirement to read the book in advance of attending the retreat.

What is the difference between the one day intensive workshop and the one and a half day retreat?

Check out our Workshop & Retreats page to learn more about both programs.

Does the retreat include meals and lodging?

We include breakfast and lunch and a wine and cheese reception on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday. We end before lunch on Sunday and you are responsible for your own dinners. We are happy to help you with recommendations and making arrangements for people who want to eat dinner together Saturday night.

You are responsible for securing your own lodging. Please see the Eventbrite registration pages for information about hotel options near each venue. You can also check travel sites, AirBnB and VRBO to find other options.

Do you provide any special discounts?

Yes, we provide a 10% discount for alumnae friends and family, for a total price of $720 (Your favorite alum will give you the promotion code.).  We also provide a 50% discount to students and veterans, as well as a few scholarships. Please contact catherine@designingyour.life for more information.

What’s the refund policy?

We do not refund your money if you cancel, so please make sure you are able to make the date you have selected. If something unforeseen happens, please contact Kathy Davies at kathy.h.davies@gmail.com about your situation, and we will see if we can transfer your registration to another workshop if one is available.

Still have questions?

Contact Us.

DYL for Women: Join us for the first ever One Month Virtual Program Sept 26 - Oct 24, 2020!Get tickets