Meet Callie: Co-host of the Wholehearted Women Retreat


When I met Callie at a retreat in March, I immediately connected to her mission and the heart behind everything she does. She also has a passion for creating spaces for people to connect and dig deeper into everything they are meant to be. We only spent two short days together, but we both knew we wanted to work together.

When I found out she was a Daring Way Facilitator, trained in the work of Brene Brown (sometime I refer to her as St. Brene), I became a total fan girl! Brene Brown is a QUEEN to me, and I know that my community and I could benefit from doing the soul work that Callie could facilitate.

So we have teamed up to bring you the Wholehearted Women Retreat! On November 15-17, we are gathering at a gorgeous lake house in Greenville, Illinois. We’ll dig into the teaching, share meals together, and enjoy a quiet, refreshing weekend on the lake. The retreat is all-inclusive that means that all lodging and meals are included (plus other fun stuff like portraits by me and more).

To get to the heart of the retreat’s content, I thought it would be helpful to interview Callie, so you can get to know her a little better and hear some of her experience with The Daring Way and pursuing a wholehearted life.

So, wild hearts, here’s my friend Callie.

Erin: Callie! First, I am SO happy our paths have crossed, but I honestly can’t believe I met you less than six months ago! I’m excited to introduce to the wild-hearted women I know, so I'd love for you to tell us a little about what you do.

You’re a Daring Way Facilitator. I adore Brené Brown’s work and think it is life-changing for anyone who devotes time to it. I’m curious, what is a Daring Way Facilitator and why did you choose to become one?

Callie: I saw Brené's TED Talk on vulnerability in 2014, and felt like she was speaking to my heart. As a priest, I sit with people in their highest highs and their lowest lows. So when I heard she'd be training people how to guide others through her work, I signed up! I spent a week in Texas with Brené and her team practicing vulnerability and examining shame, then did a year of follow-up consultation before I became a full Certified Daring Way Facilitator.

E: What impact has this work had in your life/the lives of those you work with?

C: Every day, I'm trying to show up to this world as my authentic self, and this training has helped me be aware of the voices--internal and external--trying to keep me small. Integrating the work into my own life means that I show others where voices of shame are holding them back from being the person they were truly created to be. Many people who have attended a retreat or class series with me have found their lives transformed; some even come to me years later to tell me about a career change or healed relationship inspired by the Daring Way.

E: What has your own wholehearted journey looked like?

C: I've been in many settings--especially the Church--where I've been told not to be so shiny, not to let my light shine so bright. I believe I am the person God created me to be, and that my bright light is part of that, but it took me a long time to claim that and to say, "This is me." After going through a lot of grief and transition in the past 3 years, I've had to practice being true to myself and modeling vulnerability with others. I'm finally at a place where I feel free to show up as ME, wholly myself.

E: Why is this message of wholehearted living so important right now?

C: We live in a world where isolation and conflict rule the day. I have two suggestions if any of the world leaders care for my opinion: either we teach everyone to practice empathy and brave conversations (which I teach through the Daring Way), or we conduct life as a musical (I mean, who can stay mad when everyone is snapping and singing?!). We need each other, and we must bring our best selves to each and every day.


E: I’m so excited to co-host the Wholehearted Women retreat with you in November! Can you give us a glimpse of what to expect?

C: Women are often pitted against one another in comparison and competition, but this retreat is a chance to cast all of that off and find the "you" inside and practice showing that you to others who have earned your trust. I'll help establish a comfortable space in which we can all practice being vulnerable, all on your terms. We'll go deep, talking about self-compassion, empathy, things keeping up from showing up, and those values and gifts that lie deep within us. I'll share some words directly from Brené using her videos (exclusive to Daring Way facilitators), guide you through written reflections and group sharing (on your own terms!), and give you a chance to rest and reset.


E: Who is the Wholehearted Women retreat for?

C: Women who are feeling lost, broken, or longing for something deeper. Women who are trying to figure out how to be in relationship with an intimate partner, friend, or coworker. Women who are not on the path they thought they'd be on and women who are flourishing in life. Women who are beginning their careers, finding themselves after becoming a parent, or learning what life looks like after retirement or job change. Wholehearted Women is for women who are done with superficial conversations and yearning for connection.

E: Any else you’d like to add?

C: My heart is so joyous when I imagine gathering in the deep autumn with my mug of tea, the lake outside, and a room full of wholehearted women who want to be authentic with one another. I can't wait!

Click here to register for the Wholehearted Women Retreat. We’d love to see you there!

The Rev. Callie Swanlund is an Episcopal priest serving half time in a church and devoting her other time to being a "priestpreneur." She created a film called How2charist: Digital Instructed Eucharist and leads individuals and groups in the work of Dr. Brené Brown as a Certified Daring Way Facilitator. Callie is a mama, creator, lover of Jesus, and dreamer who is currently building missional space in Philadelphia for others to discover and use their creative gifts. Find out more at

Erin Westermeyer MillerComment