Before Lisa Busch went on sabbatical in 2022, she had three goals: meditate, spend time with older relatives and row. She did all that and more.

She had led a team of researchers and science educators since 2010 at the Sitka Sound Science Center and had worked in Alaska nonprofits for 34 years. She was ready to recharge her battery.

As she puts it, she found her best self. She lived in the South of France, ate amazing food and rowed with a local club. She meditated daily. She practiced her French even though that was hard. She spent three weeks with her mom including time in Paris. They laughed, talked and relished the one-on-one time that can be elusive when cherished family members live far apart.

Lisa Busch and her mom

In Corsica, she visited a field station, stayed in an old lighthouse, snorkeled and led a workshop on science communication and community engagement.

“It was a turning point in my sabbatical,” she says. “Being with the field station people reminded me what I love about field station work. These were my people … curious, outdoorsy people who are problem solvers and enthusiastic about understanding their local natural world.”

When Busch started at the science center, she was the only full-time employee. By 2023, there were 23 full-time year-round employees and another 15 who work seasonally. Before her sabbatical, she worried more about who she was without work than how the organization would do without her.

The time away helped her realize her life is more about relationships than any one cause.

About the Sabbatical Program
Tribal executives and nonprofit CEOs/executive directors receive paid time away from the office for rest and personal renewal. The Foundation believes leaders can better serve their organizations when they have taken extended time away to refresh and reflect on their work, gain insight into what they want to accomplish in their careers, learn better ways to run their organizations and renew their personal energy. Learn more here.