Winnekota Leadership Summit-Keynote Speaker

Sarah Kurtz McKinnon

Sarah Kurtz McKinnon

Sarah Kurtz McKinnon graduated cum laude from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2008. Although she had a passion for writing, she had another passion as well: changing lives through the power of summer camp.  

In 2009, Sarah earned the opportunity to become one of the youngest YMCA camp executives in the country, taking the helm of Ann Arbor YMCA Camp Al-Gon-Quian at the age of 23.  She served as the director of Camp AGQ for nearly six years.  During that time, the camp saw incredible growth, with a 40 percent increase in positive annual net for the program and nearly $1 million in capital construction improvements.  Sarah’s dynamic and creative leadership approach took an already great camp to another level of excellence, receiving recognition at the national level for its success.

Sarah handed off Camp Al-Gon-Quian to her successor in 2015 to become a camp consultant and trainer. Her goal was to help other camps and camp professionals reach their full potential.  She also co-founded, with Jack Schott, The Summer Camp Society, a collaborative, community-based education program for emerging camp professionals.  Sarah is regularly recruited to keynote camp and recreation conferences across the United States and actively writes about leadership in the camp and business settings. She co-authored a book for camp professionals with Steve Maguire, entitled Not the Way You Have Always Done It, and a case study she co-authored with Dr. Wayne Baker about organizational development was recently published by the Harvard Business Review.

In 2018, Sarah earned her Master’s in Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, graduating with high honors. At Ross, she was a fellow in the +LAB at the Center for Positive Organizations and a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband and their three-year-old daughter, and helps teach courses in management, negotiations, and leadership for MBA students at Ross.

Opening Keynote--Ten Training Transformations for 2022

We’re guessing it’s been a few years since you had the capacity to reassess your staff training. Your program was likely cancelled or significantly modified in 2020, and your staff training time likely focused on Covid mitigation. If you were in operation in 2021, you likely had the same situation, and relied on past training plans to orient your staff to their roles and responsibilities. But, for 2022, using a plan from three years ago is not going to fly. So much has changed in our world since then–including an increased focus on social justice and the combined trauma we have all experienced because of the pandemic–and your staff training plan needs to reflect and respond to these needs. In this presentation, Sarah Kurtz McKinnon, co-founder of The Summer Camp Society, will show you ten ways to transform your traditional staff training plan to prepare your team as best you can to serve kids and your community in this ever-changing world.