Confidence is the new black.

Next Level Retreat – South Africa

The NEXT LEVEL Retreat

Women. Humanity. Empowerment.
We are all a part of the same fabric.


+ find your NEXT LEVEL mission —
on a transformational travel adventure

Johannesburg. Cape Town. Hoedspruit.
By application only.

20 Women. 12 Days. 1 Life Altering Trip

Join me for the The NEXT LEVEL Retreat, on the South-West Coast of Africa. Dine with government leaders + diplomats. Mentor local businesswomen. Discover new projects to champion + causes to serve. Reclaim your roots, as you map out your future.

The NEXT LEVEL Retreat is a tremendous investment in your life + career. It’s a chance to prepare yourself for greater, deeper work — as you serve + empower + celebrate your international sisters.

You will be challenged. You will be inspired. You’ll return home transformed — with a clear direction for your life, work + philanthropic goals.

About Your Host


I’m Karen Arrington — a women’s empowerment coach, founder of The Miss Black USA Pageant, Goodwill Ambassador to The Gambia — and your guide on this extraordinary 10-day adventure.

Travel is my greatest inspiration — I’ve been to just about every country on earth, and racked up more frequent flier miles than any human being could possibly use.

As a philanthropist + community leader, I’ve been fortunate enough to create long-lasting relationships with Presidents, Vice Presidents + Secretaries of State — from Washington D.C. to the West Coast of Africa.

As I step into the NEXT LEVEL of my own life + career, I want to share my connections + wisdom with YOU.

I’m here to help you reclaim your roots, as you map out your future. Your life is so precious — and you hold so much power.

Let’s unfold our legacies — together.

5 Reasons You Should Come

1. CONNECTION. As you explore your ancestral homeland, you’ll reclaim your roots + redefine who you are, as an African American woman.

2. ACCESS. You’ll travel like the First Lady — enjoying private dinners + meetings with high-level government officials, including your international sisters.

3. CONFIDENCE. Your retreat includes lively workshops on career direction, confidence + personal leadership. You’ll leave with your head held higher than ever — with conviction + clarity about your work in the world.

4. EASE. We arrange everything for you — flights, accommodation, airport shuttles, meals, cultural adventures + more. Once you commit to the retreat, you (literally) won’t have to worry about a single logistic.

5. SERVICE. Your retreat is anchored in service + philanthropy — and you’ll have daily opportunities to give back, in meaningful ways.

what to expect

A day-by-day glance at your transformational adventure.

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Your adventure begins with a welcome reception at the CoCo Ocean Spa + Resort.

Connect with new friends, introduce yourself to the circle + celebrate your arrival. You’re here!

Spend the evening touring the resort grounds, indulging in spa treatments, and watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. Tomorrow is a very big day…

Image courtesy Gambia Tourism Blog Image courtesy Gambia Tourism Blog


We’ll visit the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in Banjul — the capital city of Gambia.

You’ll learn about the incredible efforts that local doctors are making, despite financial hardship — and meet with a group of female medical students for a round-table mentoring conversation.

In the evening, we’ll dine with the Gambian Minister of Health, and talk women’s empowerment + healthcare in West Africa, the States, and beyond.

Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy


We’ll tour the presidential compound in Banjul + enjoy a private lunch with a top government official.

In the afternoon, we’ll regroup at the CoCo Resort for a workshop on career direction + personal leadership.

Relax in the evening with independent journaling about the NEXT LEVEL of your life + career.

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of


We’ll spend the day with a group of local businesswomen at the Bakau craft market, touring their homes + workspaces.

You’ll partner with one local entrepreneur, forging a collaborative mentoring relationship.

She’ll be your global sister + pen pal — and together, you’ll come up with creative strategies to strengthen + expand her business.

Image Courtesy Image Courtesy

Day 5: ROOTS

Prepare for a full day adventure — into the heart of your personal history. We’ll embark on a boat ride to Juffureh, the village where Kunta Kinteh — the central character of Alex Haley’s book Roots — was born.

You’ll retrace the history of the transatlantic slave trade — from the Door of No Return on Goree Island to the freedom flag pole in the port of Albreda.

We’ll wrap up this rich, emotional day with a group conversation on our roots, our hopes + future ambitions.

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Day 6: PLAY

Today is devoted to rest, rejuvenation + play! We’ll take a day trip to the secluded beaches of Sanyang — where you’ll find palm trees, hammocks, gentle breezes + a very convenient beach bar!

You’ll have a chance to reflect on your journey so far, journal, relax + integrate what you’ve learned. Need a private pow-wow with me, to talk through some ideas? Pull up a beach chair.

Image Courtesy Image Courtesy


We’ll spend the day volunteering at a local school, bringing much-needed pens, notebooks + sports equipment to the students.

Over lunch, we’ll connect with local teachers, learning about the unique educational challenges that women + girls in Gambia face.

At the end of the day, we’ll present a $10,000 check to the School Development Fund — enough to build a solar water pump system, renovate teacher housing, build a perimeter wall to protect the school’s garden, and more.

Image courtesy Image courtesy


Today, we’ll hop in a 4×4 jeep and spend a day exploring the Makasuta Forest. You’ll be guided through grasslands, mangroves + salt flats, and treated to a traditional Gambian feast.

At a meeting with the head of the Makasutu Wildlife Trust, you’ll learn about alternative energy + re-forestation projects in Makasuta, as well as the ethics of eco-tourism.

And before we leave the forest, you’ll have a chance to explore the village market — full of pottery, wood carvings + silver jewelry made by local craftsman.

Miss Black USA 2013 Miss Black USA 2013


As your NEXT LEVEL Retreat draws to an end, take some time for personal reflection + integration.

Rewrite your career + philanthropy goals for the year. Pull a new friend aside, for some business brainstorming. Grab some 1-on-1 time with me, to sift through all the new possibilities.

We’ll seal the day with a sunset ceremony + farewell dinner. Tomorrow, you’re homeward bound. But you won’t be the same.


You’ll be shuttled to the airport for your flight home, bringing a world of new ideas, stories + opportunities to share with your community, at home.

Your NEXT LEVEL Retreat has come to an end.

How will you redefine yourself, next?

apply now

The NEXT LEVEL Retreat in West Africa is limited to 10 extraordinary women.

Your investment of $12,500 covers your complete 10-day retreat experience — from airfare to accommodation to meals to cultural adventures + more.

Your investment also includes a $1,000 contribution to the Gambian School Development Fund.

We’ll present a check for $10,000 to the Minister of Education on Day 7 of our retreat.

This is a life-changing investment in your life, career + philanthropic goals.

If this experience calls to your heart, apply now.

Your world will never be the same.


Once you apply, I’ll contact you by email to arrange a brief phone conversation.

Can’t wait to connect with you!

1. Tell me about your work in the world.

2. Why does The NEXT LEVEL Retreat call to you?

3. Do you have any questions about the retreat?

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