Dennis Dahlen became acquainted with Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center while attending the annual men’s retreats sponsored by his church, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Phoenix. He discovered that the center is a perfect place for a retreat because of its location in the peaceful and beautiful Sonoran Desert of Carefree, Arizona.
Later, Dennis was asked to be a member of the Center’s Board of Directors, and for the past two years, he has served as Chair of the Board. Dennis is the Chief Financial Officer of Mayo Clinic and he brings his financial knowledge and strategic planning skills while working with his colleagues on Spirit in the Desert’s Board and with the Executive Director.
Dennis grew up on a small farm in northeast North Dakota, attended the University of North Dakota and earned a MBA from Minnesota State University Moorhead. His career in healthcare finance began with Lutheran healthcare organizations and prior to Mayo Clinic he was CFO of Banner Health in Phoenix. He said, “I grew up in modest means and with luck and hard work my life has been blessed.” His wife, Mary added, “And, he has a deep and sustaining Christian faith.”
Dennis believes Spirit in the Desert has a unique role in the big picture of religion and spirituality. He said, “It is a gathering spot of welcoming hospitality for the faithful of any faith, for the searchers, the wounded, those in transition, and anyone needing healing and reconciliation.”
He added, “We also need to be open to opportunities that come to us, like the retreat Healing of Memories. Who would have imagined we’d be providing healing retreats for veterans and first responders with PTSD who are suffering psychologically and spiritually? The need appeared and Spirit in the Desert responded.”
Dennis values the uniqueness of Spirit in the Desert. He said, “There are not many facilities in the area suitable for group and personal retreats in a natural and intimate setting. People come to the center from all over the country and the world. This is a consequential place and I am happy to be a part of it.”