Meet the Retreat Directors > Retreat Director Terri Ord

Retreat Director Terri Ord

Terri Ord’s life forever changed in an instant when she heard the knock at the door that no parent ever wants to hear. She’s risen above the unspeakable grief of losing her son and she uses her testimony to help members find joy amidst life’s challenges. Terri has been a TOPS Retreat Director for 21 years and is known best for her positive attitude, her hundreds of stylish hats and her welcoming and reassuring hugs.

Q: What first brought you to TOPS?

A friend brought me to TOPS in 1974. The doctor told me that if I didn’t lose weight, I might not live long enough to see my children grown up. We both joined, but she quit in two weeks, and I am still here! TOPS saved my life.  

Q: What made you want to become a Retreat Director?

I went to a retreat in Arizona with Imogene Welch in 1994, and it was life-changing for me. I lost my son the next month, and several of the tools I had learned at that retreat helped me work through my loss.

I love people, and I want to help them regain health and enjoy life with a positive attitude! I have hoped keeping off pounds sensibly will inspire others to get and stay healthy. Sometimes it doesn’t seem possible that I have been in TOPS 47 years and am now a 41-year KOPS. My oh my, where does the time go?

Q: Can you tell us a little about Virtual Retreats?

With the pandemic, I knew so many of our members were lost without their meetings. I wanted to do something to help them survive. I started my PACE Train (Positive Attitude Changes Everything) email distribution that I send out weekly with inspiration and input from passengers (members), and then I send out videos. I believe it is currently helping over 900 members. 

When Cynthia Mack, a fellow Retreat Director, suggested having TOPS Virtual Retreats, I knew it was exactly what our members need! Many can no longer travel, can’t get off work or can’t afford an in-person retreat, so this was the perfect addition to our Retreat Program!

Q: What can members look forward to at one of your retreats?

I teach visually (both in-person and virtually) which means I do some fun things! I have quite an unusual hat collection and use those often. At retreat, members learn to have fun and look through the eyes of a kid again. They learn the Food Exchange System in a way that takes the fear out of it. They learn to line dance (yes, even virtually) and do quality sharing and caring. Most importantly, “What happens at retreat stays at retreat.” It is a very safe place to share and care. I am a hugger, and I am so looking forward to having safe hugs again! I have discovered how to do virtual hugs, but it’s not the same. I love life, and I want to be an example of how fun life can be. I’m living for two now. My son is always with me—I live for the both of us.

“I love people, and I want to help them regain health and enjoy life with a positive attitude!” – Terri Ord, TOPS Retreat Director