Emerging Leaders Learn from Seasoned Nonprofit Professionals

The AlumniCorps Emerging Leaders program transforms talented nonprofit professionals into the next generation of public interest leaders. The program meets the critical need for highly skilled leadership in the nonprofit sector.

According to The Bridgespan Group, surveys consistently show that nonprofit organizations are acutely aware of their leadership development gaps, but unsure about how to address them. The Emerging Leaders program was conceptualized to address this public sector issue. The program runs for a total of eight full-day, monthly sessions from June-February (skipping August), and is made possible by a lead grant from American Express.

One of the hallmarks of the Emerging Leaders (EL) program is the high caliber of guest speakers that engage and educate participants.

New York City:

  • In November 2016, Jezra Kaye, President of Speak Up for Success coached participants on presentation skill-building and practice.
  • In December 2016, Rainah Berlowitz ’97, Director of Operations at Education Through Music, spoke about Nonprofit Financial Management & Reporting. AlumniCorps Executive Director Andrew Nurkin also spoke about Inter-Organizational Collaboration.
  • In January 2017, participants heard AlumniCorps Board Chair Liz Duffy ’88, President of International Schools Services, and Peter Daneker ’95, Board Vice Chairman of Harlem RBI, speak about Embracing Board/Staff and Executive Director/Chair Roles and Relationships.

Washington, DC:

  • In November Amber Romine, an executive coach and leadership development consultant, coached participants on presentation skill-building and practice.
  • In December Amy Nakamoto, Program Officer at the Meyer Foundation, spoke about Executive Perspectives on Nonprofit Financial Management. Amy has spent her career working in education, nonprofits, fundraising, and youth development.
  • In January, James Siegal, President of KaBOOM, joined Alex Moore, DC Central Kitchen’s Director of Development and Communications to speak about Inter-organizational Collaboration.
Applications are due Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Learn more and apply online here.

2016-17 Emerging Leaders Update: 3 Sessions down, 5 more to go!

Emerging Leaders session 3. DC

The Emerging Leaders professional development program is designed to help aspiring leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors develop the leadership capabilities, management skills, and confidence to advance their professional contributions and accelerate their careers. The program is intended to yield tangible, near-term value to participants (and their employers) and support their longer term leadership development. Emerging Leaders is currently offered in New York City and Washington, DC. The program is designed to accommodate those with full-time jobs and requires employer cooperation as well. The program runs for a total of 8 full-day, monthly sessions from June 2016-February 2017 (skipping August).

EL in DC, session3
Emerging Leaders in Washington, DC during session 3 on September 13

This year’s sessions kicked off on June 23 in NYC and Washington, DC. Both sessions focused on the 32 participants’ understanding their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) profile and its implications. In NYC, participants used the tool to reflect on their strengths, with a few discovering that their professional weaknesses don’t have to be a “source of shame.” Leaders also appreciated the peer coaching process, which helped them to define their emotional intelligence. Yael Sivi, the facilitator in NYC, used personal examples and learnings from her time as a therapist, while Executive Director of Partnership with Children, Margaret Crotty’s talk on Leadership Lessons left participants wishing that they had even more time with her.

Elizabeth Lindsey
Volunteer Program Co-Leader Elizabeth Lindsey, ED of Byte Back  was a guest speaker at session 3 in Washington, DC

In Washington, DC, Judith Sandalow, Executive Director of The Children’s Law Center, gave a talk on Leadership Lessons which provided concrete examples from the real world. Facilitator Hilary Joel explained that the MBTI assessment allows you to understand your own preferences, which positions you to practice adapting and expand your comfort zone.

Session 2, held on July 19 in both NYC and Washington DC, focused on 360 degree feedback reports. In NYC, guest speakers Daniel Oscar, Executive Director, Center for Supportive Schools, and Shena Elrington ’04, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice Policy at the Center for Popular Democracy spoke about evolving and growing as a leader. Participants reported enjoying the process and the community of people they’re sharing it with. In DC George Jones, CEO of Bread for the City, discussed evolving and growing as a leader, while Hilary coached participants on receiving feedback constructively: “We forget our power of choice: which feedback to accept, discard, appreciate, explore…”

Emerging Leaders session 3. DC
Emerging leaders engaged in peer coaching during session 3 in Washington. DC.

Session 3 on September 13 could be called “Peer work day,” as participants spent a lot of time peer coaching each other on their stretch goals. They also discussed the difference between leading and managing, concluding that the best leaders are also effective managers, and top managers demonstrate good leadership. In Washington, DC, Pyper Davis, Executive Director of Educare DC, and Elizabeth Lindsey, Executive Director of Byte Back, spoke about managing people and delegating effectively. In NYC, David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement spoke about management 101. There was lively discussion around how to give feedback effectively, with an emphasis on creating a safe climate in the work place. 

Want to get a sneak peak of the Emerging Leaders’ reading packet? Check out The New Science of Building Great Teams  by Alex “Sandy” Pentland.

To learn more about this year’s Emerging Leaders, check out the Leader’s Digest

2016-17 Emerging Leaders

New York

Annabel Barnes, Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Jesse Bassett, Good Grief, Inc.
Emmeline Cardozo, Girls Who Code
Jade Dean, Uncommon Schools
Alison Fedyna, Center for Supportive Schools
Rebecca Kaufman ’11, Amplifier
Connie Lewin ’05, Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)
Sonal Nadiadhara, iMentor
Benjamin Slaughter, Play Rugby USA
Rachel Steinberg, U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Alvin Taylor, Northwestern University
Chideraa Ukeje ’13, New York Academy of Medicine
Kailtin Vallas, DonorsChoose.org
Travis Walls, Harlem RBI
Kristina Whyte, The Wallace Foundation
Dana Zarrello, International Schools Services

Washington, DC

Amy Bachman, DC Central Kitchen
Robert Crosby, III, Flamboyan Foundation
Julia Eddy, Bread for the City
Dania DePas, Physicians Committee
Sally Dorman, KaBOOM!
Katharine Lindquist, LIFT
Jazmin Lopez, Achieving the Dream
Allison Majewski, Capital Area Food Bank
Amponsah Nkansah, AppleTree
Amy Ostrander *11, PCI
Amber Petty ’14, EveryoneOn
Elizabeth Ramey *13, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Keisha Pierce, AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School
Rebecca Reingold, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
Maia Wagner, PYXERA Global
Claudia Williams Soberanes, Washington Area Women’s Foundation

The Impact of the Emerging Leaders Program

What is the impact of the Emerging Leaders program?

Princeton AlumniCorps, through the Project 55 Fellowship, Emerging Leaders, and ARC Innovators programs, provides ways for people to engage at every age. Here are just a few of the many experiences this year’s Emerging Leaders shared in their year-end evaluations.

This program is such a unique opportunity. I haven’t seen other spaces offering this level of support for people in this stage of their careers. I learned a lot about myself which in turn helped me understand myself as a colleague, supervisee, and leader. I learned so much in this program and I feel like I’ll continue to unpack information or have things “click” months from now.

Emerging Leaders is an outstanding program and I would definitely recommend it for nonprofit managers who have a direct-reports and are in clear leadership positions.

I would tell prospective Emerging Leaders that they are about to embark on a life-changing journey in which they will look deeply inward and learn that they possess the qualities to become a successful leader.

I so appreciated the investment in time and space for me to view my work and my organization more objectively.

I loved this program, and feel very fortunate that I had the chance to participate and to meet this amazing community.

In the back of my mind I had always assumed that the people who were the most knowledgeable and technically skilled in a particular field were the best leaders. I no longer think that. This course was key in helping me to recognize the value of emotional and social intelligence, vision, and empathy – skills which I had undervalued in myself and now take pride in and hope to cultivate further.

Great program. I can’t thank you all enough!

Hilary is amazing!

Yael is amazing!

Emerging Leaders Closing Celebrations in New York and Washington, DC

On February 18 and 25, members of the Princeton AlumniCorps community, along with friends and colleagues, gathered in Washington, DC, and New York City to celebrate the newly-graduated cohort of Emerging Leaders. This year’s thirty-two program graduates represent a range of nonprofit organizations addressing issues from educational equity to environmental justice locally, nationally, and internationally. As Program Leader Margaret Crotty ’94 noted at the New York closing, “Emerging Leaders fills an important gap in the nonprofit sector by helping very talented young nonprofit managers grow into confident, skillful, and resilient leaders with more support, tools, and practical knowledge than is available on the job, and with access to insights and connections they couldn’t easily reach.”

The receptions marked the completion of the program’s fifth year. In June 2015, the 2015-16 cohort began meeting for monthly sessions to engage with a curriculum that pushed their understanding of leadership. Through skill-based activities, mentorship, and discussions with subject experts, participants were coached in nonprofit finance, public speaking, fundraising, and board relations and governance. For other topics, such as emotional intelligence, team dynamics, and self-awareness, participants were encouraged to engage with their peers through individual and group coaching, monthly readings, and stretch goals. Emerging Leaders are guided through the custom-designed curriculum by facilitators Hilary Joel ’85 in Washington and Yael Sivi in New York.

Like other AlumniCorps programs, Emerging Leaders builds the capacity of individuals and the organizations they serve to tackle pressing systemic challenges. During the celebrations guests heard directly from Emerging Leaders about the impact of the program on their careers and organizations. Testimonials emphasized the power of peer coaching, the guided application of new skills through stretch projects, and the importance of learning from guest speakers who have spent their lives working to address public issues. Emerging Leader Jimmy Kelly, who directs the PrepNext program at DC Prep, summarized the value of the program in this way: “Emerging Leaders elevates the brilliance of everyone in the room.”

For more photos from the closing celebrations, visit the AlumniCorps Facebook page.

Emerging Leaders is made possible by a lead grant from American Express, the Harris Finch Foundation, and generous individual donations. We are grateful to Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman CPAs, Covington & Burling LLP, Margaret Crotty and Rory Riggs, and Locus Analytics for sponsoring and hosting this year’s closing celebrations.

Emerging Leaders Spotlight: May Mark

May Mark (3)“Emerging Leaders gave me the opportunity to take a step back from my day-to-day work on the ground and have space to really think about who I am and who I want to be. Emerging Leaders developed my skills as a visionary leader.”

As the Program Manager at New Leaders, a nonprofit that provides leadership training and resources to public school leaders, May Mark successfully completed the Emerging Leaders program in NYC last year. She has recently moved to Oakland, CA to begin work at a global education technology startup, One University Network.

Originally from the New York City area, May Mark found herself back there after graduating from Brown University in 2008. She began working at New Leaders, a nonprofit in ten cities throughout the U.S aimed at providing resources and training to promising principals and assistant principals for public schools in low-income and under-resourced areas. most recently, May was the Program Manager for the flagship Aspiring Principals Program, where she coordinated the operation of the program running in multiple cities. May skillfully balanced program fidelity and flexibility to ensure success for the school leaders and ultimately students.

At this point in her career, Andrew Protain ’08, a childhood friend and recent Emerging Leader, referred may to the Emerging Leaders program. “There are not a lot of resources for folks in the nonprofit space. Emerging Leaders provided an opportunity for young professionals passionate about their work in NYC to enter into a community. It helped to see the whole web of nonprofit work happening in the city,” said May.

It was this community built among her Emerging Leaders cohort that May found so valuable. They acted as each other’s accountability partners and soundboards. The program’s use of peer coaching was particularly helpful to practice hard conversations that pushed May’s professional growth and to hear feedback. “After Emerging Leaders, coworkers at my job commented that they could see my growth as a leader. I already had the content knowledge, but my confidence in my skills and leadership capability really grew,” said May. The program requires support from both the participants and the nonprofits they represent. May reflects that her experience was amplified by how much support she received from New Leaders and its time and financial commitment to her personal development.

Under the Emerging Leader programming, May also undertook a “stretch project” of creating an online community on social media for 15 years of alumni and staff involved with the Aspiring Principals Program at New Leaders. The online community has a current membership of over 500 members, which surpassed the original goal by 75 percent.

Although May is no longer with her nonprofit in NYC, there is a sense of fulfillment in knowing that the people she served have a tool and vehicle to continue to work together past her involvement; her project for Emerging Leaders left a legacy in connecting and engaging program alumni at New Leaders.

May continues to utilize the skills and confidence she developed through Emerging Leaders at her new role as Project Manager at One University Network based in Oakland, CA. One University Network partners with universities and employers to enable college curriculum on mobile devices, opening opportunities for students in other countries to earn college credentials and degrees at their own pace and with affordable fees. Moving from a national nonprofit to a global education technology startup poses a new set of challenges, but the goal of providing access to high-quality education remains the same. May is confident that the skills and relationships she has built in the Emerging Leaders program will continue to help her grow professionally.