This Fall, Emerging Leaders facilitators Yael Sivi (New York City) and Hilary Joel ’85 (Washington, DC) invited Emerging Leaders alumni in NYC and DC to attend brown bag lunch and learn sessions. The facilitators used these opportunities to host two-hour peer coaching labs. They circulated a leadership article in advance and used the reading as a starting point for discussion.
In New York City, participants read a First Round Review article entitled “The Most Dangerous Leadership Traps — and the 15-Minute Daily Practice That Will Save You” which outlines the work of Chris Holmberg, an executive coach and founder of Middle Path Consulting. The article contained nuggets from Holmberg such as:
Leaders who have never failed are fragile… They see the world divided between winners and losers, and they desperately want to avoid falling into that latter category, so they never try new things. When a manager empathizes with failure, they don’t point fingers or chastise anyone. Instead, they say, ‘I get it. Let’s talk about why this happened.’
The article offered an opportunity for lunch attendees to do some peer coaching. Yael reports that everyone had an impactful time. The Emerging Leaders alumni who attended are already looking forward to the next professional development session. One participant said, “I’m appreciative of you all for creating a safe and supportive space. It was well worth the two hours.” Another attendee echoed this sentiment: “Emerging Leaders was incredibly valuable for all of us, and to have the opportunity to re-immerse in the experience, even if only for a couple of hours, was excellent. I do think this is a wonderful way to sustain the growth and learnings of Emerging Leaders. Thank you for arranging this!”
Stay tuned for more information about future lunches!
The Emerging Leaders professional development program helps 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 employs experiential learning, speakers, peer coaching, and outside experts to weave together learning modules that include hard nonprofit skills, management training, leadership development, and facilitated peer support. Currently 32 young nonprofit professionals—16 in New York City (NYC) and 16 in Washington, DC (DC)— are participating in the program.
The first session kicked off in June 2017 with a debriefing of each person’s Myers-Briggs Type, an introduction to peer coaching, and a guest speaker on General Nonprofit Leadership Lessons. In DC, participants heard from guest speaker Judith Sandalow, Executive Director of The Children’s Law Center who, according to participant reviews, was “incredible” and shared “so much valuable and inspiring wisdom.” Another participant said Judith was a “great example of what I would like to be as a leader.” In NYC Margaret Crotty ’94, Emerging Leaders Program Leader spoke with “honesty and energy.”
In July, session two featured a Skillscope® 360° assessment feedback debriefing and ‘stretch work’ planning. DC participants heard from Khari Brown, Executive Director of Capital Partners for Education, and Mike McKinley, a local coach and consultant. Participants reported that Mike had “extremely useful anecdotes, quotes, and advice,” and that they enjoyed the self-reflection: “I don’t get much time or space for it at work.” In NYC David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement shared resources that participants say they plan to use immediately.
In September the Emerging Leaders reconvened for session three, where they discussed leadership competencies and management skills. In NYC participants heard from Daniel Oscar, CEO of the Center for Supportive Schools. He received rave reviews for offering “concrete tools and examples,” and “practical advice.” Other highlights of session three included feedback role-playing, and peer coaching, which participants in DC particularly enjoyed. They also found the guest speakers, Elizabeth Lindsey *07, Executive Director of ByteBack (and Emerging Leaders Program Leader), and Pyper Davis ’87, Executive Director of Educare DC to be “powerful” women who provided a “wealth of information and insights.” Elizabeth provided a list of managerial tips so valuable that one participant said she plans to put “every single one into practice immediately.”
In October, session four focused on team dynamics, workplace inclusion, and fundraising fundamentals. In DC Iris Jacob, Founder and Executive Director of Social Justice Synergy, led a conversation on implicit bias which resonated with many participants. AlumniCorps board member and nonprofit consultant Dick Walker ’73 joined with Paul Dahm, Executive Director of Brainfood, to talk about fundraising in DC, while Jethro Miller ’92, Chief Development Officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America addressed Emerging Leaders in NYC.
Stay tuned for an overview of the next four Emerging Leaders sessions!
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).
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.
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…”
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.
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.
Malena Attar is the Development Associate at Good Grief and a participant in this year’s Emerging Leaders program in New York. Good Grief’s mission is to provide unlimited and free support to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of a mother, father, sister, or brother through peer support programs, education, and advocacy. Malena’s role combines her passion for community engagement and the advocacy needed to ensure that no child ever has to grieve alone. This is an excerpt from the post she wrote for The Leading Edge, the AlumniCorps blog.
I had high expectations for my experience with the Emerging Leaders program, but I can honestly say that I had no idea how life-changing it would be.
Before our first session, we were asked to obtain feedback on our strengths. Only our strengths. Before our first day together, Emerging Leaders was al- ready sending us a message that would be made very clear: “You are already a leader. You already possess the unique strengths that you bring to the environments around you.” We have gotten this far because we already are leaders, we are just simply unaware of how to position ourselves so that we can best show our strengths and succeed.
The beauty of this program is that it meets once a month over the span of nine months. As we explored forms of communication, leadership styles, managing up, networking, fundraising, and public speaking, we always looped back to what kind of leader we were. It is a lot of work to undo the notion that a leader speaks, leads, works, looks a specific way. As each of the leaders in the program slowly emerged into their better-defined selves, everyone benefited. Everyone in the program shared the struggles, rethinking, perseverance, and successes of each peer. In learning to work with our varied professional teams, we were evolving into our own diverse and powerful team.
This would have been impossible without the exceptional work of the AlumniCorps staff and board, and most importantly of our facilitator, Yael Sivi. We all knew Yael would be encouraging us to stretch further than we thought we could, and that we would grow. We did. The announcement of a number of promotions, new opportunities, and workplace improvements filled the air as we met each month.
I am so grateful for this opportunity, for Princeton AlumniCorps, and for our facilitator Yael. In being accepted into this program, each leader started on a journey they didn’t know was possible. A journey with a network of hundreds of accomplished professionals, a wealth of knowledge, a family of peers that will continue to grow alongside us, and as the leaders we didn’t realize we could be.
Why did you join the Princeton AlumniCorps community and the Emerging Leaders program? We posed that question to Scott Welfel ’06, a Staff Attorney at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and 2014-15 Emerging Leader.
I applied to Emerging Leaders because I wanted to learn how to play a more active role in the operation, organization, and direction of my organization even from my current role as staff attorney, to position myself to become one of the leaders in prisoner reentry policy in New Jersey, and to improve my ability to effectively and efficiently manage my direct reports. I was inspired by the example of Emerging Leaders alumni, such as Shena Elrington, who have risen to become incredibly effective leaders in their organizations and their respective fields.
I have learned an enormous amount from my colleagues – the other Emerging Leaders currently in the program. It is really inspiring to be connected with such passionate, driven advocates for social justice, and to learn different management techniques from their collective experience and wisdom. Additionally, Yael Sivi, Program Facilitator for New York, is hands-down a master teacher. Her knowledge of what makes us and others tick, and how to harness that knowledge to realize the full potential of our organizations, is absolutely unparalleled. If given the option of choosing one person to send to end the gridlock in Washington, I would send Yael.
The skills and tools I am learning at Emerging Leaders are particularly crucial in the social justice sphere of legal advocacy, where organizations are dependent on law student interns. Effective and efficient management of interns is particularly difficult given the transient and unpaid nature of their positions. Through mastering the skill of effective management, I hope to markedly increase the capacity and productivity of the Institute for Social Justice as well as any organizations I land at in the future.
I support AlumniCorps because I believe effective leadership, and the level of self-reflection that is required for effective leadership, must be taught. No other organization currently offers this level of high-caliber professional development for leaders in the public interest sector.