Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals

To Be Announced  
Questions? Contact Us:
Lan To
Associate Director, Programs in Social Enterprise
+1 212-853-2387
[email protected]
Columbia University Campus
New York City 
Plan your stay
Alumni Benefits Granted Learn more.

Applications for the 2020 program are closed. 2021 program dates will be announced in the summer of 2020.

"This was the best educational experience I've had, bar none."
–  Program Participant Riel Peerblooms, Executive Director at Trail Blazer Camps

Meet Faculty Director Ray Horton and hear from past participants in this introductory video on the program.

Senior-level leaders in the nonprofit sector can sometimes feel isolated, unsure exactly how to create an effective peer network, and, perhaps most importantly, how to receive honest feedback on their vision and leadership.

The Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals provides an answer. A unique and transformative experience, the Senior Leaders Program is designed to help nonprofit leaders successfully develop their organization’s direction, policies, and programs — all while building an invaluable network of other nonprofit leaders.

This highly interactive 20-day program equips senior nonprofit professionals with strategic management and leadership skills. It is an opportunity for leaders who have mission-wide responsibility — people who are influencing the conversation about the organization’s future — to step back, see the big picture, and develop an actionable plan. They are afforded time to think strategically about how to deliver on their organization’s mission, both now and in the future.

Through intensive exercises, faculty interaction, executive coaching, and collaboration with diverse peers, the program creates a rich learning experience like no other. Participants learn to integrate theory and practice, giving them tools that are immediately applicable at their organizations.

The modular format — four one-week modules over four months — allows for real-time testing of ideas: roll them out over time, track progress, redefine the challenge, and discover the best solution.

Please Contact Us

Please contact Lan To, associate director of Programs in Social Enterprise, at +1 212-853-2387 or [email protected] if you have any questions about the program.


At the Senior Leaders Program, our participants are at the very center of the learning experience.

They will start the program with the organizational impact plan. During this process, participants select, clarify, and articulate an organizational challenge they are currently facing and learn how to apply concepts from the program to address it. Hear from the program director on how the organizational impact plan will help participants advance.

Next, they will receive a 360-degree leadership survey during which their peers, direct reports, and managers assess the participant's leadership style. This process enables participants to develop a rich picture of how they are seen, and provides them with the opportunity to enhance their managerial effectiveness. Participants will be coached twice during the program to develop a plan that is responsive to the feedback.

Finally, participants formulate their leadership credo, a unique opportunity to identify and hone their personal beliefs about leadership and how it relates to their organization’s mission and future.

Throughout the program, participants also learn from their executive cohort, benefitting from a peer group that provides different vantage points on their leadership challenges — all while building an invaluable network of nonprofit leaders.


Participants who complete the Senior Leaders Program receive a certificate that grants them select Columbia Business School alumni benefits, including:

  • A 25 percent tuition benefit for themselves and up to four colleagues each year for programs lasting up to seven days
  • Global Columbia Business School alumni networking opportunities
  • Access to Columbia Business School Alumni Career Services resources, including access to unique career content, a job board, an online networking platform, the alumni directory, and more. Download the full list of resources.
  • Lifetime Columbia Business School email address
  • Eligibility to join a Columbia Business School alumni club. View the alumni clubs list.


The program takes place in a modular format, with four one-week modules over the course of four months. The modular format allows for real-time testing of learnings and ideas. With the help of faculty and coaches, participants will be able to track their progress, redefine their challenges, and discover the best solutions for their organization.

Hear more about the modular program design from the program director:

For a complete program schedule download the agenda.


The Senior Leaders Program is designed for upper- and senior-level nonprofit professionals who are responsible for directing their organizations' mission, direction, and policies. Typically, participants include executive directors, deputy and regional directors, and other senior administrators.

Hear from Past Participants:

Participants of the program have come from the following organizations:

Bottom Line    Brooklyn Navy Yar    Center for Employment Opportunities
Children's Aid Society    City Harvest    DREAM
East Side House    Goddard Riverside Community Center    Good Shepherd Services
Graham Windham    Lenox Hill Neighborhood House    New Visions for Public School
Sunnyside Community Services    Uncommon Schools    Year Up
Youth Represent


Raymond Horton, Faculty Director
Frank R. Lautenberg Professor of Ethics and Corporate Governance
Bernstein Faculty Leader of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics
Faculty Director of the Programs in Social Enterprise

A lawyer and political scientist, Raymond Horton served as executive director of the Temporary Commission on City Finances during the New York City fiscal crisis for two years while on leave from Columbia Business School. He later served as director of research and president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a public advocate of responsible governance and financial management in New York City and New York State, for 15 years. Horton has also served on a number of private and nonprofit boards, including most recently the Municipal Advantage Fund, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and Community Resource Exchange.

The founder and long-time director of Columbia Business School’s Social Enterprise Program, Horton serves as faculty director of Programs in Social Enterprise in Executive Education. In addition to nonprofit management, he also teaches in the field of modern political economy. His writings include numerous books, articles, and reports about state and local finance and politics.

The Program's Faculty Bench

Hear from the program director about the faculty's interest in the nonprofit sector and how faculty and participants learn from each other during the program:

Along with Professor Horton, additional Columbia Business School and Columbia University faculty contribute to and teach in the program, including:

Daniel AmesDaniel Ames
Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Business


Joann BaneyJoann Baney
Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs


Adam GalinskyAdam Galinsky
Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics


Paul IngramPaul Ingram
Kravis Professor of Business


Damon PhillipsDamon Phillips
Lambert Family Professor of Social Enterprise


Valerie Purdie GreenawayValerie Purdie Greenaway
Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University


Medini R. SinghMedini Singh
Senior Lecturer in Discipline in Business


Dan WangDan Wang
David W. Zalaznick Associate Professor of Business



1. What is the timing of the admission process?
Please review the 2020 key dates and deadlines here. 2021 key dates and deadlines will be posted in the summer of 2020.

2. Where does the program take place?
The program takes place on the Columbia University campus in Manhattan, New York.

3. What is the program schedule?
The program runs one week per month across four months. The class schedule is Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

4. Are accommodations included?
Accommodations and travel expenses are not included in the cost of the program.

5. Is financial assistance available?
As a part of our commitment to the nonprofit sector, the Programs in Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School Executive Education offer three types of tuition assistance. Though tuition assistance is not guaranteed, we do our best to provide financial support whenever possible. Applicants can only receive one form of tuition assistance; they cannot be combined. Upon acceptance to the program, applicants will be notified of the amount of tuition assistance they are being awarded.

In addition to the full criteria listed on the 2020 PSE tuition assistance guidelines download, please note the following:

  • Applicants must be full-time employees of a nonprofit or social enterprise
  • Applicants must apply and be accepted into the program before tuition assistance is determined
  • Scholarships are allocated on a sliding scale, based on the need of the organization
  • Full scholarships are not available
  • Applicants can only receive one form of tuition assistance; they cannot be combined

Please review the complete 2020 PSE tuition assistance guidelines before requesting tuition assistance.

Please note: The 2021 PSE tuition assistance guidelines will be posted in the summer of 2020.

6. Who typically attends the program?
The program is designed for senior nonprofit leaders responsible for the mission and strategy of their organization.

7. How many people attend the program?
The program typically has between 40 and 50 participants.

8. Do I receive a certificate at the end of the program?
Everyone who successfully completes the program receives a certificate of completion and received alumni benefits commensurate with the Certificate in Business Excellence, granting select Columbia Business School alumni benefits upon successful completion of the program.

9. Where can I find more information?
Learn more about the program and get answers to commonly asked questions in this recorded information session:

10. I still have questions. How can I find help?
Please contact Lan To, associate director of Programs in Social Enterprise, at +1 212-853-2387 or [email protected] if you have any open questions.

* Program location and session times may vary. While the majority of our in-person programs run on campus, some programs may run off campus in New York City.