Developing Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals

People devoted to working in the nonprofit sector often require specialized professional knowledge and skills, but may not have received training in leadership and management. Managers, in particular, are in the unique position of overseeing others while also answering to their organization’s leadership.

The intensive, one-week, modular Developing Leaders Program addresses both of these challenges. The program prepares high-potential nonprofit managers to support their organization’s mission by exposing them to key management concepts and providing tools to better navigate their position within the organization.

Date: November 14-18, 2022 (in-person)*

In-person daily: 10 AM – 5 PM. *Subject to COVID protocols.
View the agenda →**
Read the latest Covid-related protocols at Columbia Business School →

Admission Deadline: September 1, 2022
Please have an updated resume, a personal statement as to why you would like to attend this program at this time in your career, and your organization’s 990 form ready to upload to the application.
Additional Info: Certificate Credits: 6 (learn more)
Tuition assistance may be available. 

*2022 program dates are subject to change.
*2022 program agenda is subject to change.

Contact Gwen Shufro ’06, director, at [email protected].

"The program provided much-needed awareness and supported me with evidence-based frameworks and tools to directly apply my knowledge. The caliber of each presenter far exceeded my expectations and I am grateful for how available and open each faculty member was even after their session. The greatest value is the community of professionals in the nonprofit space that I had the honor to learn from."
–  Past Participant Saskia Op den Bosch, Assistant Director at SEO Scholars

The program offers formal training in fundamental elements of strategic management and covers such critical skills as the planning and implementing of organizational change, negotiating effectively, and increasing one’s self-awareness.

Through dynamic lectures, hands-on exercises, small-group work, one-on-one executive coaching, 360-degree leadership feedback, and peer discussions, participants integrate management fundamentals with real-world applications.

The peer network created during the Developing Leaders Program becomes an invaluable source of continued support in the nonprofit sector.

By the time participants have completed the program, they will have a greater awareness of their leadership and management style, as well as additional skills that all rising talent need to succeed.

During the program, participants will learn how to:

  • Balance leader and manager roles and responsibilities
  • Use mission and vision to set strategic program and departmental priorities and make change actually happen
  • Develop skills and methods for effective delegation and performance management
  • Understand and recognize leadership and communication styles of oneself and others
  • Manage the mission under fiscal constraints
  • Build effective marketing programs for generating public awareness and support
  • Acquire essential skills for negotiating and conflict resolution
  • Become more self-aware of one's managerial style, en route to becoming a more effective leader

Upon completion of this program, you will earn six credits towards a certificate with select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.

Participants in the Developing Leaders Program are exposed to the fundamentals of strategic management that they can immediately put into practice. Learning is reinforced through lectures, discussions, and small-group work.

Sample sessions include:

  • Making Change Happen
  • Self-Management and Leadership
  • Groups and Diversity
  • Negotiation in the Workplace

These sessions are complemented by integral assessments and tools such as individual executive coaching sessions, a change implementation survey, and 360-degree leadership feedback.

360 Degree Feedback
One source of learning during the program is the multi-rater assessment, also known as 360-degree feedback. Before the program, participants, as well as their peers, direct reports, and managers, will 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 during the program to develop a plan that is responsive to the feedback.

Hear more about the 360-degree leadership feedback from the faculty director:

For a complete program schedule, download the agenda.

Created for rising leaders in nonprofit organizations, this program prepares managers to support their organization's overarching goals. Participants learn the fundamentals of strategic management, including using financial data for decision making, understanding conflict management and negotiations, and leading change.

Hear From Past Participants:

Typical Participant Mix

Participants of the program have come from the following organizations:

Bottom Line     Brooklyn Navy Yard     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

Joel Brockner, Faculty Director
Phillip Hettleman Professor of Business

Joel Brockner is a leading authority on a variety of psychological issues in the workplace, including change management, leadership, decision-making, the role of the self, and cross-cultural differences in work behavior. He has consulted about the planning and implementation of significant organizational change, leadership development, and decision making with such organizations as the Association of Art Museum Curators, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips, Eastman Kodak, IXIS Capital Markets, MBNA, Pfizer, State Farm Insurance, Southern New England Telephone, and Stratus Technologies.

Brockner?s book publications cover decision making in "sunk cost" situations, causes and consequences of employees? self esteem, and the role of justice in the workplace. He has published more than 100 articles and book chapters in a variety of prestigious outlets, including Harvard Business Review and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. He has served on the editorial board of numerous management and psychology journals including the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Brockner is a fellow of the Academy of Management and of the American Psychological Association (Division of Industrial and Organizational Psychology). He served as the chairman of the management division from 2005 to 2011 at Columbia Business School.

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

Mabel AbrahamMabel Abraham
Assistant Professor

Robert N. BontempoRobert N. Bontempo
Adjunct Professor of Business

Caryn BlockCaryn Block
Professor of Psychology and Education

Sarah J. Brazaitis
Associate Professor of Practice, Teachers College, Columbia University

William DugganWilliam Duggan
Senior Lecturer in Business

Sheena S. IyengarSheena S. Iyengar
S. T. Lee Professor of Business

Michel Tuan PhamMichel Tuan Pham
Kravis Professor of Business

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

1. What is the timing of the admission process?
Applications are reviewed the week following the application due date. Admission and scholarship decisions will be made to curate this year’s cohort, and decision notifications will be sent to all participants via email.

2. What is the program schedule?
The program runs in a one week in-person modular format. In addition, there will be a one-on-coaching session for each participant. Please view the full schedule here.

3. Is financial assistance available?
As 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 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 tuition assistance guidelines before requesting tuition assistance.

4. Who typically attends the program?
The program is designed for high-potential nonprofit leaders who, with additional training and experience, will assume greater responsibility and more senior roles.

5. How many people attend the program?
The program typically has between 80 and 100 participants.

6. Do you accept non-US applicants?
We welcome applicants from around the world. Applicants should be sufficiently proficient in English both verbally and in writing at a graduate-school level.

7. Do I receive a certificate at the end of the program?
Everyone who successfully completes the program receives a certificate of completion. They will also gain six days toward their Certificate in Business Excellence, granting various Columbia Business School alumni benefits.

8. I still have questions. How can I find help?
Contact Gwen Shufro ’06, director, at [email protected].

We are grateful for the support of our foundation partners:

Booth Ferris Foundation
Centerbridge Foundation
Clark Foundation
Columbia Community Service
Miami Foundation
Tiger Foundation
Tote Board
Robin Hood Foundation
Pinkerton Foundation
Nonprofit New York Excellence Awards
Real Time Grantmaking Award