ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Chicago (YNPN Chicago) presents the Leadership Institute: the area's most affordable, select leadership training program for nonprofit professionals. Over a period of ten months, a cohort of up to 15 promising mid-career nonprofit professionals and managers learn from experienced facilitators, executive mentors, and each other. Through a syllabus rooted in skill building and reflective learning, the YNPN Chicago Leadership Institute develops future leaders for the Chicago nonprofit and public service sectors.
Begun in 2009 through a partnership between YNPN Chicago and the Executive Service Corps of Chicago (ESC), the Leadership Institute selects a cohort of up to 15 participants through a competitive application process. To date, seven cohorts of over 100 participants have graduated from the Institute. At least six alumni have gone on to become Executive Directors and many more have taken on enhanced leadership roles within their organizations.
The Leadership Institute is a 10-month intensive cohort program that runs from January through October. It begins with an orientation and concludes with a final capstone project. Features of the program include:
Eight monthly three-hour sessions with guided peer learning and activities that allow participants to apply what they have learned in the session
Guest presentations from local nonprofit leaders
Monthly one-on-one meetings with a mentor
Access to materials that enhance awareness of best practices and current trends in the nonprofit sector
Participants will graduate having skills and awareness that enable them to successfully lead teams, oversee projects, and contribute to overall organizational growth. The curriculum has two distinct focuses:
Self-reflection which enhances one’s ability to understand his or her own strengths and weaknesses, build more effective communication skills, and develop one’s own leadership style.
Skill building as related to nonprofit operations. This includes (but is not limited to) exercises to develop strategic planning skills, budget and finance best practices, and people management skills.
This program targets mid-level professionals (5-7 years experience) who currently have responsibilities that include managing people and a variety of projects. To be successful, participants should have the support of their current employers, which includes having time off to attend monthly sessions and having the opportunity to apply new skills in the workplace.
The program is open to all Chicago professionals who currently work in the nonprofit/social sector. YNPN Chicago membership is not a requirement to be eligible for Leadership Institute; however, preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate engagement with YNPN Chicago through membership and/or event attendance.
Participants are expected to attend all sessions and actively engage in group conversations, complete course assignments, and meet with their mentors on a monthly basis. Further, all participants are expected to contribute to the capstone project. This will entail working as a group to develop solutions for a local nonprofit organization who is experiencing challenges related to strategic growth and presenting those solutions at the final monthly session.
PROGRAM FEE & DATES
The 2020 Leadership Institute costs $375. This money is used to help cover the administrative expenses associated with the Institute.
All 2020 sessions are held on Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Participants are expected to attend all monthly sessions, which begin in January and go through October. 2020 Leadership Institute sessions will be held on 1/17, 2/7, 3/20, 4/17, 5/15, 6/19, 7/17, 8/21, 9/18, and 10/16.
Applications for the 2020 Leadership Institute have closed. Applications for the 2021 Leadership Institute will open in fall 2020.
Principal and Creative Director, Barkada Creative
As partner to nonprofits, Pon is passionate about creating their distinct brand using his depth of real-world experience in communication design, event marketing and storytelling. Part artist and part engineer, Pon fuses seemingly disparate concepts to spark bold, new ideas that can lead to meaningful transformation. He has served as Nonprofit SIG Director for the American Marketing Association, Marketing SIG Chair for the Association Forum and Program Chair for the Chicago Area Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association. Pon's unique approach is driven by his understanding for how principles and methods in science, business and the arts can converge for innovative problem solving. He has a BS Engineering Management, BFA Industrial Design and BFA Communication Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
EDNA M. TOGBA
Chief Development Officer, Chicago Sinfonietta
Edna M. Togba is the Chief Development Officer at Chicago Sinfonietta, the nation’s most diverse and innovative orchestra, where she manages fundraising efforts for the organization including grant writing, event planning, solicitations, and volunteer board oversight. She is passionate about cultivating the next generation of leaders while championing racial equality in the visual and performing arts. After receiving a B.A. from Wesleyan University (College of Letters), Edna held several positions in New York, including as a photography instructor. Later, in Paris, she worked as an English teacher and artist’s assistant. She then completed an M.A. in Art History at Northwestern University, focusing on Contemporary Black Art. Prior to joining Chicago Sinfonietta, Edna worked at The HistoryMakers in Chicago and Human Rights Watch in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She is delighted to be back in her hometown where she enjoys practicing photography, attending art exhibitions and performances, exploring the lake, and roller skating.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
The Leadership Institute is designed for emerging leaders who are currently working in the nonprofit/social sector with 5-7 years of professional experience. This program best fits individuals who have had experience managing projects and other people and who are looking to advance in the near future. To be successful, participants should have the support of their current employers, which includes having time off to attend monthly sessions and having the opportunity to apply new skills in the workplace.
WHAT BENEFITS DOES THIS PROGRAM BRING TO THE APPLICANT?
Applicants are not only introduced to a curriculum that focuses on building leadership skills, but they are also matched to a mentor that will provide one-on-one guidance. Furthermore, the Leadership Institute uses a cohort model that allows for meaningful relationships to develop among participants, facilitators, and the YNPN Chicago network. These networks remain in place long after the sessions have concluded.
HOW DOES THE MENTORSHIP PORTION OF LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE WORK?
Leadership Institute mentees are matched with a mentor who is in a leadership position at a local nonprofit. The relationship is driven by the mentee. The role of the mentor is to guide mentees to look at a wide variety of options and consider alternative courses of action in order to solve problems for themselves, rather than to give answers or provide solutions. Therefore, we try not to match mentees with mentors within the same sector. We ask that mentees meet with their mentor once per month and expect the mentee to work around the mentor’s schedule as much as possible.
WHAT BENEFITS WOULD THIS PROGRAM BRING TO AN APPLICANT'S EMPLOYER?
Whereas some leadership programs teach skills that are meant to be employed once individuals become part of the leadership team, YNPN Chicago’s leadership program focuses on teaching skills and creating awareness that can be used now (at mid-level career) and in the future. We anticipate participants gaining insight and skills that will immediately impact their work performance. Additionally, participants are often introduced to new tools and ideas that they take back to share with their teams.
WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PROGRAM?
YNPN Chicago’s Leadership Institute’s curriculum is both internally and externally focused. The majority of content focuses on self-awareness which enables participants to build upon their own leadership style, as well as develop skills that are crucial to communication, management and strategic planning. Participants will also gain access to tools that enable them to better understand the sector as a whole, as well as key facets of successful organizational operating strategies.
HOW MUCH OF A TIME COMMITMENT IS THIS PROGRAM?
The cohort meets together on a monthly basis from January through October 2020; each session is 3 hours. Additional time is required outside of monthly sessions in order to complete assignments, such as reading articles and keeping a journal. In addition, participants are expected to meet with their mentor on a monthly basis. However, the time and duration of those meetings are up to the discretion of the mentor and mentee.
WHERE AND WHEN ARE THE SESSIONS?
The sessions will be held in the Loop from 9:00 am to noon on Fridays of each month. Dates for the 2020 Leadership Institute are as follows: January 17, February 7, March 20, April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17, August 21, September 18, and October 16.
*due to COVID-19, sessions are being held virtually until further notice.
HOW MUCH DOES THE PROGRAM COST?
The cost for participants is $375. This cost includes a one year membership to YNPN Chicago. We are able to keep costs low (compared to other leadership programs) due to the generosity of community partners and with the help of grant support. We encourage participants to inquire about employee reimbursement related to professional development.
HOW BIG IS THIS PROGRAM?
The 2020 cohort will have between 12 and 15 participants.
Email with any additional questions.