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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

New Guide Offers Five Actionable Strategies For Effective Leadership Development Programs

Schusterman Family Foundation and Rockwood Leadership Institute join forces to help fill a gap in the leadership and talent field

Press Release – WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 13 – The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Rockwood Leadership Institute today released a guide with recommendations and practical advice for organizations operating or investing in leadership development programs.

Despite the quantity and caliber of current leadership initiatives, little evaluation data has been shared regarding the strategies, curricula and points of emphasis that define successful programs. Based on insights from the Schusterman Family Foundation and Rockwood’s respective program evaluations, the Leadership Development Guide aims to help fill this gap and help organizations prepare more leaders to tackle the complex challenges facing our communities and our world.

“As we were developing and evaluating the Schusterman Fellowship, we realized there was little evaluation data available to guide our decision-making,” said Abby Saloma, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation’s Director of Leadership and Talent. “Our evaluations uncovered what has been working well and areas where we want to improve. We hope that by sharing our best practices, we will inform the work of others in the leadership and talent field.”

The guide was developed after each organization worked with Learning for Action, a research and evaluation firm, to assess their respective programs and identify the common elements that made both programs effective.

The Schusterman Fellowship’s evaluation found that 94 percent of Fellows reported being awarded more professional responsibilities after completing the Schusterman Fellowship, while 43 percent reported receiving promotions. Schusterman Fellows also noted positive shifts in many aspects of their leadership, including greater confidence and increased self-awareness. Rockwood’s evaluation showed that 98 percent of Fellows say they now deal more effectively with leadership challenges, while 90 percent report that Rockwood’s program had a transformative impact on their lives.

The Leadership Development Guide recommends actionable steps that professionals planning and executing leadership development programs can use to:

  • Set the stage for vulnerability
  • Focus on emotional intelligence
  • Be intentional about relationship-building;
  • Design the right coaching experience; and
  • Encourage sector and cross-sector collaboration.

The guide also includes recommendations for effective programmatic elements and real-life exercises organizations can use to help participants build their leadership capacity.

“The importance of leadership development has long been a topic of conversation in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, but it’s never been more crucial or more relevant than today,” said Darlene Nipper, CEO of Rockwood Leadership Institute. “The world needs leaders who are ready for the transformative work ahead, and this guide shows tried and true methods for making that happen effectively and joyfully.”

The Leadership Development Guide reflects Schusterman and Rockwood’s broader commitment to serve as learning partners for each other and other organizations working to develop diverse leaders equipped to create an impact on pressing civic, social and humanitarian issues.


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