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2024-2025 Curriculum

The 21st Century Leadership Symposium meets in person each month. Each meeting has a focus topic for discussion where members can gain new ideas, share best practices, and provide suggestions to others. Members will create plans of actions that they will take with them in the coming months and report out results at subsequent meetings. There will be time each month to raise urgent topics members want to discuss. The focus will be on connection, collaboration, and action.

Month 1

Getting Started

Introductions and setting of the norms and ground rules for the group. Overview of topics for the year and review of nonprofit lifecycles. Discussion of how values shape personal leadership style. First round deep dive on mapping the changing environment and its implications for navigating the path forward.

Month 1

Getting Started

Introductions and setting of the norms and ground rules for the group. Overview of topics for the year and review of nonprofit lifecycles. Discussion of how values shape personal leadership style. First round deep dive on mapping the changing environment and its implications for navigating the path forward.

Check on members’ strategic plan status and progress on implementing strategy. Includes how to engage everyone in the planning process. Explore the timing of strategic planning and reviewing outcomes.

Month 2

Setting Strategic Direction

Month 2

Setting Strategic Direction

Check on members’ strategic plan status and progress on implementing strategy. Includes how to engage everyone in the planning process. Explore the timing of strategic planning and reviewing outcomes.

Month 3

Check on members’ strategic plan status and progress on implementing strategy. Includes how to engage everyone in the planning process. Explore the timing of strategic planning and reviewing outcomes.

Program Excellence

 Your programs are the way you as leaders serve your constituency and create positive impact. We will review design, scope, and scale for programs to understand how to streamline processes.

Month 3

Program Excellence

 Your programs are the way you as leaders serve your constituency and create positive impact. We will review design, scope, and scale for programs to understand how to streamline processes.

Review of organization design principles so that structure supports mission delivery. Discussion of how form follows function. Includes a review of how decision rights are allocated. Special attention to organizational design in a post-pandemic world and the hybrid workplace.

Month 4

Getting Organizational Structure Right

Month 4

Getting Organizational Structure Right

Review of organization design principles so that structure supports mission delivery. Discussion of how form follows function. Includes a review of how decision rights are allocated. Special attention to organizational design in a post-pandemic world and the hybrid workplace.

Month 5

It’s All About the Team(s)

This month we look at people and how they work together. We will pay special attention creating a positive work culture, team development with its focus on membership, control, and goals.

Month 5

It’s All About the Team(s)

This month we look at people and how they work together. We will pay special attention creating a positive work culture, team development with its focus on membership, control, and goals.

Concentration on the dynamics between the Executive Director and their leadership team. This is a special application of team theory and how to get this executive group to be high performing. Getting this group aligned and collaborating is a key to success. This is not always as easy as it sounds.

Month 6

The ED and Your Leadership Team

Month 6

The ED and Your Leadership Team

Concentration on the dynamics between the Executive Director and their leadership team. This is a special application of team theory and how to get this executive group to be high performing. Getting this group aligned and collaborating is a key to success. This is not always as easy as it sounds.

Month 7

Working with Your Board Part 1

We will spend two sessions looking at the issue of governance and how to create a positive working relationship between the executive director and the board. This month we will look at the role of the board and different models of board functions from “kitchen table” boards to fully professionalized governance boards. We will review the duties of board members and compare notes on our experiences.

Month 7

Working with Your Board Part 1

We will spend two sessions looking at the issue of governance and how to create a positive working relationship between the executive director and the board. This month we will look at the role of the board and different models of board functions from “kitchen table” boards to fully professionalized governance boards. We will review the duties of board members and compare notes on our experiences.

This topic is usually reserved for planning for the change at the most senior levels. This month we will look at both succession planning and talent management at every level of the organization. From recruiting new board members to developing staff and managers for promotion, changes should not come as a surprise.

Month 8

Transitions and Succession Planning

Month 8

Transitions and Succession Planning

This topic is usually reserved for planning for the change at the most senior levels. This month we will look at both succession planning and talent management at every level of the organization. From recruiting new board members to developing staff and managers for promotion, changes should not come as a surprise.

Month 9

Working with Your Board Part 2

In this second session we will do a deep dive into the specific issues executive directors need to address. These may include building a working relationship with the board chair, board recruitment, committee structures, better board meetings, designing a board retreat, and the budget process.

Month 9

Working with Your Board Part 2

In this second session we will do a deep dive into the specific issues executive directors need to address. These may include building a working relationship with the board chair, board recruitment, committee structures, better board meetings, designing a board retreat, and the budget process.

Every nonprofit must generate financial resources to support the mission. Having a source of predictable income is essential to survival. Expanding those resources is needed for growth. This month we will look at the components of the financial model composed of earned and unearned income. We will explore community foundations and Donor Advised Funds. We will then explore the roles of board, staff, and executive leadership in creating a sustainable revenue stream.

Month 10

“Show Me the Money” or Let’s Build Our Resource Engine

Month 10

“Show Me the Money” or Let’s Build Our Resource Engine

Every nonprofit must generate financial resources to support the mission. Having a source of predictable income is essential to survival. Expanding those resources is needed for growth. This month we will look at the components of the financial model composed of earned and unearned income. We will explore community foundations and Donor Advised Funds. We will then explore the roles of board, staff, and executive leadership in creating a sustainable revenue stream.

Month 11

Establishing Strategic Alliances

Nonprofits partner with other organizations in many ways. This month we will look at how such arrangements can leverage resources to multiply impact. We will also explore the levels of commitment ranging from a joint mailing to an actual merger.

Month 11

Establishing Strategic Alliances

Nonprofits partner with other organizations in many ways. This month we will look at how such arrangements can leverage resources to multiply impact. We will also explore the levels of commitment ranging from a joint mailing to an actual merger.

We will dive into communication, social media with a focus on web sites and content delivery. Topics will include how to create “buzz” for your mission, strategic alliances, events, and how to navigate crisis management situations.

Month 12

Communication: Internal and External

Month 12

Communication: Internal and External

We will dive into communication, social media with a focus on web sites and content delivery. Topics will include how to create “buzz” for your mission, strategic alliances, events, and how to navigate crisis management situations.

Month 13

Closing It All Out

We close out this year’s study with a celebration of what has been accomplished in our individual organizations and what has been learned by each of us. What’s next in our journey of Exceptional Leadership.

Month 13

Closing It All Out

We close out this year’s study with a celebration of what has been accomplished in our individual organizations and what has been learned by each of us. What’s next in our journey of Exceptional Leadership.

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