Emerging Leaders FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Emerging Leaders?
Who can apply?
What is the specific timing and time commitment?
How much does it cost to participate in the program?
What do program logistics look like?
Who are the lead trainers and speakers and what are their backgrounds and credentials?
What sort of support do I need from my employer?
What do the program objectives entail? How specific are the session topics?
What is involved in the “stretch goal” described as part of the program?
How many people are in the program?
What are your selection criteria?
Will participants have access to new career opportunities? Are there any post-program expectations or goals?
Is the program open to people who are not currently working full-time in the nonprofit/public interest sector?
Am I eligible to apply if I may be moving outside the DC or NCY area and/or leaving my current job later in 2019?

Why Emerging Leaders?

The Emerging Leaders program helps rising professionals working in the nonprofit and public interest sectors grow into effective leaders and develop additional management skills faster and more sustainably than they can on their own. Participants can expect to put some of the learning and enhanced skills to use on the job immediately for near-term value to their teams, while some new knowledge and capabilities may be valuable over time, as job responsibilities and careers evolve.

Each monthly session explores a few related management topics and encourages participants to personalize their learning; participants develop their emotional intelligence and own work style while they are doing functional skill-building. With the support of peer to peer activities and conversations within the cohort, Emerging Leaders complete the program with a clearer, stronger sense of their own authentic leadership style and potential. Alumni of the program say they leave with greater confidence, a richer understanding of how to work with and lead others, and new capabilities for navigating the nonprofit sector and their careers.


Who Can Apply?

Applicants must have 3 to 10 years of full-time work experience, including at least two years in the nonprofit or public interest sector. They must also be currently employed full-time in the nonprofit or public interest sector in Greater DC or NYC and have some degree of people management responsibilities, including supervising staff, interns, vendors or volunteers and/or leading projects where they oversee the work of others. There is a fee of $30 to apply. Application fees are waived for alumni of the Princeton Project 55 Fellowship program. Alumni of any college or university are welcome to apply to Emerging Leaders.


What is the specific timing and time commitment? 

Applications will be accepted until March 12, 2019, and finalists will be interviewed and evaluated in April. Applicants will be notified about their acceptance into either the DC or NYC programs by early May. (Not every applicant is guaranteed an interview.) The Emerging Leaders Program will run for 8 full-day sessions over consecutive months from June 2019 through February 2020, skipping August to accommodate vacations. All sessions are on weekdays, 9 to 5pm at various metro-accessible locations. Participants will be required to attend sessions in-person. Lunch is always provided, and the final session culminates in an early evening event, to which colleagues and family members are invited.


How much does it cost to participate in the program?

Princeton AlumniCorps is underwriting the cost of the program in support of its goal of advancing nonprofit and public interest leadership. There is a sliding fee scale based on the size of your organization’s total operational budget. The fee can be paid by the participant or his/her employer. Similar programs cost up to $5,000. The fee scale is as follows:

  • Organizations with budgets over $10 million: $2500
  • Organizations with budgets between $5 and $10 million: $2000
  • Organizations with budgets between $3 million and $5 million: $1750
  • Organizations with budgets between $1 million and $3 million: $1500
  • Organizations with budgets under $1 million: $850


What workload and time commitment is expected?

Along with a modest amount of monthly reading (1 or 2 articles and a possible video) and participation in two assessment tools, participants are asked in some months to have a conversation with their assigned coaching partner, or with an EL alumni adviser (a one-time call), or with a work colleague to explore a particular topic. Each participant is also required to prepare a 3-minute presentation to practice in class. ELs design an above-and-beyond multi-month Stretch Project they will execute at work over the course of the program, to employ selected skills they choose to focus on. Their project gets incorporated into their job with the support of their manager.

Each Emerging Leader also receives a one-hour private session of individualized coaching provided by the program facilitator at a mutually agreed upon time. The facilitator is an experienced, certified leadership coach. The participant will choose the topic area(s) of the one-on-one session, often focusing on professional growth, job performance, work/life balance, or work relationships.


Who are the lead trainers and speakers and what are their backgrounds and credentials?

The lead facilitator and trainer in Washington, DC is Hilary Joel. Yael Sivi is the facilitator in New York. In addition to the lead facilitator’s role, specific modules involve accomplished guest speakers and trainers who are subject experts in specific areas (e.g., equity and inclusion, fundraising, presentation skills), as well as panel discussions with well-regarded Executive Directors and Board members from area nonprofits.


What sort of support is needed from my employer?

You need time off from work, guilt-free. 100% attendance at the weekday sessions is the expectation from participants. Employers are asked to be supportive in a few other ways, including participation by management and staff in an online 360-degree feedback survey of colleagues that the program will administer on behalf of each participant. Managers are also asked to support the scoping and implementation of a “Stretch Project.” Participants define a Stretch Project that is relevant to the organization and tailored to a specific professional development opportunity to reach above and beyond current job responsibilities. Upfront employer support as described here is formally requested as part of the application process


How detailed does the program get on specific topics like nonprofit financial management, supervising staff, and fundraising, for example?

The program prioritizes professional growth and breadth of knowledge over functional or tactical details. Some topics involve a specific functional skill like fundraising and some are broadly applicable like communications style and having difficult conversations. Since each 8-hour session addresses several related leadership and management topics, time limitations do not permit very detailed training in any one area.
Participants will be encouraged to begin tailoring and applying their learning in concrete ways that fit their current roles, where possible. Two tools that support this personalization are the assessments used at the start of the program: Myers-Briggs Psychological Type Profiles and an online 360-degree Feedback tool.
Each Emerging Leader also receives a one-hour session of individualized coaching provided by the program facilitator, who is an experienced, certified leadership coach. The participant chooses the topic area(s) for their deeper dive one-on-one session. They often focus on professional/career growth, job performance, work/life balance, or work relationships.


What is involved in the Stretch Project described as part of the program ?

The program aims to make the most of on-the-job opportunities to apply and enrich the classroom learning time. The required Stretch Projects, which involve responsibilities and skills that are beyond a participant’s comfort zone, offer such a targeted professional development opportunity. Stretch Projects need not be extremely time-consuming – the effort level and focus may vary substantially – but they should benefit the participant’s organization. Participants will be asked to outline the project objectives and report on their results and learning. Example Stretch Projects include the following:

  • Develop and manage the plan and budget for a particular project or event
  • Prepare and deliver several presentations to colleagues, donors, policy influencers or stakeholders (to practice presentation skills)
  • Develop and deliver new staff training, or design and foster the adoption of new operating procedures that improve organizational effectiveness
  • Plan and lead cross-functional working sessions focused on specific issues (to practice leading meetings and driving group decisions and collaboration)
  • Manage a collaborative project that involves at least one external partner organization (to practice influence without authority)


How many people are in the program?

We anticipate selecting up to 16 people for the New York program and up to 16 people for the Washington, DC program.


What are the applicant selection criteria?

The primary criteria to be used in selection include evidence of a strong interest and commitment to the nonprofit or public-interest sectors; a current job that includes some degree of people management responsibilities; indications that the applicant will be an enthusiastic learner and contributor within the peer group; evidence of a strong work ethic; professional maturity; and high personal standards for performance. The type, visibility, and size of one’s employer is not of major importance. Also, to the extent possible, we aim to select a cohort that includes diversity along a number of dimensions (e.g., gender, background, race, ethnicity, sub-sector, job function). In the interest of developing a diverse cohort, we generally accept only one applicant from an organization into the program and never accept more than two applicants per organization into the program in the same year; we seek to manage expectations accordingly. Finalists will be interviewed by phone or in person.


Will participants have access to specific new career opportunities that they might not otherwise find? Are there any post-program expectations or goals that participants are expected to pursue?

The Emerging Leaders program is designed to meet each participant where he or she is currently and help expand his or her skill set, sector knowledge, leadership capabilities, and professional network. Although participants will get exposure to local sector leaders and advisers, as well as develop deep relationships with each other, the program does not provide career counseling or employment leads and does not tailor the content to any particular employer’s job promotion criteria. AlumniCorps tracks participants’ career paths in the years following program participation and offers various opportunities to connect with Emerging Leaders alumni and other people and resources across the broader network of AlumniCorps. These include professional development brown bag lunches, day-long professional development “Booster Shots,” and other opportunities to engage and collaborate with nonprofit organizations and professionals.


Is the program open to people who are not currently working full-time in the nonprofit/public interest sector – e.g., graduate students who may volunteer at a nonprofit and/or employees of for-profit organizations that have a mission similar to that of a nonprofit but that are not 501c3s?

No. An important component of the professional development involves having a workplace where one can begin to apply the training and learning that happens in the classroom. Qualified applicants will have management responsibilities in a nonprofit or public-interest organization. If you have a full-time job that is “nonprofit-like,” you can explain that in your application and it will be factored into the decision. Full-time students are not a good fit for this program..


Am I eligible to apply if I may be moving outside the DC or NYC area and/or leaving my current job later in 2019?

Our intent is to choose applicants who are confident they can participate for the full duration of the program and will have a nonprofit job for that period, where they can apply their learning. We ask that you be candid about any anticipated changes in your location or work.