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 2017?

Why Emerging Leaders?

The Emerging Leaders program helps professionals working in the nonprofit and public interest sectors develop their leadership and management skills, as well as broaden their knowledge of the sector. Participants can expect to put some of the learning and enhanced skills to use on your job immediately for near-term value, while some skills may be applied as your job responsibilities and career evolve.

For some specialized topics, such as nonprofit financial reporting, presentation skills, and fundraising fundamentals, subject experts will provide a couple of hours of focused training at one of the sessions. For other topics that relate to emotional intelligence and team dynamics, for example, presentation and best practices will be combined with experiential learning and peer group collaboration. The program also requires that each participant arrange several networking and learning conversations with advisers provided by Princeton AlumniCorps. Advisers consist of both Emerging Leaders alumni and established non-profit professionals. Each participant is also required to define on an above-and-beyond stretch goal at work, to expand your skills in an underdeveloped area. The program will provide support to set you up for a successful, positive experience with both advising and the stretch goal. By presenting their learning and results to peers, participants will hone their presentation skills through practice.

In addition to peer coaching, each Emerging Leader will receive a one-hour session of individualized coaching provided by the program facilitator, who is an experienced, certified leadership coach. The participant will choose the focus area of the one-on-one session, to be scheduled during the program, and will work with the program facilitator to find a mutually agreeable time to conduct the session by phone. The coaching will center on a couple of timely issues that the Emerging Leader selects related to his/her professional growth, job performance, work/life balance, or work relationships.


Who Can Apply?

Alumni of any college or university are welcome to apply to Emerging Leaders. Participants must have 2 to 8 years of full-time work experience, including at least one in the nonprofit or public interest sector. They must also be currently employed in the nonprofit or public interest sector and have some degree of management responsibilities, including supervising staff, vendors or volunteers and/or leading projects where they coordinate and 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.


What is the specific timing and time commitment? 

Applications will be accepted until March 12, 2018, 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 2018  through February 2019, skipping August to accommodate vacations. All sessions are on weekdays.


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 up to $1 million: $750

•  Organizations with budgets between $1 million and $5 million: $1000

•  Organizations with budgets greater than $5 million:  $1250


What do program logistics look like?

Emerging Leaders sessions take place each month in both New York City and Washington, DC. All session locations will be Metro accessible, although locations may vary. Participants will be required to attend sessions in-person.

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

The lead facilitator and trainer in Washington, D.C. is Hilary Weston Joel. In addition to Hilary’s role, specific modules will be led by accomplished guest speakers and experienced trainers who are subject experts in specific areas (e.g., fundraising, nonprofit financials), and there will be occasional panel discussions with well-regarded Executive Directors and Board members from area nonprofits and other executives.  Yael Sivi is the facilitator in New York.


What sort of support is needed from my employer?

100% attendance is the expectation for 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 goal.” Participants define a stretch goal that is relevant to the organization and tailored to a specific development opportunity to reach above and beyond current job responsibilities. Upfront employer support as described here is requested as part of the application process.


What do the program objectives entail? How specific does it get on topics like nonprofit financial management and fundraising, for example?

The curriculum for the program draws from the on-the-job lessons learned and the success factors that are generally encountered by mid- and top-level nonprofit managers and executives. Participants will be challenged to begin tailoring and applying their learning in concrete ways that fit their current roles and their organizations. Sessions will employ a combination of presentations, experiential exercises, peer discussion, expert speakers and panel discussions with accomplished leaders. Each session will address several of the following curriculum topics. Time limitations do not permit extensive, detailed training in any one area.

  • Leadership Competencies and Leadership Styles (personal attributes and interpersonal skills)
  • Supervising Staff
  • Internal Communications (e.g., giving and receiving feedback, managing up, running effective meetings)
  • External Communications (e.g., outreach, relationship-building, influencing)
  • Effective Decision-Making (tools and methods for individuals and group use)
  • Board/Staff Relations and Roles
  • Nonprofit Financial Management and Budgeting Fundamentals
  • Collaboration Across Organizations (when, why, how, how much)
  • Fundraising Insights and Best Practices (making the ask)
  • Outcomes Measurement
  • Presentation Skills
  • Project Planning and Management
  • Cultural Competency and Inclusive Leadership
  • Team Dynamics and High Performing Teams
  • Assessment tools to be used include: Myers-Briggs Psychological Type Profiles, 360-degree Feedback Surveys


What is involved in the “stretch goal” 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. Stretch goals that involve responsibilities and skills that are beyond a participant’s comfort zone offer such a development opportunity. And since each individual defines his or her own goal, it can be tailored to a specific development priority. Working toward stretch goals 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 goals include the following:

  • Develop and manage the plan and budget for a particular initiative, project or event
  • Prepare and deliver several presentations to colleagues, donors, policy influencers or stakeholders (to practice presentation skills or public speaking)
  • Mentor/train a colleague or direct report(s) in specific skills or responsibilities (to practice developing others and delegating as a supervisor)
  • Develop/deliver staff training or operating procedures that improve organizational effectiveness
  • Plan and lead a series of staff working sessions focused on specific organizational issues or decisions (to practice leading meetings and driving group decisions and plans)
  • Plan and manage a collaborative project that involves at least one other partner organization
  • Conduct a small research effort on a specific opportunity or idea – e.g., benchmark how other organizations approach the same goal in terms of costs, methods, outcomes; conduct a stakeholder survey/interview project


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 your 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 management responsibilities, including direct staff supervision; 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, industry, 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; 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, the program does not provide career counseling or employment leads and does not tailor the content to any particular employer’s promotion criteria. AlumniCorps plans to track participants career paths in the years following program participation.


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?

An important component of the professional development involves having a workplace where one can apply the training and learning that happens in the classroom. Specifically, the ideal applicants will have management responsibilities in a nonprofit or public-interest organization. If you have a 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 2018?

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.