Senior-level leaders in the nonprofit sector can sometimes feel isolated, unsure exactly how to create an effective peer network, and, perhaps most importantly, how to receive honest feedback on their vision and leadership.
The Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals provides an answer. A unique and transformative experience, the Senior Leaders Program is designed to help nonprofit leaders successfully develop their organization’s direction, policies, and programs — all while building an invaluable network of other nonprofit leaders.
Applications will open soon!
Date and Format:
February 10–April 29, 2022*
Three week modules over three months.
Module 1: February 13–17, 2023
Module 2: March 13–17, 2023
Module 3: April 17–21, 2023
Read the latest Covid-related protocols at Columbia Business School →
Friday, October 21, 2022
Please have an updated resume, a personal statement as to why you would like to attend this program at this time in your career, and your organization’s 990 form ready to upload to the application.
*2023 program dates are subject to change.
This highly interactive 20-day program equips senior nonprofit professionals with strategic management and leadership skills. It is an opportunity for leaders who have mission-wide responsibility — people who are influencing the conversation about the organization’s future — to step back, see the big picture, and develop an actionable plan. They are afforded time to think strategically about how to deliver on their organization’s mission, both now and in the future.
Through intensive exercises, faculty interaction, executive coaching, and collaboration with a diverse group of senior-level peers, the program creates a rich learning experience like no other for nonprofit executives and senior leaders. Participants learn to integrate theory and practice, giving them tools that are immediately applicable at their organizations.
The modular format — four one-week modules over four months — allows for real-time testing of ideas: roll them out over time, track progress, redefine the challenge, and discover the best solution.
At the Senior Leaders Program, our participants are at the very center of the learning experience.
They will start the program with the organizational impact plan. During this process, participants select, clarify, and articulate an organizational challenge they are currently facing and learn how to apply concepts from the program to address it. Hear from the program director on how the organizational impact plan will help participants advance.
Next, they will receive a 360-degree leadership survey during which their peers, direct reports, and managers assess the participant's leadership style. This process enables participants to develop a rich picture of how they are seen, and provides them with the opportunity to enhance their managerial effectiveness. Participants will receive executive coaching during the program to develop a plan that is responsive to their 360-degree feedback.
Finally, participants formulate their leadership credo, a unique opportunity to identify and hone their personal beliefs about leadership and how it relates to their organization’s mission and future.
Throughout the program, participants also learn from their executive cohort, benefitting from an impressive peer group of seasoned professionals who are able to provide different vantage points on their leadership challenges — all while building an invaluable network of nonprofit leaders.
Participants who complete the Senior Leaders Program receive a certificate that grants them select Columbia Business School alumni benefits, including:
- A 25 percent tuition benefit for themselves and up to four colleagues each year for programs lasting up to seven days
- Global Columbia Business School alumni networking opportunities
- Access to Columbia Business School Alumni Career Services resources, including access to unique career content, a job board, an online networking platform, the alumni directory, and more. Download the full list of resources.
- A lifetime Columbia Business School forwarding email address
- Eligibility to join a Columbia Business School alumni club. View the alumni clubs list.
The program takes place in a modular format, with four one-week modules over the course of four months. The modular format allows for real-time testing of learnings and ideas. With the help of faculty and coaches, participants will be able to track their progress, redefine their challenges, and discover the best solutions for their organization.
For a complete program schedule for this year's virtual format, please download the agenda.
Hear more about the modular program design:
Participant Profiles and Testimonials
Executive Director at Trail Blazer Camps
Chief Operating Officer at Relay Graduate School of Education
Chief Operating Officer at Kings Against Violence Initiative
Executive Director of New York Common Pantry
Typical Participant Mix
Participants of the program have come from the following organizations:
Bottom Line | Brooklyn Navy Yard | Center for Employment Opportunities | Children's Aid Society | City Harvest | DREAM | East Side House | Goddard Riverside Community Center | Good Shepherd Services | Graham Windham | Lenox Hill Neighborhood House | New Visions for Public School | Sunnyside Community Services | Uncommon Schools | Year Up | Youth Represent
Raymond Horton, Faculty Director
Frank R. Lautenberg Professor of Ethics and Corporate Governance
Bernstein Faculty Leader of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics
Faculty Director of the Programs in Social Enterprise
A lawyer and political scientist, Raymond Horton served as executive director of the Temporary Commission on City Finances during the New York City fiscal crisis for two years while on leave from Columbia Business School. He later served as director of research and president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a public advocate of responsible governance and financial management in New York City and New York State, for 15 years. Horton has also served on a number of private and nonprofit boards, including most recently the Municipal Advantage Fund, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and Community Resource Exchange.
The founder and long-time director of Columbia Business School?s Social Enterprise Program, Horton serves as faculty director of Programs in Social Enterprise in Executive Education. In addition to nonprofit management, he also teaches in the field of modern political economy. His writings include numerous books, articles, and reports about state and local finance and politics.
The Program's Faculty Bench
Hear from the program director about the faculty's interest in the nonprofit sector and how faculty and participants learn from each other during the program:
Along with Professor Horton, additional Columbia Business School and Columbia University faculty contribute to and teach in the program, including:
Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Business
Associate Professor of Management; Faculty Director of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics
Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs
Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics
Kravis Professor of Business
Lambert Family Professor of Social Enterprise
Professor of the Practice of Management
Valerie Purdie Greenaway
Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University
Senior Lecturer in Discipline in Business
David W. Zalaznick Associate Professor of Business
Professor of Music, Ethnomusicology
1. What is the timing of the admission process?
Applications are reviewed the week following the application due date. Admission and scholarship decisions will be made to curate this year’s cohort, and decision notifications will be made to all participants via email.
2. Where does the program take place?
Weeks 1, 3 and 4 will occur on the Columbia University campus in New York City. Week 2 will be a live online format. Participants will not need to travel to Columbia for week 2 and need to be able to engage in sessions via the Zoom platform.
3. What is the program schedule?
The program runs one week per month across four months. The program schedule is Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET when on-campus and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during our Week 2's virtual format. In case of national, city or university restrictions due to the current pandemic, four additional dates have been scheduled should we need to transition to a fully virtual program. Please save these dates on your calendars.
4. Is financial assistance available?
As a part of our commitment to the nonprofit sector, the Programs in Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School Executive Education offer three types of tuition assistance. Though tuition assistance is not guaranteed, we do our best to provide financial support whenever possible. Applicants can only receive one form of tuition assistance; they cannot be combined. Upon acceptance to the program, applicants will be notified of the amount of tuition assistance they are being awarded.
In addition to the full criteria listed on the tuition assistance guidelines download, please note the following:
- Applicants must be full-time employees of a nonprofit or social enterprise
- Applicants must apply and be accepted into the program before tuition assistance is determined
- Scholarships are allocated on a sliding scale, based on the need of the organization
- Full scholarships are not available
- Applicants can only receive one form of tuition assistance; they cannot be combined
Please review the complete tuition assistance guidelines before requesting tuition assistance.
5. Who typically attends the program?
The program is designed for senior nonprofit leaders responsible for the mission and strategy of their organization.
6. How many people attend the program?
The program typically has between 40 and 50 participants.
7. Do you accept non-US applicants?
We welcome applicants from around the world. Applicants should be sufficiently proficient in English both verbally and in writing at a graduate-school level.
8. Do I receive a certificate at the end of the program?
Everyone who successfully completes the program receives the Certificate in Business Excellence, granting select Columbia Business School alumni benefits. Learn more about the benefits here.
9. Where can I find more information?
Learn more about the program and get answers to commonly asked questions in this recorded information session, which includes insights on how we've translated the in-person program to a virtual format for 2021.
10. I still have questions. How can I find help?
Contact Gwen Shufro ’06, at [email protected].
We are grateful for the support of our foundation partners:
Booth Ferris Foundation
Columbia Community Service
Robin Hood Foundation
New York Nonprofit Excellence Awards
Real Time Grantmaking Award