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2023 Rising Leaders Cohort


Applications are now closed

Are you a rising leader in philanthropy, someone looking for ways to expand your impact within the sector and advance your career? Are you feeling like the skills that got you to this point in your career are not the same skills required to succeed at the next level? Are you looking for ways to connect with foundation peers and create long-lasting professional relationships? Would the support and mentoring from those peers boost your professional development?  If you answered yes to these questions, the 2023 Rising Leaders Cohort offers you a unique opportunity to focus on your leadership journey within philanthropy and build the skills that will take you to your next level.  

The future of philanthropy lies in the hands of emerging leaders. In the Rising Leaders Cohort, our intention is to support individuals who have a deep-seated passion for their own effectiveness in their work, and the effectiveness of the field as well. We hope you will join us.

Our Guiding Questions

  • How do I develop as a leader regardless of my position or role?
  • How can I advance my career in philanthropy?  
  • How can I stay focused on my personal mission while balancing the always demanding to-do list? 
  • How do I build a sustainable career out of my current and past experiences? 
  • What skills do I need to build in order to be an effective philanthropy leader, in the face of our current political, environmental, and social realities?  
  • How do I manage relationships to excel in my work and take full advantage of opportunities to learn and grow?  
  • How can I deepen my personal and professional practice toward equity and social justice? 

What We'll Do Together

Northern California Grantmakers and Coro Northern California have partnered together to join our experience, commitment, and belief in the power of leadership development in philanthropy to build competencies in rising leaders to meet the challenges of our time. Through interactive, small group instruction, workshops and conversations, personal development tools, and panels with like-minded and senior philanthropic professionals, we aim to build the capacities of:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Curiosity
  3. Effective communication
  4. Navigation of power dynamics 
  5. Conflict Management
  6. Facilitation
  7. Collaboration



Managing Director, Civic Leadership | Coro


Creative Thought Partner, Designer Facilitator, Visual Artist, Positive Organization Coach


Manager of Equity and Practice | Northern California Grantmakers


Senior Director of Training | Coro


Senior Director of Leadership, Culture, and Community | Northern California Grantmakers


The curriculum follows four main threads:

  • Emotional intelligence and leadership development
  • Technical skills development
  • Equity, inclusion, social justice, and power
  • Career development

Topics within these threads include: values (personal and organizational); facilitation, collaboration, and decision-making; self-awareness; listening and inquiry skills; conflict management; power mapping; managing up.

The cohort features:

  • Six cohort sessions
  • Four small group sessions in between whole cohort gatherings 
  • All sessions will be held virtually via Zoom, and will incorporate state of the art engagement and connection platforms  
  • Intimate cohort experience approximately 20 participants 
  • Facilitated experience with the Reflected Best Self Exercise, a personal development tool that helps you see who you are at your best, engaging you to live and work from that powerful place daily 
  • Presentations and activities facilitated by expert and diverse faculty 
  • Experiential engagements that encourage reflection and immediate application of new tools, ideas and frameworks
  • Access to tools, templates, resources, and shared learning


Session 0 | Orientation and Connection (February 10, 2023)
Description: This first session, two hours long, meaningfully introduces and connects participants and faculty with one another against the backdrop of the content and the context within which we are hosting the Rising Leaders Cohort. We will prime participants to the design of the institute, review program curriculum and pedagogy, and get ready for our first session together. 

Session 1 | Managing Self: Building and Leveraging Self-Awareness (February 17, 2023)
Description: Our world is becoming increasingly complex. Philanthropy is facing unprecedented challenges as the global community and our planet struggle to sustain resilience. Today more than ever we need leaders who consciously lead with self-awareness, integrity and skill to tackle our volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world.  This first session of the Rising Leaders cohort will lay the framework for the program and launch this journey with a focus on self-awareness, a key competency of effective leadership. We will explore your career journey to date and help you claim your future narrative and identify the learning that will help get you there.
Session 2 | Managing Relationships: Navigating and Influencing Power (March 24, 2023)
Description: You are powerful. You deserve to recognize and exercise your power in ways that feel true and authentic to you in service of collective good. In this session, we will explore the concept of power from the individual, positional and systemic perspectives. You will gain insight into how you can leverage your power to manage and influence others across the hierarchy. Equity, belonging, and accountability will be foundational.
Session 3 | Managing Relationships: Working Collaboratively and Addressing Conflict (April 28, 2023)
Description: As you rise within your career, the requirements demanded of you don’t just scale, they evolve. At higher levels of an organization your ability to see systems, create and execute strategy, rally and coach others towards collective goals, and more, will define your success. Doing all of this well requires skill and emotional intelligence. In this session we will tackle one of the most difficult dimensions of relationships, conflict. We will expand your capacity to understand your own story, illuminate the stories of others, and your ability to co-create solutions to move forward.
Session 4 | Hard Skills: Facilitation and Collaborative Leadership with a Systems Lens  (May 26, 2023)
Description: Skillful collaboration is facilitated by an open mind and heart, keen powers of observation of self and others, compassionate communication, a whole-systems view and a willingness to witness and experience emergence and transformation. This module will promote these qualities while seeking to enhance leadership skills, self-awareness and a capacity to contribute to positive change at any scale. By practicing presence, expanding our awareness of self and others and unlocking our creativity, we can realize our potential as inspired and skillful facilitators or participants in any group system. Participants will be introduced to a variety of group work and collaborative leadership tools which will help improve our practical facilitative tools for decision–making and conflict resolution, as well as develop the courage to imaginatively embrace emergence.
Session 5 | Closing (June 23, 2023)
Description: In this last session of the Rising Leaders Cohort we will step back and reflect on the learning experience and create space for participants to finalize and share their leadership aspirations and goals as they move out of this cohort experience. 

Information Session

Watch the information session featuring Cohort Alum Melissa Nop and Nilofar Gardezi.


Cohort Alum


Associate | Hirsch Philanthropy Partners

Tracy Chinn

Program Officer & Grants Manager | Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation

Nilofar Gardezi

Executive Fellow | Well Being Trust

Lisa Herron

Program Associate | The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Summer Iqbal

Sr. Associate of Development | Tipping Point Community

Martha Joseph

Program and Grants Associate | Metta Fund

Mimi Kelly

Program Associate | The James Irvine Foundation

Robia Lee

Director of Programs | New Breath Foundation

Claudia Leung

GreenLight Fund | National Portfolio Senior Associate

Kenichi Nozaki

Program Coordinator | Hispanics in Philanthropy

Jennifer Paniagua

Associate | Hirsch Philanthropy Partners

Meital Rosenberg

Program Coordinator | The California Wellness Foundation

Daniel Sanjines

Program Officer | Koret Foundation

Rachel Schonwetter

Program Associate – Grants | The Health Trust

Laura Schultz

Program Manager | Blue Shield of California Foundation

Hilary Smith

Grants and Compliance Specialist | The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Linh Tran

Development Associate | East Bay Community Foundation

Ellie Young

Applications are now closed

If you were planning to submit an application for the 2023 cohort, please email Kate Seely at


  • The application deadline is Monday, November 21, 2022.
  • All participants will have their confirmed participation by December 9, 2022. 
  • Live virtual sessions begin Friday, February 10, 2023. 

What to Know Before You Apply

Submitting your application does not confirm your participation. We will confirm your participation by December 9, after we have reviewed all applications.