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Curriculum | 2020 Rising Leaders Cohort

The information below breaks down the curriculum for participants in the 2020 Rising leaders Cohort. Stay tuned in Fall 2020 to hear more about how to apply for the 2021 Rising Leaders Cohort. 

The curriculum follows four main threads:

  • Emotional intelligence and leadership development
  • “Hard” 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, held every six weeks for six hours 
  • All sessions will be held at NCG’s offices in downtown San Francisco
  • Approximately 15-20 cohort participants
  • Presentations and activities from expert faculty
  • Opportunities to practice what you are learning in real-time and through homework assignments
  • Opportunities for peer-to-peer coaching between sessions
  • Access to tools, templates, resources, and shared learning


Session 1 | Managing Self: Building Self-Awareness and Capacity

Our world is becoming increasingly complex. Philanthropy, in particular, is facing unprecedented challenges as the global community and our planet struggle to sustain resilience. We need leaders who lead with skill, consciousness, and integrity in order to tackle this volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.  This first session of the Rising Leaders cohort will lay the framework for the program and launch this journey with an exploration of the self. Self-awareness is a key cornerstone of effective leadership. With the assumption that the skills that got you to this point in your career are not the same skills required to succeed at the next level, we will explore your career journey to date and help you name your future narrative and identify the learning that will get you there.

Session 2 | Managing Relationships: Working Collaboratively and Addressing Conflict

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. In the soup of disagreements, the capacity to understand your own story, to see and illuminate the stories of others, and the ability to co-create solutions with integrity divide average and remarkable leaders.

Session 3 | Managing Relationships: Navigating and Influencing Power 

We each have power, and this power is experienced by us and others in multi-dimensional ways. In this session we will explore the power we each hold, from the varying intersections of our identity, and learn how that power can be leveraged for greater self-awareness and to lift up the power of others. We will also explore the inherent power in hierarchy and how you can manage and influence those in higher organizational positions. We will explore concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as accountability.

Session 4 | Hard Skills: Facilitation and Collaborative Leadership with a Systems Lens 

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 | Hard Skills: Topic To Be Determined by Group

Leadership development is a broad territory. We have established a foundation of learning offered in Sessions 1 through 4. The cohort will have the opportunity to determine the content of Session 5, based on the group’s collective interests.

Session 6 | Closing

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 refined goals.