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Rising Leaders Cohort

NCG's Rising Leaders Cohort is a unique opportunity to focus on your leadership journey within philanthropy and build the skills that will take you to the next level.  


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. 



  • 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


The curriculum follows 4 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.

  • Session 0 | Orientation and Connection (February 10, 2023): 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): 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): 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): 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): 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): 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. 


Kate Seely Headshot

Kate Seely | she/her

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

Melissa Nop headshot

Melissa Nop | she/her

Manager of Equity and Practice, Northern California Grantmakers


Erika Carlsen | she/her

Managing Director, Civic Leadership, Coro

Claudia Paredes | she/her

Senior Director of Training, Coro

Chris Murchison | he/him

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