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Institute for Executive Director Leadership

Outstanding nonprofit leadership yields exceptional results


The Institute for Executive Director Leadership at the University of St. Thomas is a place for leaders and those interested in nonprofit and social sector leadership to gain knowledge, tools, and a community of support to move their careers and organizations forward. 

"My experience with the Institute for Executive Director Leadership quite literally changed my professional life. The Institute gave me the skills and confidence to address difficult issues and realities pertaining to the leadership within my organization.”  
Joyce Holl
Executive Director, National Orientation Directors Association

This executive leadership development program helps you recognize and achieve your organization’s full potential through the implementation of cutting edge nonprofit management and effective leadership practices learned in a dynamic, supportive, and relaxed learning environment.  

During the program, executive directors will:  

  • Experience a learning community that promotes openness, safety and support to dig into the sometimes tough realities in leading social impact organizations in today’s rapidly changing world
  • Examine real-world nonprofit issues in a spirit of confidentiality and engagement with colleagues who face similar challenges
  • Explore, develop, and implement personal, professional and organization goals
  • Learn, practice, and apply leadership development tools that are based on researched theory and real-world practice 
  • Learn how to build trust, focus and engagement within their organizations in order to create and communicate vision, design and prototype new programs, and, create and launch major transformational initiatives

This is a 10-month cohort program that begins every spring and consists of ten full days of learning and fun.  Our schedule has two full days on the St. Thomas campus and four, two-day interactive learning retreats. View the 2018 Schedule.

Admission and Application

Invest in your career by attending a top-tier executive leadership training program

PRICE: $3,495

As a nonprofit executive director or someone who aspires to become one, your investment in your leadership has the potential to significantly impact your organization and the community it serves. Our innovative and dynamic executive leadership training program will help you develop your professional skills and your organization’s full potential through the implementation of the best nonprofit management and leadership practices. And you’ll be working alongside two dozen other executive directors in the year-long cohort.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and network with others and invest in yourself. 

The 2018 Cohort begins March 9th, 2018.

Thanks to a generous grant, partial scholarships of up to $1,000 are available to participants of this program. If you are interested in applying, please fill out the form below.  

For more information, or to apply for a scholarship, please contact Emily Flo at (651) 962-4298 or eflo@stthomas.edu. Early application increases your chance of receiving a scholarship.

 

Topics Covered

Discover a dynamic curriculum for nonprofit developed over the past 15 years

For over 15 years, St. Thomas’ Institute for Executive Director Leadership has guided participants in their personal and professional growth while inspiring them to lead change within their organizations and communities. By networking with peers and educational thought leaders, attendees learn from one another, refine their nonprofit leadership skills and practices and prepare and implement proven change strategies in their organizations.  

Specific tools utilized over the 10-month program include:

  • Explore, practice and implement organizational lifecycle assessment tools to focus development on the strategically vulnerable programs and systems in your organization
  • Learn, practice and implement the stages of moving nonprofits Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Learn, practice and lead with Authentic Leadership Action tools originated from Dr. Robert Terry
  • Discover, understand, and engage your strengths and those of your leadership team, staff, and board by using Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
  • Find new avenues for innovation and growth by learning Blue Ocean Strategy facilitated by Dr. John McVea, University of St. Thomas
  • Learn and practice design thinking and methodologies to develop and enhance new programs and services
  • Explore and practice creating  mutually respectful, high performing relationships between the board and executive staff

Participants will earn 8.6 Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) and a certificate of completion based on comprehensive leadership and organizational assessments, interactive learning activities, readings and year-end presentations. Participants may earn up to 0.6 additional CEU’s by attending up to two modules of the Mini MBA for Nonprofit Organizations free of charge.

Is This For Me?

Grow as a nonprofit executive leader

The Institute for Executive Director Leadership program is for non-profit leaders and those pursuing leadership roles in social enterprises.  Our participants come with a strong desire to learn, and a readiness to engage with peers.  Because participants bring their real-world organizational challenges and opportunities, we are able to explore nonprofit management and leadership practices that they can learn and implement in their organizations.  

The most successful participants in the program come ready to explore the personal, professional and organizational challenges and opportunities of leading social enterprises. They are seeking guidance to learn, act and fulfill individual and organizational goals and aspire to lead their organizations and communities authentically.

“This course refreshed and deepened my drive, passion and commitment to leading my organization.  The community formed through the course will be one I tap into and seek support from in the future.”

Jenna Bowman, Executive Director, Rochester Downtown Alliance
November 6, 2015

 

Instructors

Learn from our top-notch faculty with industry experience

Mo Fahnestock, Ph.D.

Dr. Mo Fahnestock has led the Institute for Executive Director Leadership for the past 15 years.  He is the President of Authentic Leadership Action Inc. where he guides nonprofit and social enterprises to higher levels of authentic social impact through leadership, board, and staff development programs. Mo brings 40 years of consulting and work experience with nonprofit, for-profit and government entities in service delivery, leadership and organizational change. His organizational development work in creating human service delivery systems has been recognized as best practice on state and national levels. He is currently involved in international social enterprise work in India and Nigeria.  

Dr. Fahnestock currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas and a graduate course in Social Enterprise at United Theological Seminary.  He has held adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Mary’s in Winona, MN.  

John McVea

John McVea researches and teaches in the areas of entrepreneurial strategy and social entrepreneurship. His work had been published in journals such as The Journal of Business Venturing and The Journal of Business Ethics. He has written more than a dozen business case studies focusing on issues such as market entry strategy, innovation field studies, cash flow forecasting, challenges of growth and the use of social media.

His teaching philosophy brings together three approach: students centered learning through case discussion, writing across the curriculum and place-based education. These approaches result in highly interactive discussion based classroom experiences.

Originally from the North of Ireland, he has undergraduate degrees in both engineering and economics from the University of Birmingham, England, an M.B.A. from the Darden School and a Ph.D. from The University of Virginia.

Before returning to academia, McVea spent a dozen years working in industry for Dupont, initially in product/market development in the U.S. and ultimately as manager of textile filament manufacturing operation in the U.K. After earning his M.B.A., he worked for Bain & Co. in Boston as a strategy consultant advising in fields ranging from paper manufacture to oil drilling to private equity acquisition assessment.

Testimonials

What our participants say about their IEDL experience

"My experience with the Institute for Executive Director Leadership quite literally changed my professional life. The Institute gave me the skills and confidence to address difficult issues and realities pertaining to the leadership within the organization. The faculty provided a tremendous amount of resources needed for executive directors in the nonprofit sector. I especially appreciated the opportunity to network with nonprofit colleagues and discuss issues and concerns with others in similar situations. I would recommend the Institute for executives who strive to become better nonprofit leaders."

Joyce Holl
Executive Director, National Orientation Directors Association
 

“This course refreshed and deepened my drive, passion and commitment to leading my organization.  The community formed through the course will be one I tap into and seek support from in the future.”

Jenna Bowman,
Executive Director, Rochester Downtown Alliance
 

“You not only learn leadership tactics and skills- you have fun and build trusting relationships.”

Mary Corrigan, Executive Director, Northland Arboretum

"I would recommend this program to others because it is not just a ‘fix-it’ approach—it concerns the bigger context of the framework of how to make change happen. It is about a framework for thinking and acting—it is truly a leadership program. I have gained ideas and support from other directors in the program and have been able to act more decisively and keep the mission of my work in the forefront as a result."

Wendy Ambrose
Executive Director, Minnesota Family, Career and Community Leaders of America