The Venture Leader Academy and Fellowship will serve as a pathway for organizations to realize effective and diverse change champions.
The nonprofit sector lacks experienced “executive generalists,” or those who are knowledgeable in all aspects of an organization. All too often, leaders hire specialists and hope that their competent performance in each workstream will advance the mission. However, effective, efficient, and enduring change requires strategic alignment of every nonprofit domain, and every domain must reflect the organization’s strategy in its operation. A leader who lacks confidence or expertise in any workstream—program, development, finance, or others—will find it difficult to move their organization’s mission forward. Yet time and again, bandwidth constrained nonprofits leave high-potential talent to cobble together their own self-directed learning. As a result, many struggle to advance their skills and career trajectory. Moreover, people of color in particular tend to face tough obstacles when seeking executive positions, resulting in a lack of diversity and bench strength in the highest levels of leadership. Thus, our sector is filled with “homegrown” high-performing nonprofit professionals, who have endless potential but limited experience with which they can rise to the next executive level and/or feel equipped to perform once they have arrived.
In 2024, VLC is launching a membership-based program led by expert practitioners who envision a nonprofit sector in which leaders are equipped to solve the crises of our time for a more just and equitable world. This virtual space offers nonprofit leaders the opportunity to gain professional development, share expertise, and access curated resources for organizational effectiveness.
Venture Leader Fellows will practice knowledge gained in the Venture Leader Academy through paid practicum of nonprofit consulting. Fellows will receive coaching from expert VLC staff mentors and work on a team where appropriate. In this program, Fellows will hone their expertise in addition to gaining valuable experience with which they can prove their readiness to perform at the executive level. Dedicated weekly 2-hour sessions will support continued learning and client performance.
In addition to client work, Fellows will demonstrate mastery of Executive Change Champion competencies through publishing written work to elevate change championship in the sector and/or share their own expertise; and completing a final Competency Review, including feedback from clients, VLC mentor, and self-assessment.
The short-term outcomes for Academy cohort members:
The intermediate outcomes, to be achieved by Fellows by the end of their practicum:
As more change champions pursue impactful change work, the sector as a whole will benefit from the following long-term outcomes: