IS on the Road: Emerging Leaders Envision the Future Together

In early January, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) welcomed hundreds of emerging social sector leaders in Orlando, FL during the 2019 Alliance Management Institute (AMI). NLA is a long-standing member of Independent Sector. My colleague Kristina Gawrgy Campbell and I were fortunate to join our partners during this innovative learning experience.

The annual AMI conference serves as the capstone event for students pursuing the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential. The CNP credential is the only national one of its kind which prepares students (post-graduate, graduate, and undergraduate levels) for nonprofit management careers. This year, envision served as the grounding narrative for attendees – challenging students to move from seeing the world around them to the envisioning the future they want to drive together.

The three days in gorgeous Orlando were jam packed with inspirational talks, innovative thinking, and of course, spending time making new connections. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Community grounded: Representative Anna V. Eskamani who was recently elected to the Florida State House District 47 related to students in a personal and authentic way. As a CNP graduate herself, she shares a rich history of volunteerism and launched her nonprofit career at Planned Parenthood. A born native of Orlando, Anna shared her parents’ immigrant story from Iran and how she envisions the future for people like her family and other Florida residents.
  • Inspirational leaders: Keynote talks featured leaders pushing forward sector trends and their advice for the future. Vu Le, an influencer and incisive writer, who leads the Nonprofit AF blog spoke with an engaging voice as he shared his love of unicorns and his unconventional path to the sector. With the perfect balance of humor and realism, Vu resonated with students who cheered and laughed throughout the presentation, all the while learning about the importance of creating equitable systems and developing leaders of color. Ann Mei Chang pulled from her decades of experience as a tech executive to share Lean Impact. Her work challenges the sector to try new practices that accelerate impact and methods which propel sustainable scaling.
  • Shared learning: CNP students shared their collaboration and research in the Ideas Forum. Throughout a day of presentations, groups shared big ideas, details in research, and ways of implementing best practices. We had the pleasure of judging several presentations from groups that worked with their local partners of all sizes to apply methods such as electronic evaluations, new programming models, and means to diversify resources.

As IS ambassadors, Kristina and I presented a workshop inviting participants to explore best practices that drive ethics and accountability in nonprofits. The content was grounded in our Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice. Next, we seeded the conversation with pressing problems, such as the #MeToo movement, in order to push participants and their thinking on the future of ethics within the social sector space. These conversations straddled a critical cross-section between emerging trends in equity, data, and technology.

What we saw was an eager, diverse group of students and emerging professionals stepping into their leadership skills and embracing collaboration. Looking forward to 2019, we are excited to deepen our partnership with NLA through a collaboration on the Leaderosity online learning platform. This year, we will be launching a course on ethical leadership. Our current landscape is rapidly shifting and a foundational learning in ethical practices is vital for dynamic growth. (More details on that course coming soon!)

We hope you’ll be interested in taking up this learning and for now check out Keeping it Ethical – our weekly blog series highlighting the 33 Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice. Leave your thoughts in the comments and let us know what you think. Continue to follow our journey with #npethics on social media.

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Global Topics: Ethics and Accountability, IS Member, IS Staff, Leadership Development, Race, Equity, and Inclusion