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What is the Emerging Leaders Program?

Emerging Leaders is a 10-month (one full day each month) program that assembles a select cohort of  social sector leaders from Santa Barbara County who are stepping into greater leaders in their organization and guides them through a rigorous, relevant and applied curriculum. 

How is Emerging Leaders different from other Leading From Within programs?

The Emerging Leaders program is curated for “rising leaders” – individuals growing in their career – working in nonprofit and government agencies that serve the public across Santa Barbara County, in comparison to other programs composed of more “seasoned” leaders or those who work for for-profit businesses. The Emerging Leaders program helps build skill sets in management and the fundamentals of leading a team and an organization’s mission. In short, this program serves emerging professionals in the social sector who want to broaden their network, leadership style, and prepare themselves for roles of increasing responsibility.

We encourage those interested to attend an information session or talk with one of our staff to see if Emerging Leaders would best serve your journey. Other Leading From Within programs include Courage to Lead, Leading for Community Impact, and Katherine Harvey Fellows, which each serve different niches.

What’s the best way to learn more about Emerging Leaders?

If you are interested in learning more about our Emerging Leaders 2020-21 program, we invite you to please join us for one of two information sessions, being held in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.


Date: Thursday, February 6
Time: 5:30-6:30pm
Location: TBA, Santa Barbara

Date: Thursday, February 27
Time: 9-10am
Location: Braille Institute | 2031 De La Vina St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105


Date: Friday, February 21
Time: 9-10am
Location: Moxie Cafe | 1317 W McCoy Ln, Santa Maria, CA 93455

You will have the opportunity to hear from Emerging Leader Facilitators Miles Ashlock and Christa Roth, as well as meet several of our current and past alumni to learn about their experience in Emerging Leaders.  You will gain some tips regarding the application process.

Emerging Leaders may be for you if…

Emerging Leaders is designed for nonprofit / social sector professionals in Santa Barbara County who have demonstrated a commitment to the community and are interested in expanding their capacity for leadership. Participants must be employed in the nonprofit or broader social sector and have the support of their Executive Director, CEO, Board Chair and/or other mentor in an executive/board position.

 In terms of role, we welcome professionals across the position spectrum (program, development, administration, marketing, as well as newer Executive Directors).

How long are the sessions? What do we need to bring to a typical session?

Sessions are from 9am-5pm once a month on Friday.. Typical sessions  are designed for adult learners with engaging peer dialogue around specific topics.  We work to create interactive sessions that allow you to make the content your own and build on what you already know and understand about leadership.   However, if there are special instructions, you will be notified prior to the session. Two hours of is assigned each month homework that you will need to complete and bring to the next session.

What is the criteria for selection into the Cohort?

We strive to create an intimate learning environment so we hold the cohort size to 20 leaders. We typically receive more applications than we have space for.  In addition to assessing each candidate’s readiness and fit, the Emerging Leaders Selection Committee often gives preference to certain categories of candidates, including:

  • Returning applicants (who applied for a prior cohort and were not accepted)
  • Candidates who have at least three years of professional experience in nonprofit and social sector leadership
  • Candidates who demonstrate a commitment to the Santa Barbara County nonprofit and social sector
  • Applicants whose organization serves Santa Barbara County residents

What is the cost of Emerging Leaders?

Thanks to our generous donors, the cost to each participating organization is a fraction of the cost of putting on the program.

The program fees include: 

  • 10 sessions plus an orientation and closing session
  • 1 360 leadership assessment + debrief session with a coach
  • 3 coaching sessions
  • Upon completion admission into our Alumni Network

Program fees depend on Organization’s budget size:

Program Fee is $1,500 for Organizations with budgets under $1 million
Program Fee is $2,500 for Organizations with budgets over $1 million

Are scholarships available?

Leading From Within raises grant funds  to subsidize our program costs to keep our program affordable to all types of organizations.  Generosity from our funders make the cost to each participating organization a fraction of the cost of putting on the program.  

If program cost is still a challenge, we have a few ways to help organizations make it work.

  1. Payment Plan | We are flexible and happy to work with organizations to set up a payment plan rather than pay all at once
  2. Reach out to a Funder | Sometimes, there are philanthropic funders that want to make our programs available for institutions that don’t budget much for things like this.  Consider If there is a philanthropic funder that has a stake in your organization investing in their people.  
  3. Reach out to us | We are happy to walk you through the options and brainstorm with you. (Sarah Harris | Email or Phone)

We encourage those interested to consider applying and not let the cost hinder from the application process.

What is the application deadline?

Applications and all required documents are due Friday, November 5, 2021 at 8pm (PST).

How have Emerging Leaders participants benefited from the program?

Over the 10 months of the program, leaders will engage with professional relevant curriculum in a supportive learning community.  Topics include:

Leadership Frameworks
Participants will discover & share key leadership frameworks such as values-centered leadership, creating shared visions, engaging differences, understanding self, and emotional intelligence.

Personal and Professional Development
Participants will explore who they are as leaders, what motivates them, their leadership style, and how to sustain their passion throughout their career.

Nonprofit / Social Sector Fundamentals
Participants will be introduced to general principles of strategic thinking, program evaluation, communication, networking and collaboration.

Circle of Support
Participants will build a community of ongoing support by creating trusting connections with their peers in the program, as well as the ELP alumni community of dynamic leaders.

Community Connections
Participants will exchange ideas and perspectives through opportunities to engage with nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate leaders from throughout Santa Barbara County.

Who facilitates the sessions?

Katya Armistead and Miles Ashlock have co-instructed the sessions for Emerging Leader Program  They both have extensive experience in leadership prepared to lead Emerging Leaders. You can find out biographical information about the two of them at the Instructor link on the Leading From Within website.

What happens when the sessions are over?

When leaders have completed the Emerging Leader program sessions, they  automatically join our Alumni Program with continued opportunities for peer community and resource sharing. 121 nonprofit and social sector leaders have completed our program since 2013, and the great majority of them continue to engage actively as part of the growing ELP alumni community. ELP alumni programming includes professional development opportunities, ongoing Peer Learning Circles, as well as occasional social and networking gatherings.

What if I cannot make all the sessions?

You might want to consider waiting until our next cohort, which will start in the Spring of 2023.  We have made a few exceptions over the years for some who knew they wanted to be in Emerging Leaders now, but also knew there was one (and only one) program session that they would have to miss all or part of due to a pre-existing commitment.  If that is the case, please let us know.

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