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Frequently Asked Questions

GEL membership will be open to high-impact social sector and community leaders from nonprofits, philanthropy, healthcare, education, government, the private sector, and other community leadership roles.  GEL groups serve leaders located in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

In general, GEL is intended to serve senior director-level or other high-impact leaders in the broadly-defined social sector.  Leading From Within has other programs that are more focused on the needs of emerging leaders.  GEL participants will come from many different sectors and organization types (including grassroots organizations), and they can be volunteer leaders as well as professional leaders.

Ideal participants will commit to fully engage in all parts of the program and to follow the norms of the groups.  In applying, applicants will be asked to indicate their own commitment to engaged participation, as well as their organization’s commitment to their participation.  They will also be asked to commit to a minimum participation of 12 months from the start of their GEL group.

The first GEL groups will begin meeting monthly in September 2024.  Application and Commitment Forms for 2024-25 participation are due June 26, 2024.  Once accepted to participate in a group that starts in September 2024, GEL members will be placed in a diverse, cross-sector group of experienced leaders, where they each will bring their unique experiences and expertise to benefit everyone in the group.

GEL groups will meet each month each month in a full-day forum.  In addition, each GEL participant will schedule a monthly one-hour session with their GEL executive coach, at a mutually convenient time.

The membership fee for GEL participation is $800 per month (discounted to $9,000 if the year’s membership fee is paid in full in advance of the first session).

GEL members will have the option to renew their membership in future years, and they can continue to meet monthly and learn and grow with others who want to continue their participation.  Leaders are also welcome to end their GEL membership after 12 months (or any time thereafter).

As a GEL applicant, you and your agency are responsible for the annual GEL membership fee.  If you and your organization need additional support to make that commitment, here are two possible approaches.

Funder/Donor Support Many GEL participants will supplement what their organization can pay with financial support from an outside funder/donor.  You can invite interested funders to learn more about GEL on our website and by attending an Information Session.

Scholarships – LFW expects to have a limited amount of scholarship funds available to help a diverse group of leaders and leaders from small budget organizations to participate in GEL.  You are welcome to apply for an LFW scholarship, understanding that funds are limited and it is quite possible you will not receive one.

Some GEL group sessions will take place at the Leading From Within meeting space in Santa Barbara.  Many sessions will also take place at the work sites of your GEL group members, as members will be invited (but not required) to host a session during the year.  This will provide members to learn and receive inspiration from the other organizations represented in the group.

Leading From Within has many outstanding facilitators and executive coaches in and around its network and its leadership development programs.  We have begun connecting with potential partners and will finalize our roster early this summer.  LFW will collaborate with these facilitators and coaches – all experienced social sector leaders themselves – to ensure GEL members receive a developmental experience of the highest quality.

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