Emerging Leaders Program (ELP)

A foundation of our CVNL ACADEMY offerings is ELP. It’s a key program we’ve been developing and refining for years. We know our communities, and the nonprofits that serve them, are constantly evolving — and so are their leaders’ needs for skills and information. ELP addresses the core competencies needed to effectively manage organizations and complex programs, as well as the leadership skills one needs to be successful. Ultimately, our vision is to create a continuous stream of people who are better-equipped to be nonprofit leaders that are strong, smart, and motivated — and help assure vital causes have the knowledgeable talent they need to succeed.


Spring Schedule

Marin — Wednesday, March 8, Thursday, March 9, and Friday March 10; the cohort comes back together to complete the program on Thursday, April 6 and Friday April 7. All participants commit to five days; all days are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Napa — Wednesday, May 10, Thursday, May 11, and Friday May 12; the cohort comes back together to complete the program on Wednesday, June 7 and Thursday June 8. All participants commit to five days; all days are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


e·merge (əˈmərj/) verb. Move out of or away from something and come into view; become apparent, important, or prominent.

CVNL believes that leadership is a process, not a role — and that the most effective organizations encourage all staff to influence and contribute, regardless of where they sit. Emerging Leaders focuses on cultivating the skills, knowledge, and confidence of nonprofit leaders — both new and established — so that they are more fully aware of their impact and better equipped to manage complex programs and services. For more information about our leadership approach, content, and curriculum, see below


$800 per person, CVNL Members
$950 per person, non-members
Group Rates — please call to discuss (415.448.0330)

Tuition is non-refundable. Cancellations received 2 weeks prior to start date will receive credit equal to 75% of fee paid to be used toward future Emerging Leaders Program or CVNL Workshops.

CVNL Access Fund
Over the years we have found that nonprofit organizations operating with limited or restricted resources are often unable to access professional development opportunities — yet these opportunities provide a critical means for leaders to make connections and develop knowledge and skills that will enhance the impact of their work. CVNL has launched its Access Fund initiative, designed to offset the cost of leadership development programs for member organizations. Read more and apply here.

This program is designed for first time Executive Directors, nonprofit managers who are preparing for, or pursuing, a leadership career track, and star performers who EDs/CEOs wish to invest in. The program is also appropriate for experienced corporate/government executives exploring a move into nonprofit management. Complete the online registration form below or contact Katelyn Willoughby-Bagley to learn more: kwilloughby@cvnl.org or 415.448.0330.

CVNL's Emerging Leaders Program

Please submit all sections of the application. All applicants will be notified if/when they are accepted into the program. Payment will be collected upon approval. For specific questions, contact Katelyn: kwilloughby@cvnl.org or 415.448.0330. Thank you!
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ELP is an intensive leadership development program that uses a cohort model. A group of 12-18 professionals are admitted each cycle of the program (offered each year in Marin and Napa in spring and fall) and complete sessions together. This creates a stronger sense of group membership which is intentionally fostered throughout the program: members have more opportunities to learn from one another and also establish professional ties that often last beyond the program itself. Such networks are valuable in terms of continued professional support and growth.

ELP combines a set of core methodologies, including teaching, peer learning, coaching, and experiential learning. To work at this depth, we engage outside experts and practitioners who share our commitment to leadership development within the nonprofit sector. To read more about our faculty, click here. This allows us to blend our own content with the best content of others in order to create a program that is relevant and responsive to the most pressing needs of nonprofits. 

We’ve framed the program around 10 core sessions, or competencies, that we believe are the most critical to success. We also recognize that people will engage in different ways with the content, bringing their own experiences and capabilities to the table. As such, we design each session differently, being sure to cater to different learning styles, aptitudes, and experience-levels. 

Through the course of the program, participants experience the following:

  1. They connect with their peers to problem solve and renew their passion and purpose in work.
  2. They build and/or refine fundamental understanding in the major areas of responsibility for executive directors and management, focusing primarily on practical soft and hard skills that are applicable to every day management functions.
  3. They grow confidence in the fundamental areas related to nonprofit management, gaining self-awareness around personal leadership practices to better lead themselves, organizations, and communities.
  4. They are exposed to principles of leadership through an equity lens,
    acknowledging equity at the intra-personal, inter-personal, and institutional levels.


Foundations of Leadership

  • Trends in the sector
  • Clarifying and affirming personal leadership values

Nonprofit Compliance

  • Nonprofit law
  • Human resources
  • Managing the IRS Form 990 and Audit
  • Internal controls

Board Governance

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Building strong board relationships

 Nonprofit Finance & Accounting 

  • Reading financial statements
  • Interpreting financial information

Strategic Planning

  • Principles of business strategy
  • Implementation and measurement


  • Defining what brand is, and how nonprofits describe their donor audience
  • Understanding the importance of brand and role it plays
  • Understanding how to translate insights into a brand platform

Effective Supervision

  • How to tailor your supervision approach to meet staff/volunteer needs, skills, and roles
  • Practice identifying solutions to increase your comfort around common supervisory challenges

Fund Development

  • Building and sustaining relationships
  • Fundraising as a relationship story – including relationship types (individual donors, sponsors, foundations)
  • Building an effective fundraising plan
  • Fundraising channels and best practices

Equity & Inclusion

  • Tools and resources that help them think about how they can specifically implement equity into their work
  • Tools and resources to lead conversations around equity
  • Practice evaluating equity within attendees’ own organization, and applying an equity framework to inform work plans

2016/2017 Faculty

cutmypicjackroundJack Alotto, MA, CFRE
Fundraising Consultant/Educator/Interim Development Director
Session led: Fund Development

Jack is involved in all aspects of philanthropic support for nonprofit organizations, and a strong believer in stewardship and cultivation. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Golden Gate Chapter. Founded in 1971, AFP Golden Gate provides professional support, education, and career enhancement opportunities for Bay Area fundraising-related professionals. He also coordinated the CFRE Review Class and taught the planned giving module sections on marketing and communications for planned gifts and capital campaigns. As of July 2016, Jack serves as Interim Executive Director at St Vincent de Paul Society in San Francisco. He consults for WildCare and CVNL.

cutmypicjuancarlosDr. JuanCarlos Arauz
Founding Executive Director, E3: Education, Excellence, Equity
Session led: Equity & Diversity

Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz specializes in areas related to immigration, youth, and education. He completed his Ed.D. at the University of San Francisco in the Department of International and Multicultural Education. His dissertation research focused on the racial identity development of undocumented Latino youth. He is bilingual in Spanish and English, was born in Brazil to Nicaraguan parents and immigrated to the United States, which has provided him with exclusive insight into many of the issues that educators face today. He has traveled around the country as a keynote speaker, provided cultural competency trainings for educators and organizations, and has been featured in a documentary that focuses on contemporary civil rights activists.

cutmypickwbKatelyn Willoughby-Bagley, M.A.
Leadership Programs Manager, CVNL
Lead Facilitator

Katelyn joined CVNL’s team shortly after earning her Masters in Communication Studies and Pedagogy from San Francisco State University in 2011. Before her work at CVNL, Katelyn taught as a graduate teaching associate of Communication Studies at San Francisco State University, University of San Francisco, and Consumes River College. She completed her thesis on nonprofit capacity building through technology entitled, “Capacity Building through Social Media: A Case Study.” The end product of her thesis was a toolkit that nonprofits in the area used to inform their communication and technology strategies. Katelyn has worked and consulted with a variety of nonprofit organizations in areas ranging from marketing to organizational communication. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network San Francisco and the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).

cutmypicrobynRobyn Bramhall
Human Resources Management Consultant
Session led: Compliance/HR

With over 30 years of experience as Board member, staffer and volunteer for San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits, Robyn Bramhall is a human resources professional who shares your passion for “doing good.” She can help ensure that your people-related policies and practices match your organization’s mission and goals. As past Board President of the New Albion Brass Quintet and The Women’s Philharmonic, Robyn Bramhall has been involved in strategic planning, governance and fundraising. Robyn begins each project by asking about the organization’s mission, goals, and values. By looking at HR issues from a values viewpoint, she can help transcend legal compliance and create a workplace that allows each employee to thrive. She has held the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification since 1997, and has been an independent consultant since 2006.

cutmypicemilyEmily Chan
Associate Attorney, Adler & Colvin
Session led: Compliance/Legal

Emily is an associate attorney with Adler & Colvin where she advises nonprofit and taxexempt organizations on corporate, tax, and governance issues. Emily is a former recipient of the Outstanding Young Attorney award from the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association for her contributions to the nonprofit sector and development of nonprofit law. Emily frequently writes and speaks on nonprofit legal issues for local and national organizations. She contributes to the Nonprofit Law Matters blog and her authored works have been featured by publishers such as the American Bar Association, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Nonprofit Quarterly. Emily holds a law degree (J.D.) from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and undergraduate degrees in Business Administration (B.S.) and Rhetoric (B.A.) from the University of California, Berkeley.

cutmypiclindaLinda Davis
Chief Executive Officer, CVNL
Sessions led: Nonprofit Trends & Board Governance

Since 2002, Linda has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Center of Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL). With over 30 years of experience working with both local and national organizations, Linda speaks frequently on issues and trends in the nonprofit sector. Linda consults with nonprofits on board governance, executive transition, and leadership development and serves as a facilitator for a diversity of groups. Linda is a board member for the Marin Economic Forum, California Association of Nonprofits, Marin County School to Career Partnership, Marin Interagency Disaster Coalition, and a member of the California Association of Nonprofit Policy Council, Marin Red Cross Leadership Council, and California Management Assistance Partnership. Linda has served on committees with the Points of Light Foundation, HandsOn Network and Volunteer Centers of California. A former appointee to the Marin County Women’s Commission, past President of the Marin National Organization for Women, and a former member of the Marin Independent Journal Editorial Board, Linda was inducted into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

cutmypiclisaLisa C. Doran, CPA
Doran & Associates
Session led: Compliance/Audit & Form 990

Lisa C. Doran, CPA is licensed in the State of California, with more than 20 years’ experience auditing nonprofit corporations, especially 501(c)(3) organizations, and affordable housing partnerships.  Her areas of expertise include performing audits in compliance with Government Auditing Standards and OMB Circular A-133 (Single Audits), consolidations, and internal control studies.  She also has performed numerous audits in compliance with HUD and CalHFA requirements, as well as cost certifications for submission to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. She is a member of CalCPA and the AICPA, as well as a member of the Marin Discussion Group and the Not-for-Profit Discussion Group of the San Francisco Chapter of the CalCPA. 

cutmypiccleveCleveland Justis
Principal, Potrero Group
Session led: Strategy

An accomplished organizational leader in the environmental and entrepreneurial arenas for the past 20 years, Cleveland Justis is a principal at the Potrero Group. A noted expert on social and environmental entrepreneurship, Cleveland has worked and consulted widely throughout numerous companies, nonprofits, and governmental organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency, The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, National Park Service, and many leading corporations. He has taught and lectured at top universities including UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. Cleve studied biology and environmental sciences at Swarthmore College and the University of California, Berkeley. He received his MBA in strategic management and finance at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and is pursuing his PhD in Social Entrepreneurship at UC Davis.  Cleveland currently serves as a trustee of the Marin Community Foundation.

cutmypicjohnJohn Kenyon
Nonprofit Technology Educator & Strategist
Session led: Brand 

John Kenyon is a nationally recognized authority on nonprofit technology. He is an educator and consultant who’s worked exclusively with nonprofits for over 25 years providing advice, teaching seminars and writing articles. John helps good causes make smart decisions about technology. He is the author of “Effective Online Communications” in the book Managing Technology to Meet your Mission (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2009), an adjunct professor at both the University of San Francisco and Sonoma State University. Recent keynotes include the Alliance for Children & Families’ Executive Leadership Institute, Australia’s Connecting Up conference and the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute. John has been a featured speaker across the US, England, Australia and online.

cutmypicannieAnnie-Rose London
Executive Director, Berrett-Koehler Foundation
Session led: Equity & Diversity 

Annie-Rose draws together the fields of sustainable design, community arts, and youth empowerment through education, coaching and non-profit management. Annie-Rose works with non-profits, grassroots community organizations and organic farms throughout North America to develop empowering educational experiences and effective organizational structure. She has worked with non-profit organizations such as Eden Village Camp, O.U.R. Community Association and Ecovillage, and CityArts! For Youth, and founded the community art organization BUME (Brown University Movement Experiments).  As a certified Empowerment Life Coach, Annie-Rose works with young change-makers to lead balanced, visionary and integrated lives.  In addition to her work at BK Foundation, Annie-Rose serves as a lead mentor with Wilderness Torah in Berkeley, Ca.

cutmypicivoreeIvoree Robinson, CIC, CISR
Insurance Consultant to Nonprofits & Social Enterprises, ProInsurance
Session led: Compliance/Insurance

Ivoree joined ProInsurance in 2011 and has more than 10 years of commercial insurance experience. She was born and raised in inner city Los Angeles and later moved to Sacramento where she earned her degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. Over the course of her career Ivoree earned both the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) professional designations from The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. She is currently in the process of completing her designation as a Certified Risk Manager (CRM). Ivoree has spent her time at ProInsurance providing exceptional service to clients and is currently leading their initiative to serve Nonprofits & Social Enterprise Organizations. While she has clients in other business sectors, she is profoundly passionate about working within the Nonprofit and Social Enterprise sectors. This passion comes from her very humble and challenged upbringing in South Central Los Angeles.

cutmypicsteveSteven Tulsky
Principal, Benemetrics Consulting Group
Session led: Nonprofit Finance & Accounting

Steven H. Tulsky, Principal of the Benemetrics Consulting Group, has over thirty years of experience as a financial professional. As a consultant, he has advised clients in both the nonprofit and commercial sectors on financial planning, analysis, information gathering, capital formation, and transactional matters. His internal organizational positions have included roles as Chief Financial Officer, Director of Finance, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer of large, medium, and small public and private firms. Mr. Tulsky has taught Nonprofit Finance to graduate and undergraduate students at a San Francisco Bay Area adult education university, and to attendees at various social-sector workshops. He currently serves on the boards of five nonprofit organizations, and has been an active leadership volunteer with the local chapter of a major national social service agency for over fifteen years. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.