Excellence in Leadership Program (ELP)

Fostering excellence in leadership to create stronger, more sustainable Bay Area nonprofits.

Why the Excellence in Leadership Program?

The Excellence in Leadership Program (ELP) is a focused, immersive program with over 45 hours of teaching and coaching from expert faculty and
nonprofit professionals.

ELP has two main goals:

  • Develop strong personal leadership and problem solving skills
  • Apply these skills to the major nonprofit responsibilities and functions

The program is designed to guide participants through a logical and expert learning path. At the end of each day we share implementable tools and practical skills to apply immediately. Participants develop executive skills and a much deeper understanding of their executive responsibilities.

Who should apply? This program is designed for nonprofit leaders at the Executive Director and Senior Manager levels. Ideal candidates lead teams or manage individual contributors and are responsible for the overall health of the organization or a major function of the organization.

Registration deadline: Extended! Submit your application by Friday, March 4th.

Fall 2021 —
Dates Coming!

Program Details


Welcome & Orientation – Opening Remarks, ELP Program Overview, Introductions

A presentation and discussion facilitated by CVNL’s CEO.  Current nonprofit trends affecting the sector and nonprofit leaders (local, regional)

Cultivating leadership competencies that build personal resilience and  inspire others.

A deeper dive into leadership resilience, authenticity, and connection.

Tools to maximize strategic impact and lead through organizational change.

High impact program design that amplifies your organization and the people and communities you serve.

The essentials you need to lead, ask the right questions, evaluate and fiscally manage with confidence.

What it takes to create a culture of development in your organization. Strategies for donor prospecting and cultivation, tools for building a successful fundraising practice.

Roles and responsibilities of board members, decision-making, board continuity, and best governance practices.

9:00am-12:00pm. The connection between financial goals, marketing and donor acquisition, retention and motivation.

12:00pm-1:15pm. Participant De-Brief, Program Evaluation, Wrap-Up, Final Remarks, Sharing.

Our Faculty

Our faculty members are experienced and working professionals, who combine strong theoretical frameworks and real-life industry knowledge.

Knigi Glee
Marketing Growth Strategies

Knigi is Founder and Director of Glee Growth Strategies, a consulting firm operating in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Knigi’s experience extends to supporting sectors in consumer product goods, non-profit, government, and health and fitness industries. She specializes in customer acquisition, activation, retention, and upsell strategies.

Knigi analyzes program data and organizational infrastructures and blends clients’ insights for a deep understanding of user needs, habits and perceptions in developing growth initiatives. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.

Knigi currently lives in Oakland, California. She is a board member of Girls, Inc West Contra Costa County and Call of the Sea. Being that Knigi is an avid sailor, she combined her support for youth development and sailing, creating an opportunity to take a group from Girls, Inc. on a week-long sail from the San Francisco Bay to Point Reyes. Knigi loves to read, hike, and travel the world.

Melissa Irish
Fund Development Strategy

Melissa Irish, Managing Associate, Partnership Resources Group (PRG)

Melissa Irish is a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience raising private sector funds for nonprofits with budgets of $250,000 to $10 million. She spent a decade as a senior fund development staffer in health and human services, workforce development and environmental organizations before completing her MBA.
Following that, she established a consulting practice to serve nonprofits, from strategic planning, campaign counsel and development audits and plans, to feasibility studies for capital campaigns. Melissa specializes in creating effective individual giving programs, excelling in helping organizations build their capacity to raise major gifts. She applies innovative strategies from the for-profit arena to enhance the performance of nonprofit organizations. This perspective enables Melissa to understand the motives and priorities of diverse stakeholders and connect them with the organization’s mission and goals.

She engages all members of the leadership team including boards, senior management, development and program staff, as well as fundraising volunteers. In 2005, after living in Nicaragua, Melissa spent her time there working with impoverished communities and writing grants for school gardening and education projects for those most in need.

Linda Jacobs 
Know Your Sector, Board Governance

Linda Jacobs has served as the Chief Executive Officer with Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) since 2002. With over 30 years of combined executive and nonprofit management experience, Linda frequently presents on issues and trends in the nonprofit sector and consults with nonprofit leaders on board governance, succession planning, and leadership development..

Cleve Justis
Nonprofit Strategy

An accomplished organizational leader in the environmental and entrepreneurial arenas for the past 20 years, Ceveland Justis is a principal at the Potrero Group. Cleveland has worked and consulted widely throughout numerous companies, nonprofits, and governmental organizations. Throughout his career he has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs refine their visions and develop successful ventures.

Jonathan Kaufman
Values-Driven Leadership

Co-founder & Principal of Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies. In this role, Jonathan collaborates with nonprofits and social entrepreneurs all over the world, helping them expand and deepen their impact. He specializes in business and strategic planning, metrics development, community and millennial engagement, and impact assessment for a wide array of Third Plateau’s clients.


elliot levin
Elliot Levin
Strategic Fund Development

Elliot Levin, Founder and President, Partnership Resources Group (PRG)

Elliot Levin established PRG in 1990, to assist nonprofits with capital fundraising and financial development. As managing partner, Elliot serves as senior counsel on PRG’s projects and assembles the best team to meet the requirements of each individual project. Elliot draws upon his extensive background in public-private partnerships to assist organizations with growth and the funding necessary to achieve expansion. “ This often involves our getting into the client’s head, seeing things from their perspective and problem solving, before we move ahead,” Elliot says. When measuring financial opportunities, assessment comes first. Elliot adds, “ I enjoy the strategy and planning involved in large capital development, the creation of endowments and funding feasibility assessment.” Prior to founding PRG, Elliot managed nonprofits in Chicago, L.A. and San Francisco. His last position was CEO of one of the Bay Area’s largest, United Jewish Community Centers. Elliot is joined by PRG’s experienced team or professionals lending their energy, passion and expertise to every project. “ We also rely on a network of proven specialists who make themselves available,” says Elliot. “ We know how to get things done.”

p murillo cvnl

Patricia Murillo brings expertise in designing and facilitating people-centered learning experiences and leading organizations and initiatives to greater impact. With a background in education, social work and organizational development, she has taught at the high school and college level. She has served as an executive leader to several organizations including 11 years as the Executive Director of Alternatives in Action (AIA). Prior to joining the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership, Patricia served as a consultant with a focus on supporting organizations to better meet their mission by providing organizational development and executive coaching to leaders, boards and their teams. She holds a Bachelors from Vassar College and a Masters in Social Welfare (MSW) from UC Berkeley with a concentration in Management and Planning.

Reva Patwardhan

Reva Patwardhan is the founder of Greater Good Coaching. She has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a fundraiser, communications director, lobbyist, board member, facilitator, coach and diversity trainer.

For her individual and small group coaching clients, Reva holds space for courageous and liberating inquiry, so her clients can live and lead with confidence, clarity and purpose. While she works with all genders and ethnicities, she specializes in supporting women of Asian and Middle Eastern descent.

Reva co-facilitates small groups with the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She serves on the Board of Directors at Rethink Media, and Cross Cultural Communications, Inc. She is also a coach with Leaderspring, LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics), and Aletheia: A School of Integral Unfoldment. She is a certified Integral Coach.

Mara Perez
Amplifying Outcomes – Strategy in Action

Mara works with non-profit and business leaders on research and writing, program development and evaluation, and strategic plans. Her work focuses on programs and organizations serving or aiming to serve Latinos and other populations of color in the United States.
In her twenty years of consulting, Mara has served over 100 organizations. Mara earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Chicago. She is a Research Fellow at Dominican University of California concentrating on Latino entrepreneurship, and LeaderSpring Center, focusing on leadership in the non-profit sector and women of color in the tech sector. As a speaker, Mara has given presentations in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S.
Mara was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and lives in Greenbrae. She loves water, you can see her swimming around in the San Francisco Bay and she is a certified scuba diver. Mara loves practicing her skills in oil painting, acquired at a young age. Mara values doing good, enjoying and fostering peace and kindness, and always keep learning.

Steve Tulsky
Strategic Fund Development

Principal of the Benemetrics Consulting Group, Tulsky 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 current consultancy specializes in providing contract Chief Financial Officer advisory services to medium-sized Bay Area nonprofit agencies.


Sponsored in part by:

If you have any questions about the ELP or other CVNL training opportunities, contact:

Melissa Hersh at mhersh@cvnl.org

Cancellation policy: If plans change and you are no longer able to attend, we will transfer your enrollment and payment to the next program cycle. Funds must be applied and used within a 6 (six) month period. We do not offer refunds.