Excellence in Leadership Program (ELP)

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

Excellence in Leadership Program

The Excellence in Leadership Program (ELP) is a focused, immersive program with over 30 hours of teaching and coaching from expert faculty and
nonprofit professionals.

Earn a Certificate of Completion in Excellence in Leadership!

Spring 2023: March 21 – May 23.

10 half-day sessions in-person at the San Rafael Office.

Free Information Session Wednesday, February 22, 12pm – 1 pm. Via Zoom.

Excellence in Leadership Program (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.

Register for our FREE information session and save. Participants receive 10% discount on ELP tuition.

CVNL announces new scholarships for BIPOC nonprofit leaders in Marin, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Counties. Learn more.

Program Details

Spring 2023 Schedule

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

Leadership Compass, CVNL Learning & Leadership Director, Scott Peterson;

Leadership Styles, Know the Sector, CVNL CEO Linda Jacobs. 

Participants uncover the key aspects of organizational culture, how to define it, and how to lead an organization with it.

Leaders balance compassion, empathy, and accountability to inspire and coach their teams.

Create an environment of community and a culture of belonging.

Tools to maximize strategic impact and lead through organizational change.

This session is designed to teach practical skills and techniques to make communicating with others more effective. Participants will be involved in activities designed to increase awareness as to the importance of effective communication strategies and the ways in which they positively impact relationships throughout the organization.

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.

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..

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.

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.


Tom Hayashi
CVNL Chief Capacity Building Officer

Tom comes to CVNL with over 20 years of fundraising, senior management, and consulting experience which represents direct engagements with over 100 organizations on an array of capacity-building projects and programming.

He proudly identifies as a cis-gendered gay Asian Pacific Islander, first-generation immigrant, former foster youth, and first in his family to graduate from college. He finds his passion for social and ecological justice in his personal background, cultural identity, mindful practices, and relationships with the community.

Immediately prior to joining CVNL, Tom served as the Chair and Program Director of the Department of Leadership and Management (DLM) consisting of graduate-level degree programs at Saybrook University, and Associate Professor of Human Resources of Bovard College at the University of Southern California (USC). Tom’s professional highlights include leading public policy and advocacy efforts in Washington DC during the Obama administration and serving as the Executive Director for OCA-APA Advocates a national civil rights organization representing the Asian Pacific Islander communities. He is often sought as a diversity, inclusion, and equity speaker, trainer, and consultant specializing in diversity readiness assessments, equity-oriented leadership development, and cultural humility programming.

Tom has earned his doctorate and a master’s degree from Fielding Graduate University in Human and Organizational Systems, a master’s in Education from California State University East Bay, and a bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from Thomas Edison State University. His past and present professional credentials include Certified Management Consultant through the Institute of Management Consultants, Associate Certified Coach from the International Coaching Federation, Certified Master Coach from the Center for Coaching Certification, and Certified Fundraising Executive from CFRE International. He is an active member and contributor of the American Psychological Association, Society for Human Resources Management, the Nonprofit Consultants Network of the Institute of Management Consultants, and the Organizational Development Network.

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.”

CVNL Ana Estrada Daniels Instructor Dare to Lead Excellence in Leadership
Ana Estrada Daniels
Daring Leadership

As founder and CEO of Anavo Solutions — with over 20 years of leadership development experience — Ana recognizes the power of people, and uses a personalized, holistic coaching process to bring out the unique qualities and skills of each and every client. “My team and I work closely with individuals, teams, and organizations to develop their capacity to lead and influence at all levels”.

Areas of expertise and passion include working to build a world where leaders are:

• Courageous
• Empathetic
• Collaborative
• Inclusive
• Curious
• Mindful

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.

Elaine Tokolahi
CVNL Director of Volunteer Services

Elaine Tokolahi is a third-generation Marin resident and has over a decade of experience empowering volunteers and nonprofits. She began her career as a Tonga National Volunteer, where she served as a high school teacher in the South Pacific. Inspired by her experience, she went on to manage the Tonga National Volunteer Service’s host organization, the Tonga National Youth Congress, as its first Director.

While in that role, she was appointed to international committees affiliated with the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations, where she advocated for the inclusion of young people’s rights into public policy. Upon returning to the US, she worked at the Global Fund for Women where she helped women’s rights organizations in Asia and the Pacific secure core funding. Elaine’s career took a local turn when she became a Partnership Specialist for immigrant and rural communities at the US Census Bureau, where she focused on building partnerships with grassroots leaders.

She then spent close to five years at the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, focusing her efforts on making national programming relevant to local underserved communities. She also spent those years supervising nearly a dozen AmeriCorps members, which she found absolutely rewarding. Before joining CVNL, Elaine was the Director of Programs at San Francisco Community Agencies Responding to Disaster (SF CARD), where she provided award-wining consulting services to nonprofits and faith-based organizations in emergency planning and continuity planing.

Her personal favorite volunteer roles include reviewing scholarship applications, judging college student innovation contests, and serving as a Board Member for the Marin Interfaith Council.

CVNL Ines DeLuna Volunteer Engagement Disaster Services
Ines DeLuna
CVNL Manager, Volunteer Engagement & Disaster Services

Born and raised in the Napa Valley, Ines DeLuna has been very involved in community empowerment and education throughout the State of California, and has over 20 years of experienced leadership.

Ines took her first leap into public office in 2003 when she was elected to the Saint Helena School Board and served our students and educators for nearly a decade. In 2011, she continued her service as a community representative at the Napa County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Napa Valley Vine Trail Board, and the Mexican-American Vintners Association. 

Fast forward to today, she continues her spirit of service as a board member of F.I.E.L.D by Cesar Chavez, President of the Napa County Latinx Democratic Club, and the elected Area 6 Trustee for the Napa Valley College. Ines holds these family values close, and brings them to every activity she is engaged with: courage, hard work, service, unity, and compassion. 

Ines has also accumulated decades of public service focused on local businesses, education, and making her community a welcoming place for people of every background.

In her free time she likes to spend time with her two adult sons and her fur baby Churro. 

Shannon Hughes
Enlivened Studios

Shannon is a facilitator and speaker with a calling to enliven creativity, confidence, and easeful collaboration in teams of all shapes and sizes.

In her practice, Enlivened Studios, she uses experiential teaching practices to break down cross-team silos and embolden transformational leadership.

With 20+ years of corporate marketing and HR strategy experience, plus a lifetime of proven leadership, performance, and creative devotion, Shannon combines skill + heart into every Enlivened Studios session. 

Through this work, she’s on a mission to help people live fully, lead consciously and impact the world with joy and collective aliveness. 


Sponsored in part by:

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

Scott Peterson at speterson@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.