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Executive Leadership Academy

WVDO's Executive Leadership Academy Program Structure and Components:

This 11-month program combines a mix of skill building and leadership case studies to develop professional fundraisers, support new executive directors and evaluate skills needed for leadership teams. A dynamic Leadership Challenge practicum will support participants in using their new skills while tackling a real-world challenge. The program culminates in a 2day/1night Leadership Retreat. Special emphasis on networking, peer coaching and accessing community resources will help participants build a support network that will enhance their skills today as well as provide them peer mentors as an Executive Director.

Program Objectives:

  • Participants will understand the role of the Executive Director in a Nonprofit Organization and understand the attributes that make for a strong Executive Director.

  • Participants will be able to evaluate their skills and motivations for becoming an Executive Director, focus on areas needing growth, receive support services in these areas and see a difference in themselves.

  • Participants will build connections with cohort participants, class instructors, speakers, mentors and WVDO. These connections will provide a support network for the individuals throughout their career.

  • Participants will see themselves as Executive Directors and begin looking for expanded leadership roles in the nonprofit community.


If you are interested in being part of this program, please download the application and send in an email along with your resume, your LinkedIn profile, and a letter of recommendation. Applications open from September 1 - November 18, 2016.

Program Dates and Hours:

January 5, 2017 - November 2017 (only one meeting in August)

All classes will be held from 8:30 am -11:30 am, on the 1st & 2nd Thursday each month. Read more about the classes here

Mentoring meetings will be set up with individual mentors and will equal 2 hours per month. 

The Leadership Challenge will kick-off in early August which includes weekly accountability coaching and will equal approximately 4 hours per month.

Class hours are equal to 6 hours a month (two 3 hour classes), 2 hours for meeting with mentor, 2-4 hours per month in preparation for class = equaling 10-12 hours a month.

Program Fees:

The cost of this program is $3,250 ($3,000 early-bird for qualified applications pre-October 15th). This program is limited to 12 participants. Participants can set up a monthly payment plan if needed. Program costs include: Instructor time, facilitator time, mentor time, facility rental, breakfast before class, and organizational support.

Continued Support:

Alumni groups will be established on LinkedIn and at WVDO events and alumni will be invited back to participate in future Academies. Names of graduates will be published on the WVDO website and announcements of new graduates will be promoted to nonprofits throughout Oregon and SW Washington. WVDO Search Services will continue to support alumni with resume assistance, finding staff, building boards, etc.

Eligibility Requirements:

This program requires 100% attendance at all workshops and mentor meetings. Individuals must sign an agreement to participate and must have the support of their current organization to attend the required classes and meetings.

To qualify for participation in this program, individuals must have:

  • Current WVDO Membership
  • 3-5 years-experience as mid-senior level nonprofit leader

  • Managerial experience—which may include volunteers, staff, private or public sector

  • Direct interest in becoming or currently serving as an Executive Director at a nonprofit in the next 3-5 years


If you are interested in being part of this program, please download the application and send in an email along with your resume, your LinkedIn profile, and a letter of recommendation.

WVDO | 1220 SW Morrison St., Suite 425 | Box 5B | Portland, Oregon 97205 | TEL 503.274.1977