How Might We See the World Differently? Leadership for a Changing City

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.” ~ Mary Catherine


This article poses questions about nonprofit leadership development in a complex and changing urban environment. We ask: What does nonprofit leadership for change look like in a city as diverse and dynamic as Toronto? How can we support new forms of leadership for change in the social services sector? What shifts in our present practices are required to support leadership for change?

We approach answers to these questions through our experience with the Emerging Leaders Program, a nonprofit management training and leadership development initiative of the Metcalf Foundation, the United Way of Greater Toronto, and the Schulich School of Business at York University.1 From our privileged vantage point as funders and co-creators, we have had the chance to observe the program in action and learn from participants and faculty for almost three years. These observations and learnings are the basis for our views on how approaches to leadership development must change to prepare a new generation for emerging urban realities.

In this article, we posit that there are three aspects of leadership that require more attention; namely, the capacity of our sector to support upcoming leaders to think creatively and collectively, to create compelling visions, and to realize their full professional potential. We conclude by inviting nonprofit organizations and their funders to join us in giving these aspects greater emphasis in future initiatives aimed at equipping and empowering leaders committed to social change through the provision of social services.

1. Seeing the Leadership Context Differently

Over the last ten years, the landscape of leadership in the nonprofit social services sector has experienced dramatic change. The major forces behind this change are powerful, complex, and often paradoxical.2 For example:

• Changemakers know continuous adaptation and realignment is the secret to successfully navigating new terrain, yet many funding arrangements that provide the mainstay of revenue for nonprofits remain simplistic and rigid. Leaders who are being required to ‘think outside the box’ to achieve realignment frequently find themselves boxed in.

• Poverty among many Toronto residents has become more deeply entrenched and runs across many dimensions, but services designed to alleviate poverty remain fragmented and partial. People may need food, housing, counseling, and employment support, but rarely do these services come together to meet the needs of the whole person.

• Increasing attention is being paid to demographic pressures related to the impending retirement of the current generation of baby boomers while the opportunities created by the growth of newer racially and ethno-culturally diverse communities are too often overlooked. Their nascent leadership potential remains largely unrecognized and untapped.

The disconnected nature of these paradoxes is evidence that mechanical and linear approaches to problem solving are less effective in an unpredictable, constantly evolving environment. MIT professor and author Peter Senge explains:

From a very early age, we are taught to break apart problems, to fragment the world. This apparently makes complex tasks and subjects more manageable, but we pay a hidden, enormous price. We can no longer see the consequences of our actions; we lose our intrinsic sense of connection to the larger whole. When we then try to ‘see the big picture,’ we try to reassemble the fragments in our minds, to list and organize the pieces. But, as physicist David Bohm says, the task is futile—similar to trying to reassemble the fragments of a broken mirror to see a true reflection. Thus, after a while we give up trying to see the whole altogether.3

This fragmentation creates challenges for leadership development in our sector that are different and distinct from other sectors. We see:

Inadequate Funding Arrangements

In the past ten years, key funders have shifted their focus from multi-year flexible funding to targeted, short-term, contractual funding for the delivery of narrow service outcomes. Burdensome accountability requirements are resulting in reporting overload. As the 2006 Independent Blue Ribbon Panel points out, “Paradoxically, with shorter-term projects, unstable funding and short-term hiring, the reporting requirements from multiple funders have increased. The compliance burden is higher but the level of funding lower.”4 Accountability requirements are tending to focus primarily on administrative outputs rath—er than on the impact of financial investments on individual and community well-being. The Canadian Council on Social Development’s Katherine Scott underscores this point in a 2003 report called Funding Matters. “The capacity of the nonprofit sector to fulfill its important role in Canadian society is being undermined and eroded by new funding strategies that are intended to increase accountability, self-sufficiency and competition,” she concludes. They have the further effect of forcing people who need assistance into a confusing maze of discrete services and partial solutions—housing referral here, food bank there, English language training somewhere else. Other consequences include the erosion of capacity to deliver programs and manage organizations, recruit and retain staff, and collaborate in the search for creative ways to approach tough issues.

Increasing Ethno-Cultural Diversity

By 2017, Statistics Canada projects that more than half of the population of Toronto will belong to a visible minority group.5 This demographic trend points to two related challenges: nurturing the leadership potential of diverse communities within nonprofit workplaces and removing barriers that inhibit or prevent career advancement. This segment of the nonprofit workforce is an immense resource and is not well represented at the senior levels of organizations. While comprehensive statistics do not exist in Canada on the diversity of the sector’s senior leadership, recent U.S. research indicates that it is limited. with people of colour leading only 16% of the 2,200 organizations surveyed.6 On the other hand, private sector employers are increasingly embracing the business case for diversity. The RBC Financial Group is one such employer, having gone on the record with its view that “smart employers recognize the benefits of diversity in gender, race and national origin, building a skilled workforce with a variety of cultural backgrounds, and that this will become even more important in the years ahead.”7 Corporate Canada has begun to explore the experiences and perceptions of visible minority managers and executives with the intent of benefiting from the ethnic diversity of Canada’s workforce.8

A Generational Leadership Transition

Canadian and U.S. research also indicates that an unprecedented number of nonprofit leaders will be leaving their positions in the next decade. Baby boomers have begun to retire or pursue other work-related opportunities. A study from the Calgary Centre for Non-Profit Management reveals that 82% of senior leaders anticipate leaving their positions in the next five years.9Daring to Lead 2006: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership concluded that three out of four nonprofit executive directors in the United States anticipate leaving their work within five years.10 The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2004 Survey of Executive Directors also reinforces these American trends. The foundation expects the rate of executive transitions to increase over the next five years with an anticipated 65% of respondents indicating they would likely move on by 2009.11

However, it is this forecast that has caught our attention:

Looking into the future, even more structural problems loom. A national cross-leadership shortage is probable, and nonprofits will face significant challenges competing with government and the for-profit companies for talent. This competition may have particular implications for seeking diverse leadership in the sector.12

2. Seeing Leadership Development Differently

This context has led United Way of Greater Toronto and the Metcalf Foundation to think about leadership differently and to explore new ways to develop it. We came to realize that change depends on investments in people and their capacity to comprehend and engage complex issues. This insight led our two organizations to pursue different leadership development strategies reflecting our unique missions, mandates, and priorities. In 2004, we recognized our mutual interest in supporting and strengthening the leadership of the nonprofit social services sector. The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) grew out of discussions about related issues and the importance of a collaborative response. It has two components: an academic program and an alumni network.

The goal of the academic program is to equip a new generation of nonprofit leadership—a generation that reflects the richness of Toronto’s ethno-cultural diversity and is capable of leveraging this asset for the common good. This initiative focuses on middle managers in the nonprofit social services sector, especially those who come from diverse ethno-racial communities. It is designed to capitalize on their skills, knowledge, and experiences to augment their capacity to influence and contribute to change.

In partnership with the Schulich School of Business at York University, participants are provided an intensive formal educational opportunity through classroom sessions, retreats, and off-site learning activities over 23 days in a ninemonth period. University faculty, subject experts, and experienced practitioners from government, business, and the wider community facilitate learning in the areas of personal leadership, critical thinking, complexity theory, power and diversity, strategy, financial management, human resources, communications, and government and governance. Upon successful completion of the program, participants receive a certificate in management and leadership.

ELP participants mirror Toronto’s nonprofit social services sector and its demographic diversity. Their organizations work with people at every age and stage and provide assistance with such issues as emergency food and shelter, education and employment, settlement and integration, health, and longer-term housing. Of the close to 75 current or former participants, over half are from visible minority communities including the Caribbean Canadian, South Asian, Latin and Central American, Native Canadian, African Canadian, and South East Asian communities. As a group, they speak over 20 languages. ELP participants include a former director of a multi-million-dollar international development micro-enterprise project in Bangladesh with a MBA from the Netherlands, a youth services manager with a background as a visual artist and a published writer, and a Franco-Canadian program director in a rapidly diversifying, linguistically specific social service organization who holds a Master’s degree in Cinema Studies.

At the end of the second year of the program, we identified these early outcomes:

• More Career Advancement

Out of a total of 47 graduates from our 2005 and 2006 classes, 30% have been promoted within their organizations or within another organization in the sector. Of these, 42% percent have become executive directors of nonprofit social service organizations, including a neighbourhood centre, a men’s shelter, a community health centre, and two women’s shelters.13

• More Collaboration and Networking

Alumni are working together both formally and informally as a result of the relationships forged during the program; they have hired each other into management positions, undertaken joint projects, facilitated learning in each others’ organizations, and acted as informal advisors.

• More Interest in Leadership Development

Even at the third year, the number and quality of applicants to the program has continued to grow and has yet to reach a saturation point—a trend which is common to many leadership development programs following the initial first two years. To date, the largest number of applications received was in 2007 for the program’s third annual intake. In this intake, we were interested to note that candidates representing the arts, environment, healthcare, and government sectors also applied.

• More Influence and Potential for Expansion

As we consider ourselves co-learners with participants, the program has influenced the design and implementation of other initiatives within our respective organizations. It has also been attracting the attention of nonprofits in other regions and funders as a model meriting replication.

These first indicators of program effectiveness, especially the number of new executive directors who are graduates, are encouraging. However, we want to emphasize that the overarching goal of the program is not necessarily for participants to obtain positions of greater responsibility. We hope the program will do more than replicate the current hierarchical leadership system. Obtaining positions of greater responsibility is an excellent outcome if it is linked to change orientation and change capacity. We also recognize that horizontal influence and the ability to support emergent forms of leadership is not limited to those who possess hierarchical power. The system change required to take advantage of the leadership potential in the sector involves more than developing a new generation of executive directors. It means seeing leadership shared more widely among people working in different roles and in different corners of an organization or community—a collaborative effort shaped by the context, not located in a few positions within the organizational hierarchy.

The majority of people entering middle management positions in the nonprof—it social services sector today arrive as accomplished direct service staff. A smaller but growing number are internationally trained professionals, sometimes from a profession that is completely outside of social services. Both of these groups exhibit leadership traits and management capabilities but have had little, if any, concentrated leadership development or formal management training within the sector. One of our assumptions is that these individuals are organizational ‘glue’ or connective tissue. They help their organizations adapt and change, keep employees inspired and motivated, translate senior management’s vision into practice at the service level, and interpret community realities and employee issues to the senior levels. Middle managers perform a complicated balancing act—‘managing up’ and ‘managing down’, often simultaneously on the same issue. Their vantage point enables them to see where change or support is needed within their organizations, but they often lack control over the resources required to implement the change. Nationally, there is a dearth of resources or opportunities aimed at the development of leadership among middle managers. What does exist is geared toward the management aspects of their work.

In the next cycles of the academic program, we want to find a new way of seeing the challenges and opportunities of ‘managing up/managing down’ and leveraging the unique features of this position within organizational life. There is a new paradigm emerging that does not assume that leadership resides with positional authority in organizations. Rather, this paradigm prompts new ways of thinking such as “where in the structure is the leadership?” and acknowledges “leadership is a quality, not a position.”14

Upon graduation, participants become members of the Emerging Leaders Alumni Network. This support network of 47 alumni to date is an extension of the classroom, providing on-going opportunities to share knowledge and apply learnings. The first group of alumni envisioned the network as a community of practice rooted in “the generative power of relationships.”15 They imagined it as a place for inspiration and information, camaraderie and challenge. While the concept of an alumni network has always been central to the ELP theory of change, the extent to which it has grown and will continue is a product of the emergent energy and direction of the group.

In fact, the idea originated with interviewees in the first year of the program. Several had been engaged in other leadership development opportunities, and they urged us to lift our sights beyond the formal classroom for greater impact. They cited experiences with other opportunities in which the aftermath of the program never lived up to the collaborative learning potential and camaraderie created in the classroom. Over and over again, we heard about the collective production of meaning—its power and importance within a deliberately constructed setting where participants had the time and space to learn, reflect, and share. When individuals struggling in disparate settings with similar issues come together, share their experiences, and engage in sense-making, they said new ways of seeing are possible.

To address the challenge of leveraging the initial potential, we were persuaded that the pedagogical power of classroom-based leadership programs could only truly be harnessed if coupled with a strong applied learning component post program. This applied learning component is stimulated by knowledge acquired in the classroom, not bounded by it. Theories of change are stretched and tested in the real world of work. The network is the vehicle through with we bring theory into practice. It helps us ensure that “every piece [relates] to Monday morning.” As a 2006 study on nonprofit leadership capacity confirms, “No matter how good the experience is, whether or not they’re all holding hands at the end and singing, it’s not good enough if they can’t have something specific to do Monday morning.”16

Currently, applied learning activities are organized into three streams:17

individual practice intended to deepen personal learning in the areas of leadership and change,

sites of practice intended to broaden the learning within organizations on the most valuable concepts and practices from the ELP curriculum, such as critical thinking, and,

circles of practice intended to widen the learning to include those linked to program members who share an interest in making change, not only ELP graduates and their organizations.

3. Seeing Change Differently

When we started down this road in 2004, we did not expect this program would significantly alter our initial theory of change—but it has. We had assumed that the program would help create bonding capital by bringing individuals at similar positional levels in organizations together. This kind of capital would facilitate information sharing and problem solving among a group of people from homogeneous positions in their organizations. As we watched participants move from sharing information and calling each other for informal advice to linking with each other on joint funding initiatives and program design across sub-sectors, we realized that bonding capital was turning into bridging capital. As the first class graduated, we were astonished to learn that 42% had moved on to higher employment within six months. Within that group, there were five new executive directors, evidence that bridging capital was becoming social capital through new network linkages to potential institutional change.

Now our theory of change revolves around leveraging bridging capital into social capital through the generative power of networks. The network lens is helping us understand the value and importance of informal relationships in supporting emergent forms of leadership in the nonprofit social services sector. Through the ELP network, we are looking for ways to encourage peers to build strong, diverse, flexible relationships, collaborate on many small, overlapping projects and initiatives, and experiment and learn through exposure to new ideas and resources.18 We believe that it is through continual experimentation, working and learning in new ways with each other that there can be movement to a new paradigm of leadership. This emerging paradigm supports the complexity and mitigates against the fragmentation of the environment in which nonprofit organizations pursue social change.

In our leadership development work, two relatively new ways of responding to this kind of environment are enabling the emergence of leadership in new forms: building adaptive capacity and supporting generative learning. Adaptive capacity is the ability to continually take in and reformulate information to produce better results. It enables people to challenge assumptions, reformulate problems, envision new ways of coming at issues, and identify where there may be leverage for change. Generative learning is a partner to adaptive capacity. It occurs when people with diverse ideas, perspectives, and lived experience come together for the type of dialogue that produces deep ownership of solutions. “Generative learning occurs only when people are striving to accomplish something that matters deeply to them. In fact, the whole idea of generative learning—‘expanding your ability to create’—will seem abstract and meaningless until people become excited about some vision they truly want to accomplish.”19

As we continue to learn, we are deepening our commitment to leadership development approaches that foster adaptive capacity and generative learning. Specifically, we are turning our attention to three aspects of leadership: generating ideas, generating visions, and generating voice.

Generating Ideas

Leaders are people who have the capacity to encourage and engage others in collective sense-making. When organizations begin to harness the ideas generated from within, they move toward a common purpose—the precursor to shared vision and meaningful change. While thought without action cannot create change, no meaningful change ever came about without a process of sense-making to create shared meaning. In times of complexity and rapid change, when organizations seem hostage to events and crises, sometimes the most radical act we can engage in as leaders is to create the space to read, think, and talk. As we watched ELP participants share ideas, generate new connections, and build bridges across programs, organizations, and geography, their experience reinforced this point.

Is our sectoral capacity to combine thinking and reflecting with action diminishing dangerously? We do not mean the tactical thinking that helps us get through a day of many challenges. Rather, we mean the reflective making of meaning that binds people together so that they can move beyond crisis to change. There are many great ideas in our sector, some of which come to fruition, resulting in creative and worthwhile enterprises. But there are many more that lose their genius because the time for deep thinking and organizational learning is not diffuse enough or deep enough within our structures to liberate and nurture the potential that exists. Most managers and direct service workers say that they can barely keep up with the day-to-day demands of complex client needs, accountability, and contract requirements let alone taking the time to read a provocative article or take in a new theory on leadership. If we are ever to achieve the change we seek, one of the first steps is to nurture generative learning by building thinking and reflection time into organizational and community life.

We are learning that if we want to support work that goes beyond programmatic responses to social need, we must take responsibility for initiating this “outside the box” thinking. We must make the effort to explain the areas “around the box.” If we want to support systemic change, we need to provide the resources to break apart that system and show how wider-scale change can be linked to program activities. If we are interested in innovation, we need to support learning processes that enable organizations to articulate innovation and fail from time to time while trying.

At the end of the ELP program, a graduate said, “What I miss most is the group learning. We were so powerful when we were together, when we were sitting around sharing experiences and developing new ways of seeing.”

Generating Visions

Leaders have the ability to articulate and speak passionately about what matters to them. They are firmly grounded in the current reality, but not thwarted by it. Brenda Zimmerman speaks about the journey toward social change as being rooted in hope. She defines hope as doing something, regardless of the outcome, because it is simply the right thing to do. In contrast, she thinks of optimism as doing something because you thing it will have a positive effect.20

Although nonprofit social services exist to support people in reaching their potential, much of the work operates out of a mental model of scarcity—of deficits and roadblocks to moving forward. Contrast this way of seeing the world to a mental model of abundance out of which individuals recognize their assets and envision many possibilities.

Is the sector’s capacity to generate visions being eroded? We do not mean the pro forma visions attached to mission statements but, rather, the kind of visions that help us see the bigger picture, find meaning and purpose, and light our way forward—visions that describe the change we want to see in society and how what we do each day brings us one step closer, visions that speak to possibility despite significant obstacles. How might we rekindle hope and discover our personal and collective visions?

One path forward is for us to examine whether our practices support organizations to create understanding and alignment of visions or force conformity and compliance with external expectations. We are experimenting with asking different questions in our engagement with agencies such as “What matters to you and the community you work with right now? What has you most excited and hopeful about your work? Who are you as an organization and what do you want to become? How are you coming together in your organization and with others to build toward the change you want to see happen?” We see promise in moving beyond a professional development approach to leadership to one that views leadership as a process for moving from individual visions to a shared vision.

As one ELP member said, “Leaders are people who can articulate their own vision in such a way that helps people to link with their own sense of purpose and meaningfulness in their lives.”

Generating Voice

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?…Your playing small does not serve the world.” In an intriguing confluence in the 2006 ELP, two different instructors referred to this quote by Marianne Williamson. Each time, in response, a student pulled the same quote out of his wallet. In subsequent conversations, all three spoke of their own journey of committing their whole selves to leadership for change.

Is our sector creating resonance or dissonance between who we are and what we do? The exploration of the first phase of leadership development, discovering who we are and the flaws and talents we bring, has led us to this question. Too often, systemic inequities support fragmentation and mitigate against knowing people as they really are. How might we create organizational structures that support people in finding their voice and realizing the full potential they can bring to a process of change?

Some nonprofit employers have found ways to do this and have been able to incorporate individual hopes for change into the organization’s vision. Others have not. In ELP discussions, we have heard stories of both kinds of organizations.

Our first story comes from an ELP graduate who came to Canada as a refugee. She works for an organization that knows how to read between the lines of prospective employees’ resumes. When she arrived in Canada, both at the border and then again in a government-sponsored employment assistance program, this woman was instructed to play down her considerable professional experience and to play up her basic technical skills. Consequently, she found an entry-level secretarial position in social services this way, but it did not take long for her employer to realize that there was more to her story than she had shared in the hiring process. When asked outright if her resume was incomplete, she revealed that it was—even though she feared dismissal for not telling the whole truth on paper. Instead, recognizing her potential, she was promoted and has advanced quickly through the ranks of the organization. Her employer had the wisdom to see her experience as an asset and her courage and resilience as leadership qualities.

In a very different story another ELP graduate told us about how she suppresses her potential. She characterizes her organization as one that has difficulty creating space for diverse “cultural norms, traditions and different ways of working.” She explains:

What I bring to my organization is that I am a young black person. I see and experience the same barriers as the community I work with, so I see where barriers exist in my own organization. But my organization is not in tune with particular “isms”— such as around race—so the barriers the community and staff experience are not planned for or addressed.

I can’t give 110% in my job because I know that it is too risky for me and for the organization. For the organization, it breaks out of their comfort zone or traditional way of doing things. For me, I hold back as at the end of the day it is about self-protection. I have tried to make change from within—but now I take my energies outside. I stir the pot but I no longer give enough to make a great meal!

One potential path forward draws people into leadership development from all levels of an organization and does not focus the learning only on a specific individual. This may help us to break out of the mindset of “you are your position” and recognize the multiplicity of ways people can contribute. We also think that if we want to support people in finding and sustaining a commitment to realizing our professional potential, we must start exploring the ways that the power dynamics in our organizations may support or detract from the movement toward real change.

4. Seeing the Future of Leadership Development Differently

We invite those interested in supporting the future potential of leadership development in our changing city to join us in giving greater emphasis to generating ideas, vision, and voice. The complex context in which nonprofit leaders are now leading has generated not only a myriad of challenges but also of possibilities. We offer our learnings from the Emerging Leaders Program to the ongoing conversation about the future of leadership development: combining classroom learning and applied knowledge, practicing leadership at multiple levels and across networks, and focusing on adaptive capacity and generative learning.

Yet even as we put this perspective forward as a potential resolution, we acknowledge the tensions in this diverse and dynamic city when it comes to how best to bridge and leverage the many emergent forms of leadership within organizations and across communities. Given our urban complexity, these tensions are inevitable, and part of our job in supporting a new paradigm of leadership is to learn to hold, not dissipate, them. The tension that comes from difference is difficult but also creative and, in the end, inevitable as the vision of leadership for a changing city can only be one in which many people see themselves in the picture.

What that picture looks like is unclear. But that lack of clarity works in our favour because it creatively “dislodges our assumption that what is given is necessary.”21 If we can work to name our commonalities, we can bridge many divides and take action for change. If we can further live with—and learn from— our differences, we can go beyond change to transformation.

While the opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect their institutions, we would like to thank all members and supporters of the ELP community—participants, faculty, and the staff of our respective organizations—for many rich and stimulating conversations over the past three years. We have learned much from your insights and experiences. We would like to acknowledge the following individuals and thank them for their contributions to this article: Sandy Houston, Amanuel Melles, Marlon Merraro, Christine Miranda, David Montemurro, Sonia Munoz, Cara Naiman, and Leslie Wright. In particular, we would like to thank Patricia Thompson for her sensemaking capacity.


1. The Metcalf Foundation is a Toronto-based private family foundation committed to addressing the root causes of poverty, ensuring the ecological integrity of our natural and working lands, and sustaining the vibrancy of the professional performing arts. The United Way of Greater Toronto (UWGT) is an incorporated nonprofit charity focused on improving the long-term health of our community. UWGT runs Canada’s largest annual fundraising campaign in support of 200 nonprofit organizations providing a vital network of support. The Schulich School of Business is a world class business school providing programs at the undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and executive education levels.

2. Change management expert Gareth Morgan explains that those who would manage in chaotic circumstances “must recognize these ‘forks in the road’ and create a context supporting the new line of development by finding interventions that transcend the paradoxes or make them irrelevant … The task hinges on finding new understandings or new actions that can reframe the paradox in a way that unleashes system energies in favor of the new line of development.”

3. Senge, Peter. The Fifth Discipline. (New York: 1990), p. 206.

4. From Red Tape to Clear Results, The Report of the Independent Blue Ribbon Panel on Grant and Contribution Programs, December 2006.

5. Belanger, A., and E. Malefant. Population Projections of Visible Minority Groups, Canada, Provinces and Regions 2001–2017 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada 2005).

6. Change Ahead: The 2004 Nonprofit Executive Leadership and Transition Survey, Annie E. Casey Foundation, p.6. The data was generated from the largest study on transitions and leadership in the sector to date.

7. RBC Financial Group. The Diversity Advantage: A Case for Canada’s 21st Century Economy (Presented at the 10th International Metropolis Conference, October 2005).

8. Career Advancement in Corporate Canada: A Focus on Visible Minorities—An Early Preview (Catalyst Canada and The Diversity Institute in Management and Technology at Ryerson, February 2007).

9. Addressing the Leadership Challenge: Non-Profit Executive Directors’ Views on Tenure and Transition in Alberta, Calgary Centre for Non Profit Management, 2005.

10. Daring to Lead 2006: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership, Bell, J., Moyers, R., Wolfred T.

11. Change Ahead, p. 5.

12. Annie E. Casey Executive Leadership and Transition Survey Summary, p. 1.

13. Through our evaluation process, we hope to better understand the correlation between the ELP and individuals’ job movement post-program.

14. Questions raised by ELP participants in a 2006 forum.

15. Emerging Leaders Alumni Network Vision Statement (2005).

16. Light, Mark. No One Best Way: A Study of Nonprofit Leadership Capacity, First Light Group (2006), p. 15.

17. These streams are based on Margaret Wheatley’s description of “communities of practice” in her article Supporting Pioneering Leaders as Communities of Practice How to Rapidly Develop New Leaders in Great Numbers, 2002. In this article she explains, “The concept ‘community of practice’ was developed to illuminate that learning is a social experience. We humans learn best when in relationship with others who share a common practice. We self-organize as communities with those who have skills and knowledge that are important to us.”

18. We would like to acknowledge the work of June Holley in informing our thinking about the power of smart networks. For more information, go to

19. Fifth Discipline, p. 206.

20. Zimmerman, B., et al. Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed. (Toronto: 2006).

21. Young, I.M. Justice and the Politics of Difference. (1990), p. 256.


Community Program Director, George Cedric Metcalf Charitable

Foundation, Toronto, Ontario


Senior Manager, Education and Resource Development, United Way of

Greater Toronto, Toronto, Ontario


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