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21 Rising Nonprofit Stars Welcomed into First Certificate in Leadership Program

“Leadership is defined as leading a group of people or an organization, but it’s so much more than that. I believe an effective leader embodies self-awareness, social-awareness, compassion, integrity, confidence, empathy, trust and courage. Leadership requires all of these attributes and more. I’m excited to refine my leadership skills in the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s new Certificate in Leadership program.”

— Jynelle Batts, Program Director, A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay, Inc. and participant in the first NLC Certificate in Leadership Cohort

With mounting responsibilities and pressures on nonprofit leaders from the pandemic, an uncertain fundraising environment and deepening resource constraints, strong leadership means everything for organizational success and sustainability. But research shows that half of nonprofit professionals don’t feel they have the knowledge, experience and resources to be successful (ProInspire). This is of particular concern for leaders who are transitioning from individual contributors into management roles.

To close the gaps that exist in supporting nonprofit leaders who are new to managing people, programs or organizations, the Nonprofit Leadership Center announced a bold new initiative in February to help develop emerging leaders in our sector. The result is the first Certificate in Leadership program. More than a learning experience, participants come together in an inclusive, collaborative environment to embrace the qualities and skills necessary to lead their organizations and our communities with authenticity and impact. This 10-week program, made possible with generous support from Florida Blue, will prepare and empower rising nonprofit leaders to dynamically lead our ever-changing sector forward.

As the first ever Certificate in Leadership kicks off today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to the 21 nonprofit leaders who will be part of this first cohort. Participants were nominated to apply by leaders in their organization or community, and then their applications were reviewed as part of a rigorous selection process.

Meet the 2020 Certificate in Leadership Class

Millicent Battle Community Planner, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County
Jynelle Batts Program Director, A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay
Joanna Boruk College and Career Center Manager, Pinellas Education Foundation
Abigail Bradley-Tyler Leadership & Student Organizations Coordinator, University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Melanie Brady Child Welfare Regional Director, Gulf Coast JFCS
Sherry Clester Director of Program Services, CASA
Subrina Driggers Development Coordinator, Florida Dream Center
Lisa Elliot Developmental Playgroup Coordinator, Champions for Children
Veatrice Farrell Executive Director, The Deuces Live, Inc.
Camila Gonzalez Director of Mortgage Servicing, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties
Davia Lerebours Executive Director, Pace Center for Girls Hillsborough
Kristy Padilla Coordinator of Youth Programs, Intercultural Advocacy Institute
Allison Rapp Special Projects Manager, Health Council of West Central Florida
Lauren Reyes Vice President of Operations, Tampa YMCA
Linda Sheffer RCS Grace House Manager, RCS Pinellas
Heather Stephenson CEO, We Care of Central Florida
Richanne Tuccolo Manager of Facilities and Support Services, MacDonald Training Center, Inc.
Derek Ultican Volunteer Experience Manager, Feeding Tampa Bay
Victoria Weaver Director of the Men’s Residence, St. Petersburg Free Clinic
Emily Woods School & Youth Programs Manager, Glazer Children’s Museum
Danielle Wright-Landry Director of Membership, WUSF Public Media

Powered Through Partnership

NLC’s new Certificate in Leadership program was made possible with generous support from Florida Blue. See Florida Blue Market President of the West Florida Region David Pizzo’s interview about the power of this program, five qualities of strong leadership and more.

NLC and Florida Blue logos: A partnership to develop emerging nonprofit leaders in Tampa Bay

Learn More about the Certificate in Leadership

Upon receiving the Certificate in Leadership, nonprofit leaders will:

  • Understand their leadership style, learn how to manage their organizational responsibilities and develop a plan to enhance their skills
  • Identify and improve their leadership capabilities and people management skills while developing varying methods to overcome day-to-day obstacles
  • Respond authentically to the changes and challenges facing today’s nonprofit leaders and organizations

Learn more about NLC’s Certificate in Leadership program here. For questions and more information about the new Certificate in Leadership, contact us at or 813-287-8779.

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