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New Certificate in Leadership Program Will Prepare Nonprofit Leaders for Greater Success and Impact

The greatest threat to the future of our nonprofit sector is leadership. It’s also our greatest opportunity. Culture, performance, morale and impact are all dependent on strong leadership. Yet very little exists in our community today to cultivate and equip nonprofit professionals who are transitioning into new leadership roles. That’s why we’re pleased to announce a bold new initiative that will prepare nonprofit leaders to move our sector and community forward — capably and courageously.

Today we gathered with dozens of nonprofit and business leaders at the Nonprofit Leadership Center to announce our new Certificate in Leadership.

This 10-week program, made possible with generous support from Florida Blue, will prepare and empower nonprofit professionals who are new to managing people or programs to effectively lead in our dynamically changing sector.

Visionary partnerships drive innovation solutions at NLC.

More than a learning and networking program, the Certificate in Leadership is a true experience through which participants will embrace the qualities and skills necessary to lead their organizations and our community with authenticity and impact.

Nominate a Leader Now for the Certificate in Leadership Program

Closing the Leadership Gap

Research shows that nonprofit professionals want to grow their leadership skills, yet more than half don’t feel they have the knowledge, experience and resources to be successful (ProInspire). Organizations often promote individual contributors to manage others and oversee programs based on excellent performance — without receiving the training, development and support necessary to do so effectively.

Last year, we interviewed local nonprofit leaders to better understand their current realities and needs. A resounding theme was the gap that exists in supporting nonprofit professionals who are transitioning into leadership and executive roles.

There is a great need to focus on emerging leaders in this community.

The Certificate in Leadership will help bridge the gap in Tampa Bay by providing aspiring leaders who are new to managerial or executive roles the support they need to be effective.

Powered Through Partnership

NLC’s new Certificate in Leadership program was made possible with generous support from Florida Blue — a strategic NLC partner and health insurance provider that’s committed to helping people and communities achieve better health.

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

“To make the biggest impact in our communities, nonprofits need strong leaders who understand the importance of strategic thinking, collaboration, empathy and innovation. Florida Blue is excited to partner with NLC to create a program that instills these values through courses that delve into self-awareness, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, data analytics, conflict resolution and more.”

David Pizzo, Market President, West Florida

Michelle Hamilton, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Florida Blue, Mary Lallucci, NLC Board Chair, David Pizzo, Market President, West Florida at Florida Blue, and Emily Benham, CEO of NLC
From left to right: Michelle Hamilton, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Florida Blue, Mary Lallucci, NLC Board Chair, David Pizzo, Market President, West Florida at Florida Blue, and Emily Benham, CEO of NLC

Together with Florida Blue’s support, NLC will offer a Certificate in Leadership cohort each year for the next three years, equipping 100 total nonprofit professionals with the content and skills necessary to lead with a mission heart and a keen focus on innovative, creative and collaborative solutions to advance organizational and systems change.

David Pizzo acknowledges the strength and support the NLC Certificate in Leadership will bring to Tampa Bay's nonprofit sector

More Details & How to Apply

Learn more about the new Certificate in Leadership here, including the nomination and application process, timeline and class schedule, trainers, requirements and more. Here’s what you need to know at a glance:

WHAT: Consists of five half-day training sessions, four virtual group coaching sessions, two follow-up classroom trainings and a virtual follow-up coaching session. 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

WHEN: The 2020 Certificate in Leadership program begins on May 5 and runs through July. Here are the key dates:

  • February 5-28: Organizations nominate leaders to participate
  • March 6-27: Nominees complete applications
  • April: NLC and Florida Blue select and announce participants
  • May 5: Program begins with Session 1: The Conscious Leader
  • May 19: Session 2: The Emotionally Intelligent Leader
  • June 16: Session 3: The Connected Leader
  • June 30: Session 4: The Data-Driven Leader
  • July 14: Final Session and Graduation

WHO: Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be new to their position (three years or less) in managing people or programs. Examples include a CEO or executive director who has just joined an organization, a first-time manager who’s learning how to supervise and mentor others or a professional who has recently assumed oversight for a program or department.
  • Commit to attending all sessions on the published dates.
  • Have the support from executive staff and senior leaders to attend, practice and implement what they’re learning through the program.


For More Information

For questions and more information about the new Certificate in Leadership, contact us at or 813-287-8779.

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