Letter from the Director
It’s been more than two decades since I was a young and eager Executive Director with tons of passion and a strong desire to make lasting change in communities. While I fully embraced the charge of leading, it was not until a couple of years into my new role that I realized that I needed support—and a lot of it.
I searched the country for a leadership program that would not only provide me with hard, technical skills I needed to succeed as an Executive Director, but would also allow me to connect with my peers in a supportive and nurturing environment. When I couldn’t find a program, I decided to create one. In 2004, with initial support from the Ford Foundation and the Ms. Foundation for women, we welcomed our first cohort of fellows.
Many of the young women I met those many years ago are still colleagues, and have gone on to do amazing work in the world. They are leading the field in the areas of racial equity, youth development, philanthropy, public policy and gender equity
The promise I make to Fellows on the first day of the retreat is that she will leave inspired, with tools and new friends in the work. I can guarantee these things because that is what I got out of my time at the very first retreat.
Lead the Way is more than a fellowship program—it is a charge to the field to be deliberate and creative in its efforts to support the next and future generations of social sector leaders. The leaders are there—all we have to do is issue the call.