Peer Leaders Learning Circles

For Executive Directors and Future Leaders

Executive Directors are in a unique position – straddling that challenging space between staff and board.  The incessant demands on executive directors require supports designed specifically for them, from executive coaching that identifies and amplifies skills while minimizing weaknesses to specialized peer support.

For more than a dozen years,  The Nonprofit Center has facilitated an innovative approach to leadership growth and development for both executive directors and for future nonprofit leaders.  These peer leadership learning circles (originally called  “CLEAR Circles” for Cultivating Leadership Excellence and Responsibility),  create an ongoing peer group to freely discuss issues that other nonprofit executive directors (or emerging leaders) best understand.  They are for professionals who want to participate in a shared brain trust where they can jointly strategize and problem-solve among peers who are equally committed to increasing their leadership capacity, following the edict that we achieve more in groups than we do as individuals.

We have successfully applied this model to

  • executive directors at all experience levels
  • development staff
  • senior staff who will be tomorrow’s nonprofit leaders

Peer Leadership Learning Circles consist of seven or eight individuals who meet monthly for two hours over eight months, with a professional facilitator.  Discussion is driven and shaped by group members, with the goal of helping each other achieve goals through an action learning experience.  Problem-solving, professional development and peer support are all by-products emerging from this confidential, supportive environment.

Circles can be geographically-oriented and built on a rolling calendar, depending upon interest.  In other words, you can help us start a Circle in a preferred location.  Experience for yourself the power of peer support, contact Rob Fennell at [email protected] for more information and to be added to a waiting list.

Read the Generocity article >>
Read the Guidestar Report on the value of  Peer Learning Circles>>”
Get our “Peer Learning Circle” Fact Sheet>>
Read more about circles for  emerging leaders >>

[The circle] was in many ways like building a family of supporters and brainstormers that every month could help you step away from your daily grind and kind of find a space of solace to reflect and strategize.”
-Karen Buck, Executive Director, Senior Law Center

“I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to be involved with {Peer Learning Circle}. The friendships that have formed will be impossible to duplicate. To say that I am sad that it is going to end, is an understatement. The bonding, professional and emotional support, along with the shared experiences and stories have been extremely valuable (and we laughed a lot too!) I can honestly say, that I am a stronger and a more empowered woman because of the time I spent with my Circle friends!”
-Lorna C. Locascio-Clause, Director of Special Initiatives, Turning Point of Lehigh Valley, Inc.

“I found the {Executive Director Peer Learning Circle} a tremendous support system unlike anything else I could use to assist me through obstacles and roadblocks…I highly recommend {them} for new and not-so-new directors to find the support and encouragement that overcomes the feeling of being alone in the position of director.”
-Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, SSJ, Cecilian Center for Earth, Arts & Spirituality