Virtual Leadership Institutes by the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities

COVID-19 has created a new sense of urgency to transform our service system. We are experiencing a unique time to take definitive action, moving forward to create systems of support that rely on community rather than facilities. The Western States Virtual Leadership Institute will incorporate technology and the best aspects of in-person training – a group of peer learners, top national speakers, leadership development, and engagement – to create opportunities for broader participation, organizational involvement and learning for organization teams. This Virtual Leadership Institute will support a wide range of emerging leaders and provide training in the way that today’s workforce operates: online and connected.

Why a Leadership Institute?

A crisis is looming in the field of intellectual/developmental disabilities. Fully two-thirds of current CEOs and executive directors of nonprofit organizations and an equal number of government senior managers, anticipate remaining in their positions for five years or fewer. Many leaders of disability organizations are reaching retirement age and there is not a next generation of leaders prepared to move into these positions. In a study of intellectual/developmental disability organizations by The University of Delaware, over 50% of the CEOs surveyed did not have a succession plan for their organizations. Almost without exception, the leadership crisis has been a major topic of focus at recent conferences for intellectual/developmental disability professionals.

While some generic non-profit management and leadership courses are available nationally, none exist that are specific to leaders in the complex and changing field of intellectual/developmental disabilities services. The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities recognizes the responsibility to respond to this emerging crisis partnering with eighteen major intellectual/developmental disability organizations we offer a range of development opportunities for emerging leaders in the intellectual/developmental disabilities field. The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities is best known for our intensive, week-long in-person Leadership Institutes which are offered at the University of Delaware and at other locations nationally and internationally.

Why a Virtual Leadership Institute?

Online training has become popular in recent years, in which most households and businesses have invested in advanced home and mobile technology, like smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc. In response to that and recent international events, the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities has created an online version of their nationally recognized Leadership Institute. This Virtual Leadership Institute has many benefits, a few listed here:

- Flexibility – Although there is a set schedule of synchronous training sessions, the schedule is set over four weeks. This schedule allows leaders to train from anywhere, as long as they have access to a computer and internet.

- Affordability – The main content pieces of an in-person Leadership Institute are available in the Virtual Leadership Institute, without some of the in-person and travel costs. This allows the Virtual Leadership Institute to priced lower than an in-person Institute.

- Accountability – Since the Virtual Leadership Institute spans four weeks, there is more opportunity to apply information and practice skills learned. This creates more accountability of and among the network of leaders participating in the program.

- Accessibility- Leaders, faculty, and staff of the National Leadership Consortium can be connected from any remote location using an online system.

The Virtual Leadership Institute is especially convenient for leaders who do not have the time to commit to a full week in-person training session held in a, often, far away location. The Western States Leadership Institutes has the added benefit of being open to only organization teams of 3-4 leaders, allowing for collaboration with other leaders and within organizational leadership. There will be both individual and team-based exercises, strategies, and learning.

What do Leadership Institutes Offer?

The Western States Virtual Leadership Institute run by The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities offers a select group of future leaders from organizations across the United States and internationally, the opportunity to come together virtually with a renowned faculty of national experts on progressive supports for people with disabilities. The Institutes support the development of skilled leaders who are passionate about quality, have the leadership, management and financial skills needed to run solid not-for-profit businesses and government agencies, are capable of assembling top-notch teams of caring staff, and have a solid commitment to progressive values that assure lives of meaning and impact for people who choose to receive support. The Virtual Leadership Institute emphasizes participation and collaboration. Reading and structured assignments are required. Written assignments and individual, team, and group participation during the Institute are essential.

A highlight of the course for past participants has been the relationships that are built over the training. Participants will leave with a network of colleagues and enduring relationships with influential leaders in the field.

The focus of the Virtual Leadership Institute is on supporting participants to determine and set direction to move their organization to a high-performance model and build a lifetime network of peers and leaders to sustain career growth.

Apply Here!

To learn more about the Western Virtual Leadership Institute, e-mail Kristen Loomis at kloomis@udel.edu.