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Executive Leadership in the Not-for-Profit Sector

Program Overview

This program offers professionals in leadership positions the knowledge and skills to be effective leaders in directing staff and programs as well as overall organizational management. In order to adapt to the continued challenges posed by changing social policies and accountability to communities, leaders need to be adept at assuming a vast array of responsibilities.
The program strengthens participants’ management skills, but the primary focus is on developing their leadership practice in not-for-profit human services settings.  Leadership requires commitment, focus, ethics, and vision. This program explores all of these factors as they apply to working with staff, funders, and government agencies. Students in this course gain an understanding of the real world of not-for-profit management, including how to work with constituencies from grass-roots community organizations to members of the board. Students will reflect upon their leadership practice, examine current research and work on cultivating their unique leadership style and approaches. Students will identify a challenge that they face in their organizations, develop skills for diagnosing it and create and implement an action plan. This is an applied, intensive and interactive course designed to strengthen students’ capacities for reflective leadership practice.
This course is targeted to social workers and other human services professionals with at least 5 years of management/leadership experience who are in senior management positions or middle managers on track to become senior managers.

From the Director: Interview with Linda Lausell Bryant, BA, MSW, PHD

Program Requirements

The certificate program is comprised of 10 sessions over one semester, running Tuesdays evenings 4:00 - 6:30 pm. Assignments include weekly readings and a final learning assessment in the form of a project or test.

Great leaders don't set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It's never about the role; it's about the goal."
- Lisa Haisha

2019 Program Calendar (Dates subject to change)

Tuesday Afternoons (4:00 pm to 6:30 pm)
  • January 22, 19
  • February 5, 12, 19, 26
  • March 5, 12, 19, 26

NOTE: This program runs for just the spring semester.

Program Highlights

  • Adaptive Leadership, a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments
  • Guest lecturers including current and former CEOs, government officials (such as New York Times Corner Office* columnist and author Adam Bryant and Adaptive Leadership consultant, Marc Manashil)
  • Hiring and talent development
  • Development and fiscal management
  • Stakeholder relations (board, community, government)
  • Case studies
*Corner Office is a weekly column in the Sunday Business Section of the
New York Times focused on leadership and management issues via
interviews with leading CEOs.

Continuing Education Contact Hours

  • 25 NYSED-approved Contact Hours will be awarded for this program.


New York University Silver School of Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers {#SW-0012}.
NYU Silver School of Social Work, 1415 is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. NYU Silver School of Social Work maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 11/11/16 - 11/11/19. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this program will receive 14 continuing education contact hours.


New York University Silver School of Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors {#MHC-0083}.

For Mental Health Practitioners: Please check with your state, if you are not licensed in New York, to determine if these credits will be accepted for licensing renewal.

Apply Now

To apply for this program, use the application link below. You will be prompted to create a user profile in order to begin the application. Note that this is a spring program, so you should select the 'Spring 2019' option from the drop down menu. The Executive Leadership application requires you to submit the following supplemental documents:

  • Current CV/resume
  • Personal statement about why you are applying to this program
  • The name and contact information of one reference, who will receive a notification from the system to provide her or his letter of support


Application deadline: January 7, 2019

Special Accommodations & Grievance Guidelines

Special Accommodations:
Students requiring accommodations have the opportunity to make these known upon registering or by writing to

Addressing Grievances:
Please see our Grievance Policy for information on our grievance and complaint procedures. If you have questions or concerns contact (212) 998-9099.

This certificate program was a rewarding experience. The course has helped to replenish and motivate me to think and integrate innovative ideas into practice. It has also helped me to understand the various dynamics and structures of a non-profit organization and what role I play in it. With every session, I walked away with tools that I could use in my daily management and practice. This program reminded me of the importance of investing in myself and taking the time to participate in a learning environment that will help prepare me for the next steps in my career.
- Rodney Lee, MSW, Deputy Director, Children’s Aid Society