UMass Boston

Emerging Leaders Program

Turning collaboration into a powerful business force

Nominations for the Winter 2024 cohort are now open.

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If you're interested in nominating someone in the future, contact  

The UMass Boston Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) provides a transformational leadership development experience through the collaborative leadership model—a process built on teamwork, trust, and respect for diversity of thought.

Collaboration is the key to learning from diverse perspectives, for breaking down silos, and for achieving better business results. But, no one said collaboration is easy. It is a leadership skill that needs to be learned and practiced in order to make your organization better.

The ELP brings 40–50 rising leaders from the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors together to build collaborative leadership capacity for their respective organizations through 50+ hours of action learning facilitated by subject matter experts with diverse peers, fireside chat speakers, and team projects.

Several outcomes of the program are:

  • Fellows gain confidence to enact the collaborative leadership model within their organization
  • Fellows are able to lead while encouraging leadership in others
  • Fellows form deep, durable, and diverse relationships with peers across sectors and industries
  • Fellows become more aware of important social justice issues resulting in civic engagement
  • Fellows will engage with the broader alumni community throughout the year and build a strong network with them

Data of Fellows from 2002-2023


Additional Information:

Rather than these employees having to take a full day each month away from the office and having to travel to our forum day, we have made the process more streamlined. Beginning in January, the monthly cadence will flow as follows:

  • First week of the month will be pre-work and pre-reading for that month's topic.
  • Second week of the month will be a live 2-hour facilitated virtual session.
  • Third week of the month will be time to focus on their project.
  • Fourth week of the month will be a second live 2-hour facilitated virtual session.

We will be using Zoom as our virtual teaching platform, enabling our fellows to log in from their office, home, or remote locations. And, in addition to these skill sessions, we will have fireside virtual chats with current leaders and opportunities to engage with the 860 strong Emerging Leaders Program alumni community.


The UMass Boston Center for Collaborative Leadership is now accepting nominations for the Emerging Leaders Program--Apply for the Winter 2024 ELP cohort! 

Each prospective fellow must be nominated by someone in a senior leadership position in his or her organization. Nominees must:

  • Demonstrate leadership skills in the organization;
  • Have a minimum of 5 years of experience;
  • Be able to fully participate in live virtual workshops throughout the year.

Please keep in mind, the program seeks a group of fellows who are diverse by race, gender, and profession. 

Nominees will be notified by email to apply online.

Program Fee

Program fee is due January 2024. Fees for nonprofits and government organizations are on a sliding scale to accommodate budgets.  


Questions? Please contact Cathleen Johnson at 617.287.3890 or 

Requirements & Schedule

The Emerging Leaders Program consists of 50+ hours of leadership development training requirements and schedule-- January 2024 through December 2024. Fellows who are selected are chosen to fully participate in the learning curriculum and participate in the project week.

New Information Session Dates:

Thursday, October 26, 2023     10:00am-11:00am
Tuesday, November 7, 2023     1:00pm-2:00pm
Wednesday, November 29, 2023     1:00pm-2:00pm
Monday, December 11, 2023     11:00am-12:00pm

To ask any questions you may have about these information sessions, email 

Orientation Meeting - January 11, 2024 | @UMass Boston

Each selected fellow will be invited to a virtual orientation meeting in August 2023. At this time fellows will meet other participants and also receive program materials.

Below are the dates for the live virtual classes.

ELP 2024 Schedule Table

Program Curriculum

During 12 months and 50+ hours of leadership development training, Emerging Leaders Program fellows learn to become inclusive and collaborative leaders. Our curriculum is interactive, and designed to teach the fellows practical skills – the ones that propel rising leaders from superb implementers of strategies to leaders who craft strategies in the face of complexity. 

The skills that are taught fall under four key focus areas:

  • Leading Self
  • Leading Others
  • Collective Leadership
  • Leading through Ambiguity

Leading Self

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes…and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”  — Eleanor Roosevelt

We begin the year-long learning journey by having the fellows focus on understanding who they are as leaders and why they choose to lead. The fellow’s Prism Portrait will give them insight into their Personality, Personality Under Pressure, Processing, Decision Making, Motivation, Conflict Management and Fundamental Needs. We couple this with 360 feedback which allow the fellow to discover how they are perceived by others.

Curriculum topics include:

  • Understanding your Prism Portrait
  • Defining your leadership purpose
  • Crafting your goals

Leading Others

“Good leaders organize and align people around what the team needs to do. Great leaders motivate and inspire people with why they’re doing it.” — Marillyn Hewson

Leadership by its very definition is the act of leading others. In this second quarter of the program, we build upon what the fellow has learned about themselves to have them think about what it means to lead others.

During this segment of the program, the fellows will also begin working on projects in teams of 5–7. These projects enable the fellows to practice the skills that they are learning in the coursework while also gaining an appreciation of the impact they can have on systemic issues.

Curriculum topics include:

  • Leveraging Prism to engage others
  • Building Trust

Collective Leadership

“If you don’t allow people to contribute, to offer their point of view, or to criticize what has been put before them, then they can never like you. And you can never build that instrument of collective leadership.” — Nelson Mandela

The Center’s definition of collaborative leadership is that it is a process built on teamwork, trust, and respect for diversity of thought. Collective leadership, then, is the act of engaging and enabling a group to exploit their unique individual and combined talents toward a common goal.

In addition to the curriculum, this quarter sees the fellows immersing themselves in their project team work. Key learnings that fellows realize from this aspect of the program are: (1) leadership exists beyond technical acumen; (2) identifying and engaging each person’s unique talents; (3) negotiating with stakeholders; and (4) effectively navigate work teams.

Curriculum topics include:

  • Creating and maintaining strong team dynamics
  • Strategy – aligning efforts to support mission and vision
  • Cultivating Culture

Leading Through Ambiguity

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” — Eric Hoffer

In the late 1980’s, the U.S. Army War College coined the acronym, “VUCA” which stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous to describe the post-Cold War environment. This term has since become mainstream in business education vernacular. In this final segment of the program, we work with the fellows to help them understand how to maintain a growth mindset, how to see opportunities, and how to support their team.

Curriculum topics include:

  • Recognizing how you and others behave under pressure
  • Understanding the complexity of Culture
  • Navigating strategy amidst Chaos





What the fellows say

"Since graduating from the ELP, I look for opportunities to collaborate much more. I used to think that I had to it all myself. Now I realize that other people are willing to help me and together we can go further." - Geoff Phillips, ELP 2013

"I learned a lot about myself as both a leader and colleague. I learned how important it is to continue to communicate with people across sectors- as it is crucial that we all work together." -Julie Burke-Blanchard, ELP 2011

Center for Collaborative Leadership

McCormack Hall, 5th Floor, Room 431
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125