Executive Circle

for Nonprofit Leaders


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Executive Circle for Nonprofit Leaders

Executive Circles are small groups of seasoned leaders who meet every four months as a peer learning community. Together they help one another solve strategic issues or intractable problems, strengthen and stretch individual leadership capacity, and improve the performance of Circle member organizations and the sector as a whole.

Candid, focused discussions with other leaders helps to clarify issues and convert concerns and “wicked questions” into practical action. An executive coach/facilitator with experience in the nonprofit sector manages the sessions with an eye on producing the maximum benefit for each participant. The facilitator keeps the agenda on target and appropriately paced, and acts as a proactive contributor. Between meetings members meet informally and have access to additional coaching if needed.


Executive Circle members form a supportive team of peers for clarifying complex issues, developing new ways to solve chronic problems, converting thoughts into action and providing peer accountability. Building a solid support network with other senior executives committed to excellence in their organizations promotes exploring opportunities to provide leadership in strengthening the effectiveness of the sector. Capitalizing on new ideas and opportunities. We offer encouragement and support when times are tough with SWAT conference calls held whenever a member has a hot issue and needs support in between meetings. Coaching is offered to individual circle members, as needed.

I would recommend the Executive Circle program to other executives to help build deep friendships and relationships with other nonprofit leaders in the sector but also the program enables and allows us to set a vision for the nonprofit sector and think through key strategies to help us achieve our vision.
—Russell Snyder
Volunteers of America


Circle Structure: During Covid

For safety during times of Covid, we have restructured to meet once a month, to accommodate virtual gatherings and meet the greater need for community and connection. Each month your circle will meet for a two-hour Zoom conversation that will cover relevant topics to leading, especially in these volatile times that are demanding us to maintain results but lead more from a distance.

Circle support has expanded to include:

  • Two-hour monthly circle Zoom meetings
  • Quarterly day-long in-person events for all circle participants
  • Special webinars with industry leading experts
  • As needed SWOT calls
  • As needed coaching calls

Circle Structure: Pre-Covid

Meetings are held approximately every four months. Each meeting is two days long with an overnight stay. Meetings feature:

  • Safe environment for confidential conversation
  • Expert facilitation by master executive coaches
  • In-depth dialogue on specific Circle member cases and issues such as:
    • Succession planning
    • Board relationships
    • Creating culture
    • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Leading edge learning in leadership and topics of interest to the Circle
  • Every member is expected to attend all sessions
A dozen seasoned colleagues and two excellent facilitators provide the expertise and the space away from daily demands that facilitate probing discussion of issues that find little outlet elsewhere: specifically, sector-wide concerns such as merger trends and governance structures; and management challenges such as human resource development or responsible growth and collaboration.

Julie Meyer | Executive Director | Next Step Public Charter School

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