For 26 years, the National Hispana Leadership Institute has fostered hundreds of Latina leaders through its award winning Executive Leadership Program (ELP). NHLI is ranked among the Top Twenty Leadership Programs for Latinos by Latino Leaders Magazine, and recognized by the Independent Sector, the Center for Creative Leadership, and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute for its unique work preparing Latinas for positions of national influence, public policy impact, and contributing to the advancement of the Hispanic community.
The Executive Leadership Program targets mid-career professional Latinas and advances a model that emphasizes and builds upon personal strengths. What makes NHLI's program different from other leadership programs is that it addresses skill development and provides training and support through both a female and a Hispanic cultural lens. NHLI also promotes a heightened awareness of social responsibility and stronger attention to the needs of the broader Hispanic Community.
NHLI's investment in Latina leaders is distinguished by the availability of top-ranking executive training at some of the nation's leading institutions such as the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Center for Creative Leadership. Upon completing the program, NHLI alumnae reinvest their refined skills into diverse sectors exponentially impacting the Latino community. The sphere of influence has become quite formidable and now represents an extensive list of influential Latinas in both the private and public sectors, strategically located in more than 40 states, and recognized "firsts" in many fields.
The Executive Leadership Program spans 10 months and includes three components– training, mentorship, and leadership projects. The 2014 program begins in February 2014 and ends in October 2014. The rigorous training curriculum consists of four one-week sessions, each implemented in a different city, which develops participants' skills in cross-cultural communication, strategic management, public policy and leadership building. The mentorship component commits participants to mentoring a minimum of two other Latinas during the program year. Additionally, participants will design and complete their individual leadership project that significantly impacts the community, is implemented during the program year and is completed prior to the graduation date.
To assure full commitment to the program and to allow participants to fully participate in daily presentations and activities, the use of electronic devices will not be permitted during the sessions except during designated breaks. Participants are encouraged to keep contact with work at a minimum, preferably not at all, and restrict family contact to free hours, short of an emergency. Your employer and/or direct supervisor's Letter of Commitment accepts that you will not be available for work-related matters while in training. Your full attention and participation is expected. As a matter of courtesy and respect, participants are asked to keep all communication devices turned off or on mute as well as out of sight during training sessions and activities. Contact numbers for emergency contact only will be provided to participants.
Participants are expected to be timely in arriving for sessions as well as return in a timely fashion from designated breaks and meals. Participants are expected to attend the full day of training or activity, not seek to be excused or be absent without prior approval for an excusable reason, not to include a work-related reason.
Week I: Understanding Yourself and Others focuses on learning about leadership strengths
and areas for development, cross cultural communication, conflict resolution, team building, the development of support networks and setting development goals.
Week II: Effective Change Through Public Policy and Management is a specially-designed certificate program by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for NHLI. This program week highlights public management, negotiation skills, and strategic management through a case study approach.
Week III: Leadership Development Program is conducted at the Center for Creative Leadership, the top corporate executive leadership institute in the country, and combines lectures, group exercises, assessment questionnaires and individual feedback sessions to provide participants with information about their leadership, behavioral and decision-making styles.
Week IV: Bringing Leadership Home focuses on how public policy impacts all communities and specifically the Hispanic Community. Participants will focus on their individual endeavors to impact and reinvest in their local Hispanic community. This fourth and final week culminates in Washington D.C. and includes a graduation ceremony.
Mentorship & Service Impact
Participants are required to mentor at least two Latinas of their choosing. NHLI encourages participants to seek current or recent graduates of NHLI's Latina's Learning to Lead (LLL) and the Advancing Latina Leaders in Non-Profits (ALL IN) programs. The mentoring requirement is self-directed; participants self-select their mentees. Participants will be required to provide specific feedback to NHLI. Specific parameters on what to report as well as general guidelines for the mentoring experience will be provided. NHLI does not seek to define the mentoring experience but rather monitor it as well as collect meaningful data that will enhance future programs and potential funding sources. Fellows are free to develop and maintain their mentoring experiences to their personal satisfaction.
Impacting the Hispanic community is the focus of the required leadership/community service component. Each fellow is required to implement a leadership project in her community that addresses a specified need. Fellows must complete their leadership program prior to their expected graduation date. Fellows will also be required to submit a written report to NHLI in advance of graduation that details the project. It is anticipated that a community leadership project will have an impact on more than 22 individuals.
Two notable examples of NHLI leadership projects include:
National Latino Children's Institute (NLCI) was created through a joint project of Becky Barreras (Class of 1993) and Bibi Lobo (Class of 1997). What started as a concept with Becky became a full blown initiative when Bibi joined the efforts. Together they tapped into the talents and expertise of NHLI board members, supporters, and instructors ranging from White House staff and U.S. Congress to Harvard professors. They called on the NHLI alumnae network to open doors in more than 130 cities across the country where they introduced hundreds of thousands of children, parents, and educators to programs such as book fairs for literacy, neighborhood car seat safety programs, and health fairs promoting well-baby checkups. To date, an estimated 5 million people have been impacted by NLCI, which is currently lead by another NHLI alum, Josephine Garza (Class of 1993).
Las Comadres Nora Comstock (Class of 2000), felt so strongly about Latinas being able to "connect" with one another that she began what may now be the largest Latina electronic network in the nation - Las Comadres Para Las Americas. The network is becoming a powerful movement across the country. It began as a small electronic and face-to-face network of professional Latinas in Austin, Texas, and in 2003 expanded to Dayton, Ohio, across Texas and nationwide. In 2009 Las Comadres started its first international network in London. Today it includes more than 20,000 Latinas from all walks of life and is moving into the international arena with groups in Puerto Rico, Canada, and Latin America on the horizon.
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