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High Potential Diverse Leaders


Presented by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits in partnership with the American Express Foundation and MailChimp, High Potential Diverse Leaders (HPDL) is a leadership development program designed to provide the rising stars of Georgia nonprofits with the skills they need to assume executive-level responsibilities within the sector.

The annual HPDL program is an immersive and enriching experience of training, peer coaching, and relationship-building with established nonprofit leaders. Emerging leaders will build fundamental leadership skills while expanding their peer networks and support systems. The program includes a customized 360-degree leadership assessment, structured reading assignments, peer-group discussions, and the option to receive one-on-one executive coaching. Participants will gain practical tools and knowledge that can be deployed immediately in their organizations.

Redesigned for 2018: The times can be challenging for nonprofits – but for the well-prepared, challenges can become opportunities. For that reason, we’ve added key skills to the curriculum covering areas like change management, racial equity, and cultural intelligence, all of which will only become more important for nonprofit leaders in the coming years. We’re also adding an hour of peer coaching to the end of each session, as well as optional executive coaching.


1. Applicants must be employed by a recognized 501(c) corporation.
2. This program is designed for emerging leaders in roles ranging from program coordinator or assistant to manager or director. Executive directors will not be admitted, and are encouraged to apply for our CEO Strategy Groups program (formerly CEO Peerspectives).
3. Participants must be on a leadership track aiming them toward greater responsibilities.
4. Applicants must have a minimum of two years of employment in the nonprofit sector.


Session 1 | Finding the Leader in You
Includes an overview of the program, including expectations and requirements; key challenges and happenings in the current nonprofit environment; an introduction to fellow participants; and what it means to be a leader. Assessment tools, including “people styles” and John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership, will be shared in this session.

Read about the experience, highlighted in Finding the leader in you.

Session 2 | Leadership as a Personal Journey
Leadership is not a destination, it is a journey – and not an easy one. You will be making tough ethical and moral decisions, motivating a diverse workforce, and championing a team of employees and volunteers. To chart your path, you will need to identify the kind of leader you want to be; this session includes the explanation and distribution of participants’ 360-degree leadership assessments.

A group of HPDL alums highlight the lessons they found especially valuable in their own leadership journey in 12 emerging leaders speak up.

Session 3 | Managing Others, Up and Down the Chain of Command
Successful managers and leaders create a positive, productive environment that motivates people and brings out their best, maximizing their positive impact on the organization. That means getting people of diverse backgrounds, abilities, personalities, skills, and responsibility levels to work as a team – including those above and below you in the chain of command.

Session 4 | Leading with Emotional Intelligence
What makes a leader? Though every organization must answer that question individually, research shows that effective leaders share a common factor: a high level of “emotional intelligence.” Participants will learn about the emotional intelligence competency framework; how emotions can influence thoughts, behavior, goals, decision-making, and relationships; and techniques for increasing self-awareness and leadership effectiveness.

Learn more about a vital component of emotional intelligence: Making your temperament work for you.

Session 5 | Racial Equity, Diversity, and Your Role
The goal of equity and inclusion is to create conditions that allow everyone to reach their full potential, eliminating unfair practices and attitudes based on race, income, geography, age, gender, immigration status, and sexual orientation. As a leader, you should promote diversity and inclusion on your board, staff, volunteer corps, investor and donor base, and clientele. Participants will learn the value of equity and diversity and how to harness it constructively, creating environments that foster innovative and sustainable solutions, greater access to resources, and a more complete frame of reference.

For a look at cultural intelligence and the value of diversity, read Gain more allies, build better connections, and further your mission using cultural intelligence.

Session 6 | Leadership 360: Examining Leadership Style from Multiple Views
Leadership cannot be measured through a single lens. Our own view – of ourselves, our leadership styles, and our abilities – may vary tremendously from the view of others. By executing and examining results from a 360-degree assessment instrument, this module will give participants an array of perspectives, illuminating how others view them as leaders, and providing opportunities to leverage strengths, address weaknesses, and discover potential blind spots. They’ll also set leadership goals, share them with peers, and receive feedback and peer coaching for calibrating them.

Learn more about the impact that the HPDL experience in The HPDL Advantage: Three EDs on the program that turned their aspirations into action.


  • Coming soon


Georgia Center for Nonprofits
100 Peachtree Street NW
Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30303
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Registration Details

Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or 678-916-3081.

Program Fee:
$499 GCN members
$699 nonmembers

Application Deadline:
Coming Soon



Meet our HPDL alumni:

Class of 2018
Class of 2017

Class of 2016
Class of 2015
Class of 2014
Class of 2013

Are you an HPDL?

Contact Nonprofit University at [email protected] or (678) 916-3081 to learn more about the program.