Ep 103: Stronger Together: The Power of Cohort Learning (with Darlene Nipper)

by Joan Garry

The most valuable kind of leadership development happens in a cohort. And that’s what this episode is all about.


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I teach that there are three “big rocks” for nonprofit leaders to prioritize… 3 areas of focus that – more than anything else – make or break a nonprofit.

The first of those rocks is all about leadership development. How important it is to invest in yourself as a leader.

That’s all well and good, Joan. But what kind of leadership development? Well, the most valuable kind of leadership development happens in a group. And that’s what this episode is all about.

Darlene Nipper, CEO of Rockwood Leadership Institute, joins me in this episode to discuss how working within a diverse cohort not only breeds creativity but improves the ability of a leader to create better and more productive work environments, and to focus on purpose, vision, performance, and partnership.

And guess what? Being in a cohort may help cure your imposter syndrome too.

Nonprofit leadership doesn’t have to be lonely. Not one bit.

About Darlene Nipper

With over 25 years of leadership and advocacy experience, Darlene joined Rockwood in 2012 as a member of the training team. She previously served as deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, executive director of the BET Foundation, chief operating officer at NAMI and founder of its Multicultural and International Policy Center, and director of LGBT affairs in the Executive Office of the Mayor of D.C. Darlene, a native Washingtonian, is also an ordained interfaith minister, practices mindfulness meditation, deep presence, and living joy.

In This Podcast

  • How Rockwood creates cohorts that are most effective at developing leadership skills
  • The value of cross sector experience
  • Leadership development as an asset that can be sold to funders
  • Understanding how to connect with other people
  • Focusing on the leadership rather than on the procedural
  • Getting rid of imposter syndrome
  • The transition from corporate to nonprofit America
  • Moving at the speed of trust
  • Shift from individual to collective to make dreams come true and change happen
  • Leadership development ROI
  • Thinking like a collaborator
  • The importance of clarity of purpose, vision, and team alignment