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Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions about the CEO Onboarding Program? Contact Dena Shoenfeld at dena@leadingedge.org.

What is the CEO Onboarding Program?

The CEO Onboarding Program is a 12-month, intensive leadership development opportunity for new CEOs and Executive Directors in the North American Jewish community. The program provides participants with both individualized coaching and group development experiences.

Participating CEOs work directly with expert leaders and thinkers in the North American Jewish community to take their competencies—and their organizations—to the next level. They also learn tools and resources invaluable to a CEO’s transition, including executive coaching, peer learning, and leadership training.

Since the world changes quickly, the program is tailored to the needs and interests of participants. The events of 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic, movements for racial justice, and recent political turmoil, required senior executives to confront unimaginable change, loss, and, for some, opportunity. Cohort Four of Leading Edge’s CEO Onboarding Program will provide new CEOs with the support they need to grow and build their organizations at this moment in history. This period also underscored how lonely it can be at the top. The program creates a community of practice, including a growing alumni network which CEOs can turn to for ideas and support during and after the program.

What are the components of the CEO Onboarding Program?

The CEO Onboarding Program includes professional development valued at over $25,000 per participant. The components of the program include:

Virtual learning sessions and in-person convenings with specialized opportunities to learn from and build connections with prominent national/local leaders in the North American Jewish community. Sessions will focus on such topics as:

--Adaptive Leadership
--Crisis Planning
--Organizational Culture
--Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice

25 hours of support from an experienced, accomplished executive coach 

Training at the Center for Creative Leadership, a leadership development institution ranked among the world's “top 10 providers of executive education” by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and The Financial Times

A confidential 360-degree evaluation and other assessments designed to give CEOs the critical self-knowledge needed for professional improvement

A network of trusted peers with whom to share challenges and celebrate successes

Why was the CEO Onboarding Program created?

At Leading Edge, we have learned through our work and research that leadership transitions can be make-or-break moments for organizational success. Being thoughtful and strategic about CEO succession planning, executive search processes, and CEO onboarding is a tremendously powerful way for organizations to lay the groundwork for future success. These transitional moments hold risk and uncertainty but are also unique windows of opportunity to empower incoming leaders and support organizational excellence.

Leading Edge launched the CEO Onboarding Program in 2015 to serve leaders and organizations during one of these vital moments: the first two years of a CEO’s tenure. We believe the program is driving better outcomes for Jewish organizations and the community.

The Jewish community's future in a post-pandemic world will rely on strong leadership and an innovative approach to the changing environment. The CEO Onboarding Program supports and empowers leaders personally, professionally, and globally during a time of transition and connects them with a network of peers who are grappling with similar issues.

Why should I apply to participate in the CEO Onboarding Program?

The CEO role can be a lonely one. People often expect you to know all the answers and solve all of the organizational challenges from day one. Having a confidential peer network of support, paired with coaching and leadership training, will give you the tools and structures to succeed during the early part of your tenure and bring your organization and your leadership to new heights in future years.

Who should apply for the CEO Onboarding Program?

The CEO Onboarding Program is open to any senior-most professional at a North American Jewish nonprofit. To be eligible, leaders must have been the most senior professional leader of their organization for fewer than 30 months as of July 1, 2021. Applications are welcome from leaders of well-established 501(c)(3) institutions and new organizations working toward fiscal independence.

Our CEO Onboarding Program alumni include dynamic leaders of national and local Jewish organizations representing diverse missions and approaches.

What is the length of the CEO Onboarding Program?

Cohort Four will run from June 2021 to June 2022. In addition to the 10 days of in-person and virtual gatherings, the program requires 3-4 hours per month for executive coaching, virtual check-ins with the cohort, and preparatory work for sessions.

How much does the CEO Onboarding Program cost?

The cost to participate is $5,000 per organization to cover the program expenses which include all executive coaching, leadership trainings and accommodations for in-person gatherings. Participants are responsible for their own air and ground travel to and from in-person gatherings. If the cost presents any concern for your organization, please contact Dena Schoenfeld (dena@leadingedge.org).

What are the *required* dates for the CEO Onboarding Program?

‣ Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm ET: Kick-Off Meeting (virtual)

‣ Monday, November 8, 2021 – Wednesday, November 10, 2021: Opening Gathering (location TBA)
*Please note, if conditions make travel unsafe, this session will be virtual.

‣ Sunday, February 27, 2022 – Wednesday, March 2, 2022: Center for Creative Leadership (Greensboro, North Carolina)

‣ Sunday, May 22, 2022 – Tuesday, May 23, 2022: Closing Gathering (location TBA)

All other group program components will be optional. Individual coaching sessions may be conducted in-person or virtually, as circumstances allow.

How many people are accepted to the CEO Onboarding Program?

Our previous cohorts each had 10-15 participants. The application process is highly competitive. The applicant pool determines the number of people accepted to the CEO Onboarding Program to ensure optimal cohort-based learning. Careful attention will be paid to ensure that the diversity of the participants is understood and honored throughout the program.

Is there any pre-work required for the CEO Onboarding Program?

Readings, case preparations, and other assessments will be required by both the faculty and individual coaches throughout the 12 months of the CEO Onboarding Program.

What if I already know I will be unable to attend a specific gathering of the CEO Onboarding Program?

Participation in the two virtual and three in-person gatherings is a requirement of the CEO Onboarding Program.  While we understand extenuating circumstances occur, it is expected that participants will make the coaching and virtual sessions a priority throughout the program. 

How do I apply for the CEO Onboarding Program?

The application for the CEO Onboarding Program can be found here. You must submit your application by April 15, 2021, at 5:00 pm ET.

What information will I be required to provide in my application to the CEO Onboarding Program?

You will be required to provide:

‣ Contact information

‣ Organizational information (including staff size and budget)

‣ Professional experience

‣ Responses to two short answer questions

‣ A two-minute video explaining why you want to participate in the CEO Onboarding Program

‣ Contact information for two references able to speak about your leadership experience

‣ Contact information for the organization’s board chair to affirm their commitment to the program

Will I be interviewed for the CEO Onboarding Program?

Yes. Cohort finalists are required to participate in a one-hour virtual interview. Interviews will be May 24–26, 2021.

What are the requirements for participating organizations in the CEO Onboarding Program?

Participating organizations must demonstrate a commitment to the CEO Onboarding Program. By submitting your application, you and your organization agree to the terms below. Your board chair will be asked to confirm your organization’s understanding of the participation requirements for the CEO Onboarding Program.

1. Members of your board and/or senior staff agree to be available to meet with your executive coach.

2. Members of your board and senior staff agree to participate in your 360-degree review process. They may also be asked to share feedback about the program with Leading Edge and its evaluation partner.

3. The organization agrees to pay $5,000 to cover the program expenses which include all executive coaching, leadership trainings and accommodations for in-person gatherings. Participants are responsible for their own air and ground travel to and from in-person gatherings. If the cost presents any concern for your organization, please contact Dena Schoenfeld (dena@leadingedge.org).

4. The organization values the CEO Onboarding Program as an essential component of its CEO's leadership development. Participation in the Program will not be considered “leave” of any type.

How can I get more information about the CEO Onboarding Program?

For more information, contact executiveprograms@leadingedge.org.

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