Designing Leadership

Designing Leadership is Philadelphia’s premier professional development program designed for nonprofit professionals in the arts and culture sector and creative business professionals in leadership roles. Participants build their skills in key areas such as strategy, communication, power and bias, and management. With renowned local faculty who have a pulse on Philadelphia’s happenings and dozens of participants in each year’s cohort, Designing Leadership also provides an unparalleled opportunity to connect and network with a wide range of professionals across disciplines and backgrounds in the area.

Applications are currently closed. Please contact Liz Thompson at [email protected] for more information and to be notified of the 2022 season.



Reimagine your defining qualities, challenge imposter and survivor syndrome, and apply new approaches to project management.


Explore the effects balanced approaches can have on your leadership style, as well as your organization or business. Build resiliency, embrace change, and support emotional work through individual and collective wellness.


Discover how perceptions and assumptions impact day-to-day interactions, projects, and decisions. Learn tools and practices to anticipate bias and promote inclusive thinking individually and among teams.


Practice inclusive accountability, conflict management, and decision-making when (not) in power. Explore the differences between mentorship, coaching, and management.


Feel connected with what you do and continue to build community with others remotely. Lead in a crisis by balancing damage control with longer term strategy.


Dare to dream – find the inspiration and vision to creatively and positively effect change. Dig deeper into topics from the program with different specialists.


“A healthy cultural sector means a health and vibrant city. This program is unmatched in any city in which I have lived and worked. The curriculum is carefully crafted to make our cultural leaders stronger, which makes our cultural institutions stronger which, of course, strengthens the fabric of our great city.”

Crystal Brewe
Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Kimmel Center for Performing Arts

“No path to leadership is easy, and that is especially true for designers. Yet these skills are no less vital to individual and corporate growth. Put design to work for your company. Advocate for the leadership development of your in-house team an you will undoubtedly see the return on your investment.”

Christine Sheller
President, AIGA Philadelphia and Vice President, Design, FS Investments

“The best part of the program was having the opportunity to share challenges, ideas, and stories with my fellow ‘leaders.’ They taught me so much about how to be a better leader of people and also, as one participant put it, how to be a better person.”

Emily Nichols
Chief of Staff, Broad Street Ministry

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