Designing Leadership

The 2024 Designing Leadership season is closed.

Designing Leadership is the only cohort-based program for professionals across sectors in the Greater Philadelphia Area that leverages a theme to approach leadership development in unconventional and nuanced ways. The highly curated content, combined with an intentional non-linear approach, allows advanced concepts, deep conversations, and innovative solutions to emerge quickly. Leaders and managers engage in professional self-reflection and discovery that unlocks new tools, strategies, and resources to enhance their performance. With dozens of participants each season, the experience provides an unparalleled opportunity to connect and network with a wide range of professionals across disciplines and backgrounds. The program caters to mid-career professionals, but all career levels are welcome.

Sample Topics

Accountability Future Thinking Negotiation
Coaching/Mentorship Holistic Practices Power and Influence
Communication Implicit Bias Project Management
Conflict Management Imposter Syndrome Self/Collective Care
Decision-Making  Inclusivity Setting Boundaries
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Leadership Styles Strategy
Facilitation Management Strengths/Weaknesses
Giving/Receiving Feedback Mentorship Workplace Culture

This year’s theme is Empowerment

Empowerment is at the forefront of how to optimize employee performance and strengthen workplace culture. Empowerment refers to the authority and autonomy in which an organization or leader provides their team to make decisions and take the necessary steps to achieve their goals. Intertwined is power, which is the capacity to influence others to act or believe in a certain way. This season explores how these two complimentary themes affect each other in the context of leadership. Participants will gain a clear understanding of their own power as leaders and how to leverage it thoughtfully, how to advocate for themselves and their team, and how to navigate situations outside of their control without losing their sense of agency. The program’s intentionally curated and interactive experience will provide tools, activities, and strategies for participants to bring back to their workplace and beyond.

 Key Takeaways

  • Gain a deep understanding of your power as a leader and how it shows up in the workplace.

  • Leverage your strengths and value in your role to successfully advocate for your priorities and set boundaries.

  • Develop clear expectations and accountability processes that foster ownership and trust with your team.

  • Build a toolkit to navigate situations outside of your control and how to maintain agency for you and your team despite obstacles.


The curriculum will be a hybrid format over 3 weeks in April 2023. Participants should plan to be fully present for the entire program, including attending all sessions in full, completing pre- and post-work assignments and actively engaging with facilitators and the cohort throughout the program.

Week 1

Expand Your Individual Power 

Holistically understand what makes up your unique power and how it shows up in the workplace. Leverage your power and value thoughtfully and effectively by assessing work within your control and influence. Advocate for your priorities and set boundaries.

In-Person | Thursday, April 11 | 10:00AM – 4:00PM (11:30AM Lunch Provided)


Create a Thriving Team 

Empower teams when you are the driver of the work. Whether you are the supervisor, administrator, or disruptor, gain clear alignment on roles, responsibilities, communication, and behaviors for team members to take ownership and bring new ideas. Build trust and accountability through timely and mutual feedback and exercising your authority in healthy and effective ways.

Virtual | Tuesday, April 16 | 9:00AM – 11:00AM
Virtual | Thursday, April 18 | 9:00AM – 11:00AM


Commanding the Workplace Ecosystem

Manage accountability when projects encounter distributions or exercises of power that are challenging and out of your control. Embrace adaptability and problem solving by charting clear paths forward that empower you and your team despite obstacles.

In-Person | Friday, April 26 | 12:00 – 5:00PM (11:30AM Lunch Provided)
Alumni Reception | 5:00 – 7:00PM


“The Designing Leadership program was truly an Aha! moment for me, which is surprising after more than 20 years of leadership within nonprofits and government. I credit this program with illuminating my perspective and offering tools for examining the “why” guiding the work I have been dedicated to professionally. I took so much away from my participation—most importantly the time to think critically about my next act was incredibly valuable.

Three tangible takeaways and unexpected learning moments I retained from the program are:

Setting a boundary around shrinking myself into places that I have outgrown. I was able to be honest with myself about the healthiness of my relationship with comfort and loyalty and how playing small can hinder how I am being poured into and what I have to pour into others.

I learned that Imposter Syndrome is real and challenges many of us. The program helped me identify and relieve the shame of it by taking away the stigma and recognizing how I can embrace it, which is a concept I had not considered.

The New Golden Rule! I was taught to treat people the way you want to be treated. One of the facilitators presented the idea of “The New Golden Rule” for our consideration, which is to treat people how THEY want to be treated. I have since incorporated this into my day-to-day interactions. It reminds me to interact with others guided by a curiosity to learn about their unique perspectives relieved of bias.

I could, most certainly, share more evidence of how wonderfully the Arts & Business Council curated this program. However, I will conclude with acknowledging that this was about more than the professional spaces I occupy. With the support of a cohort of other leaders I was able to dig deep in a supportive community. I encourage anyone, who not only wants to develop their professional will, but also take an intimate look at the root of their leadership philosophies, to attend this program.”

Ivory Allison, American Liver Foundation, Class of ’21

“Designing Leadership revealed a number of common thread lines from my personal history that are directly related to my professional attitude and accomplishments. By taking the time to look inward and backward, we are better able to assess our place in the present and our potential future. I also gained a new perspective on my personal journey towards self-actualization. The work that I am doing both personally and professionally is combining my idealized success with real-world business success; these two lives are not mutually exclusive, but may in fact be one in the same.

A major takeaway from the program was the idea of positive conflict. In a wonderful exchange with another cohort member, I asked the question, “Isn’t all conflict negative?” I was met with an enthusiastic response outlining all the ways in which conflict can in fact be positive (constructive criticism, disagreement without losing one’s cool, personality vs. performance).

It was heartening to discover through the program, particularly amongst cohort members who were a similar age to me, that we are all experiencing together the same feelings, doubts, achievements, conflicts and struggles about our leadership journey.”

Alex Styer, Bellevue Communications Group, Class of ’21


Brea M. Heidelberg, PhD,
Brea M. Heidelberg, PhD is a seasoned arts management educator and researcher training and empowering future arts leaders. She is also an experienced consultant who provides strategic staffing solutions and human resources expertise to arts organizations, helping them create a diverse and effective workforce. She is known as a highly skilled capacity-building professional with a MS in Human Resources Development from Villanova University and a PhD in Arts Administration, Education, and Policy from The Ohio State University. Brea is Program Director and Associate Director at Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Principal Consultant at ISO Arts Consulting, and an ABC Business on Board Alumnae.
Headshot of Peter Mostachetti

A 24-year IBM veteran, Peter Mostachetti started out as a storage specialist, and eventually followed his passion to Leadership Development, and Talent Transformation. With experience engaging audiences in the U.S., South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Peter specializes in engagement, feedback, managing dilemmas, fostering collaboration, transformational leadership, and using Agile techniques to drive cultural transformation. Peter is an accomplished actor having performed in and around the Hudson Valley and Off-Broadway. He is a sought-after speaker at both national and international conferences, and a four-time speaker at the United Nations. As a NYS Licensed Master Social Worker, he has always been committed to mentoring, coaching, leading teams; helping people to find their hidden strengths and values with a mind toward moving forward. In his spare time, he’s an executive coach, and works with local area schools through the Gay, Lesbian, Education Network (GLSEN) to develop students and educators, making schools safer for all.

Helanah Warren

As a leadership coach, Helanah Warren works with high-performing leaders who want to gain valuable bottom-up perspective, increase the value-add from their teams, and dial up their understanding of what it means to lead through change. For employees, Helanah offers mental health and well-being group coaching programs to address the needs of a burnt-out, overwhelmed, and frustrated team who require wellness strategies that are simple to implement and save them time and money.

Title Sponsor


Supporting Sponsors

Brainchild Inspiration Group
ISO Arts Consulting
Tyler School of Art and Architecture

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