Members of the Leadership Fellows Academy pose for a photo

Leadership Fellows Academy

Leadership Fellows Academy (LFA) is a transformational, cohort learning experience for executive directors, owners, and board chairs of consumer operated nonprofit organizations across the state.

About the Program

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Today as leaders, organizations and communities we are challenged by a need to be adaptive and innovative to solve the grand challenges of our time. The Leadership Fellows Academy seeks to create a community of such leaders to face these challenges and be adaptive leaders who are empowered to work together to build and strengthen the recovery movement in North Carolina.

The Leadership Fellows Academy is a program developed through a partnership between the Institute for Nonprofits at NC State, the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, and the UNC – Chapel Hill, School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families. Its goal is to develop leadership capacity for executive directors, owners and board chairs of consumer operated nonprofit organizations across the state.

Embracing the challenges of adaptive leadership and innovation, this experience explores capacity building across the domains of personal, organizational, and community leadership. It is based on the conceptual framework of Ronald Heifetz, who explores the relevance of technical and adaptive leadership as skills needed in today’s leaders. It is also based on the Institute for Nonprofit’s five leadership challenges for leaders to be successful in today’s nonprofit and social sectors. The program blends the benefits of on-site, face-to-face style learning with the convenience of online learning. Application of program learning to real-time challenges is accomplished through personal and group coaching.

What Participants Can Expect

  • A community of leaders tackling complex societal challenges and supporting each other
  • A new perspective on the challenges facing your organization and community
  • Results-focused coaching that expands your confidence and strengths
  • Usable knowledge, tools, and feedback to help you achieve immediate impact
  • Experiences and ideas to cultivate your strategic and critical thinking
  • The opportunity to holistically focus on enhancing your and others' capacity for good leadership

View Curriculum


Here's what participants have to say...

“This program allowed me the opportunity to acquire knowledge I did not have before. I know my organizations will succeed because of what I learned here.” – 2017-2018 fellow

“I have a more cohesive and informed set of specified leadership tools that I will apply to leadership challenges.” – 2017-2018 fellow

“This opportunity allows its participants an inside education on all things nonprofit. Leadership Fellows Academy allows networking with peers or other person’s. [They] meet each other where they are and help others in Behavioral Health become their best selves through peer run organizations.  Because peers get it!” – 2017-2018 fellow

“Great program! Feel gifted to be a part of it!” – 2017-2018 fellow

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Eligibility Requirements

The minimum requirements for acceptance into this program are

(1) Applicant must either live or work in the state of North Carolina

(2) Applicant must have lived experience with Mental Health and/or Substance Use disorder as self-identified


(3) Applicant must currently be working in an executive level position in a nonprofit human service organization OR have an interest in starting their own nonprofit (501(c)3) human service organization

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For more information about how LFA can help you and your nonprofit be more effective, efficient, and sustainable, contact us at