Applications for Executive Director Intensive Are Live

Applications for Executive Director Intensive Are Live

June 17, 2024 to August 2, 2024
11:59 pm

Apply Here

Being an executive director can be both rewarding and challenging. While executives assume leadership roles because they are passionate about the communities they serve, they increasingly face operational disruptions, increased demand for services, and a host of sustainability challenges. Now more than ever, executive directors need timely, relevant training and networks of support.   

In partnership with the Kresge Foundation and Chevron, the Greater New Orleans Foundation is excited to host the 2024-2025 Executive Director Intensive (EDI), a comprehensive leadership program exclusively for nonprofit executive directors, CEOs, and presidents. “Chevron believes our success is directly tied to the strength of the communities in which we operate,” said Leah Brown, Corporate Affairs Manager at Chevron. “We’re proud of our long-standing partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation and our collaborations that strengthen our area’s nonprofit ecosystem. With staff transitions at an all-time high, executive directors throughout the region regard the Foundation’s leadership development initiatives as critical to their organizational success. We thank the Greater New Orleans Foundation for their on-going work to drive positive change through philanthropy, leadership, and action.” 

EDI combines experienced trainers and peer learning to support leaders as they develop critical technical and leadership skills; inspire their staff, board members, and other stakeholders to deeper impact and greater responsiveness; and envision organizations that simultaneously meet community needs and successfully navigate the changes occurring in the nonprofit sector.   

Program Content 

The program’s curriculum draws on research, experiences with individual coaching and organizational capacity building in the region, and the collective wisdom of EDI alumni to create a powerful space to cultivate core leadership skills, think creatively, tryout fresh ideas, and identify action steps to successfully lead your organization. Session topics include:  

  • strategic priorities and organizational decision-making;  
  • organizational sustainability and financial health;  
  • organizational business models and revenue streams for your model;  
  • mutually supportive and interdependent partnerships with your board (generally) and your board chair (specifically); and   
  • the executive director’s role in people management and talent development.  

Program Format 

Over 6 months, cohort members will engage readings, videos, and relevant tools; reflect on learnings between sessions; and apply new practices and strategies in their day-to-day work. Program components at which cohort members’ attendance is required include: a kickoff session, three in-person and two virtual training sessions, an express financial coaching session, and a closing session. We will host a social gathering prior to the program’s start to encourage cohort members to meet one another as well as EDI alumni from previous cohorts. While attendance at the social is optional, we strongly encourage cohort members to attend.  

Program Calendar 

*All in-person sessions will be at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, 919 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130* 

Session Date and Time Format 
EDI Social and Meet and Greet (optional)  October 3, 2024 – 5pm-8pm  In-person 
Kickoff Session  October 22, 2024 – 9am-3pm  In-person 
Organizational Strategy  November 12, 2024 – 9am-3pm  In-person 
The Executive Director Role in People Management and Talent Development (Pt. 1)  December 3, 2024 – 10am-12pm  Virtual 
The Executive Director Role in People Management and Talent Development (Pt. 2)  January 7, 2025 – 10am-12pm  Virtual 
Organizational Health and Financial Sustainability  January 28, 2025 – 9am-3pm  In-person 
Financial Coaching  TBD  Virtual 
Governance and Board Roles and Responsibilities  February 18, 2025 – 9am-3pm  In-person 
Closing Session  March 18, 2025 – 9am-3pm  In-person 

Commitment to Participation 

The ability to attend all in-person sessions is critical to the community learning experience. Please ensure your availability to participate in all sessions at the time you apply and hold all program dates on your calendar as you await the cohort decisions.   


The fee for the program is $400. Payment will be due upon acceptance into the program. However, we never want funding to be a barrier to participation. We have a small pool of funds available for partial scholarships for qualified participants.   


Click here to apply. Space is limited, and we anticipate high demand for this program. First-time executive directors and executive directors who have been in their current role for 3 years or less will be given priority. To encourage applicants from throughout the Foundation’s 13-parish region, we will offer travel support to cohort members who live in Assumption, Lafourche, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, St. James, and Washington Parishes as needed. The deadline to apply is Friday, August 2, 2024, by 11:59pm.  

If you have any questions about the program, including scholarships, please contact Alana Peck, Nonprofit Leadership and Effectiveness Senior Program Associate, at or 504.620.5272.  

Meet the Trainers:  

Marla Cornelius, MNA 

Nonprofit Leadership, Management, and Board Governance Consultant  

Certified Gallup Strengths Coach 

Marla Cornelius works with organizations and leaders committed to social justice. She is skilled at designing programs and consulting engagements that blend highly relevant theory with practical application. Her deep understanding of nonprofits, the challenges facing leaders, and the way that power plays out in organizations enables her to create environments where clients can explore new realities, learn new approaches, and achieve their goals. Marla is an expert trainer, coach, and consultant who has also co-authored a number of national studies and research reports on leadership. She has extensive board experience and currently serves on the board of Cat Town, an animal rescue and rehabilitation organization in Oakland, CA.   

Hilda Polanco 

Market Managing Partner, BDO USA LLP 

Hilda Polanco leads BDO’s Nonprofit & Grantmaker Advisory specialty services group, which exclusively serves nonprofit organizations and their funders, and is the new home of FMA, the specialty practice she founded in 1999 as Fiscal Management Associates. Passionate about helping nonprofits develop a resilient long-term financial strategy, Hilda has also worked closely with some of the nation’s largest foundations to illuminate the full cost of delivering nonprofit programs and has joined them in calling others in the philanthropic sector to better understand nonprofit revenue models and ultimately, to work toward more knowledgeable financing of those business models. Hilda is widely known for providing nonprofit leaders with the skills and confidence they need to tell their organization’s financial story, as well as working with boards to strengthen their capacity to execute their fiduciary responsibility. Currently on the faculty of Columbia Business School’s Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, she is also a frequent speaker with the AICPA and philanthropy-serving organizations such as GEO, PEAK Philanthropy, and Philanthropy NY.