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Valerie Nicholson-Watson leads professional development for Executive Director Institute

Executive Director Institute

The Executive Director Institute (EDI) is a 6-month virtual learning opportunity exclusively for nonprofit executive directors. Course content weaves together theory, experience and context to help leaders evolve, keep up with best practices and learn new ways to creatively deal with the full range of organizational issues.

2022 Executive Director Institute

The deadline to apply for the 2022 Executive Director Institute has passed. Please reach out to to be put on the wait list for the 2023 session.

Executive Director Institute Structure

  • A 6-month course. Attendees meet twice per month via Zoom to expand their management and leadership skill base.
  • Each bimonthly workshop is half-day (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and includes topic experts, business leaders and seasoned executive directors who provide hands-on, real life experiences.
  • All sessions are held virtually on Zoom.
  • Participants can expect to acquire knowledge from sector experts, gain best practice information from experienced leaders while having an opportunity for open dialogue to address areas of specific needs.

2022 Dates:

  • January 11 & 25
  • February 8 & 22
  • March 8 & 29
  • April 12 & 26
  • May 10 & 24
  • June 7 & 21

Executive Director Institute curriculum includes:

  • Nonprofit Trends
  • Leadership Challenges and Opportunities
  • Operations
  • Board Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Resource & Fund Development
  • Marketing/Communications & Media Relations
  • Organization & Productivity
  • Stress Reduction & Work/Life Balance

At the end of Executive Director Institute, participants can expect to:

  • have increased leadership confidence and capacity,
  • know how to build relationships with board members,
  • have the tools to plan and manage a budget and the knowledge to guide a financially sustainable nonprofit,
  • learn the components of development and fundraising and the ED’s role in the development program,
  • have an understanding of communication strategies needed to reach new audiences and raise public awareness,
  • adapt to a changing and complex landscape,
  • and be energized for the long haul.

Guidelines for Executive Director Institute participation

  • Currently serve as a paid executive director, president or CEO of a nonprofit organization
  • Executive Director's organization must have tax exempt status at the time of application
  • Executive Director's organization must be or become a Nonprofit Connect member (Not yet a member? Learn more.)
  • Commit to attend all of the twelve sessions in full
  • Pay the tuition in full by January 7 to reserve a seat in the class


Selection for participation in EDI is by application. The deadline to apply for the 2022 session has passed. Please reach out to to be put on the wait list for the 2023 session.