Reflections on the 2016-2017 Emerging Leaders Program

On March 30, 2017, LEAP’s Emerging Leaders Program for nonprofit staff concluded in New York City. With a special keynote conversation with Geri Mannion, Program Director, U.S. Democracy and Special Opportunities Fund at the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The seventeen participants of the 2016-2017 Emerging Leaders Program shared personal stories about their experience and received certificates amongst friends, funders, and trainers at China Blue over dinner. 

Read on to hear from Mai Youa Moua, one of the alumni from this year’s program.  She is the Assistant Program Director at Genesys Works in Minnesota.

2016-2017 ELP Graduation (March 30, 2017 at China Blue in NYC)

2016-2017 ELP Graduation (March 30, 2017 at China Blue in NYC)

Through LEAP, I had the privilege of sharing space and time with inspiring, intelligent, and strong Asian and Pacific Islander nonprofit leaders from across the nation. When I applied to LEAP's  Emerging Leaders Program, I knew that I would get the opportunity to grow and develop my skills, which I did. From the intensive six month program, I learned and got to practice a range of skills and leadership frameworks that will help propel me forward in my career, including in the areas of people management and coaching, public speaking, and running a program.
Along with building my leadership toolkit, I was pleasantly surprised at the work I got to do to reflect on myself and evaluate my values and what matters most to me. As the only Asian American manager at my workplace, my values and the norms within which I grew up are often challenged. For example, I have been told to speak up more often and that I need to be more assertive to be considered a leader. Through the Emerging Leaders Program, I was reassured that it is okay to keep my values in the workplace because there are skills that I can cultivate to present myself as a leader.
Coming out of the Emerging Leaders Program, I have a newfound sense of confidence about my skills to succeed and a level of comfort with sharing my relevant life stories with the team I work with so that they better understand my leadership approach. Additionally, my participation in the Emerging Leaders Program is one of several reasons I was promoted to an assistant director position.
For many reasons, I am thankful to the LEAP staff and my peers in the training program; they inspire me to be authentic and to be a more courageous leader. Additionally, I am thankful for the partners who support the Emerging Leaders Program, such as The Coca-Cola Foundation, The American Express Foundation, and Southwest Airlines, for providing such an impactful experience for me and other API leaders from across the US. 
— Mai Youa Moua

About the Emerging Leaders Program

The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is a three-part, six-month program designed to build nonprofit organizational capacity by developing Asian and Pacific Islander (API) staff for future and current leadership and management roles in nonprofit organizations as well as increasing the retention of APIs who are committed to working in the nonprofit sector. 

For more information about the Emerging Leaders Program, visit:

Special thanks to the sponsors of the Emerging Leaders Program

American Express Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation

Southwest Airlines - The Official Airlines of the Emerging Leaders Program