Cohort XII...Up...Up and Away

After interviewing over 1100 applicants and shepherding 12 cohorts through an 11-month 16-session program, I keep waiting for it all to become a little more routine. Interview almost 100 people in a week…find the 20 to 24 A’s…make the appropriate pairings between participants and coaches…execute our curriculum plan and guide them into an even larger cohort of all the graduates who have graduated from NLDP – 229 to be exact. But it has never become routine and NLDP Cohort XII was no different. 

If given the task of describing NLDP Cohort XII in only one word, it would be curious. Yes, they are a curious lot…Cohort XII. I happen to believe that curiosity in a leader is a good thing. Curious leaders pursue what is typically unseen by most others. No matter how successful they’ve been, they yearn to climb the next mountain for even greater gains. Curious leaders usually welcome others into their curiosity and entreat them to see the possibility of what they see. John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were curious leaders who dared us to come to the mountaintop and look over toward a better America where the content of one’s character truly matters. 

Yes, NLDP Cohort XII you are a curious and good lot and we at NLDP know you will do great things for our City and its neighborhoods…up…up and away!

Soon To Be Cohort XIII…what great wonder will you bring us, the neighborhoods of Cleveland? Recruitment for NLDP Cohort XIII ends Monday August 5th at 5:00pm. 

Michael R. White, NLDP Program Director

NLDP Welcomes Two New Staff Members!

NLDP recently bid farewell to two wonderful staff members - Marissa Williams and Alan Seifullah. Their hard work and dedication will carry on through the work of Julia Ferra and Zach Prosser. Julia, NLDP's new Graduate Support Manager, grew up in a suburb outside of the City but will soon become a resident of Cleveland again. Julia has four brothers and comes from a huge Italian family. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the Levin College at Cleveland State University in 2018 with a major in Urban Studies and a minor in Sustainable Urban Development. She is hoping this new role at NLDP will utilize her passion for supporting people in their efforts to foster healthy spaces around them - and fuel her love for Cleveland! 
NLDP's new Coach Zach Prosser is originally from Illinois but considers New Orleans home. He lived there for ten years and it was where he met his wife and they experienced their fondest memories of the city - strolling through the French Quarter while listening to the street performers and drinking frozen cafe au'laits. Zach and his wife have lived in the Greater Cleveland area for the past five years. Zach is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) as well as the ICF Cleveland Chapter President. His coaching approach provides his clients with a welcoming and safe space to embark on a journey of creative self-discovery.

NLDP is excited to have these two on board!
"Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods." - Unknown
New NLDP Graduate Services to Be Announced in September...

What kind of space is FREE to use and also has free WiFi, parking AND coffee? Only a space NLDP can offer its graduates! A space for coworking will be available for graduates to use and will provide them opportunities to network and establish a base for their projects and programs in the City. NLDP will also be offering a coaching space to encourage graduates to utilize their two free coaching sessions per year and to allow for a more comfortable and collaborative space for both coaches and graduates to connect.

NLDP will be sending out a survey to graduates in the next few weeks to assess their needs and wishes for the coworking space. Graduates should fill this survey out by Friday, August 30th at 5pm . Keep an eye out for this email - we are eager to hear your ideas!
Graduate Shout Outs
Special congratulations to...

Clarissa Russell, Cohort XI, on being selected as a 2019 Phenomenal Woman by The Phenomenal Foundation.

Waverly Willis, Cohort XII, and his businesses within The Urban Barber Association, for being featured on News 5 Cleveland.

Anita Gardner, Cohort V, on being the recipient of the Cleveland Neighborhood Progress "Civic Champion Award."

Tonya Perkins-Stoudermire, Cohort IX, on her appearance on CW 43 to promote her event Bessie's Walk.

Chrishawndra Matthews, Cohort X, on her collaboration with Waverly Willis and their appearance on We The People on WKYC.

Mary Kauffman, Cohort VIII, on being featured in The Plain Dealer and on for her work with the iConnect program.

NLDP Graduates on being featured in FreshWater for their hard work throughout Cleveland's neighborhoods.
Attention All Non-Profit Organizations

Are you having problems finding good Board members? NLDP can help!

Currently 27% of NLDP’s 229 graduates are serving on the boards of one or more non-profit organizations. We have more graduates who want to serve and we are talking with the leaders of organizations who are searching for solid community leaders to be members of their Boards of Directors.

Most non-profit leaders will tell you that one of the top three challenges for many organizations is finding good talent for their Boards of Directors. It is not enough that board members be smart but in order to truly help the organization, these leaders must be dedicated, passionate and wholly committed to the non-profit’s mission. 

This year NLDP began the Graduate Board Match Program, or GBMP, a program designed to match the interests of our graduates with the needs of non-profit organizations. The purpose of GBMP is to be a one-stop shop to match graduates looking to do more in the community with organizations in need of more quality board leaders. We’re currently completing our first round of Graduate/Board matches and soon will begin our second round. 

If you’re a graduate looking to help a non-profit improve its functionality or a non-profit looking for engaged and committed board members, contact our Graduate Support Manager Julia Ferra at 216.776.6170 or We can help you find the perfect match!
NLDP Graduates Cohorts I-XII...We Rise By Lifting Others.
An NLDP Leadership Health Alert
Take This Medical Survey NOW!

1. Do you constantly feel an urgent need to help people and make your neighborhood/community better?

Yes__ No__

2. Are you so passionate about wanting to make things better that even when you go to bed after a long day, you wake up the next morning raring to go? 

Yes__ No__

3. Are you constantly thinking about projects you can do to make your community better while yearning to be a better leader? 

Yes__ No__

If you answered yes to two out of three of the above questions, we regret to inform you that you have BetterLeaderitis…a community improvement disease that can only be cured by applying to be a participant in NLDP Cohort XIII.

Contact NLDP Immediately and APPLY for Cohort XIII

Email us at or call us at 216.776.6167.
Fun, Painting and Fellowship

One of NLDP's hidden gems is the Graduate Events Committee. These individuals take on the task of gathering graduates across each cohort for intentional time to connect, get to know each other and to have fun. The most recent event organized by the Committee was the Paint Party in May. NLDP graduates from different cohorts came together in a fun environment to do something different.

As soon as the graduates started working on their art, they laid down their fears of having a "good" painting and became immersed in the creating of the art piece. NLDP's Program Associate, Yuolanda, was inspired by one of the graduates who told her "you may not be an artist on canvas but you're an artist in life and in all the other things you do successfully."

The Graduate Events Committee takes this success and will use the good energy to plan the next event - one that will include the newest addition of graduates from Cohort XII.
Join NLDP's Graduate Events Committee!

NLDP wants to thank those who are a part of the Graduate Events Committee for planning an amazing event! The graduates who currently dedicate their time and energy to the Committee are: Clarissa Russell (Cohort XI), Gwen Garth (Cohort VI), Lavita Ewing (Cohort XI), Magnolia Peters (Cohort X), Robin Turner (Cohort XI), Sharon Core (Cohort XI) and Veronica Walton (Cohort III).

NLDP's ongoing mission is to connect our 229 graduates to each other and to help them succeed with their personal and professional community goals. NLDP is looking for graduates who have a desire to partner with us in this mission.

Come share your passion for organizing and planning events! Become a member of the Graduate Events Committee and utilize your skills while continuing to grow in NLDP. We will provide a platform for you to continue networking!

NLDP is hoping to have a representative from each cohort, so sign up today!

To join the Graduate Events Committee, contact NLDP's Graduate Support Manager Julia at or 216.776.6170.
"I always think about the next generation and creating a different blueprint for them. That's my goal: to let them know there's another way." - Janelle Monae
The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program is a Program of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.