NextGen Leaders programs are rigorous and affirming of our fellows’ identities. Our programs are free to our fellows but require an investment of time and energy that is best described as “significant but manageable, and respectful of the other dimensions of your life.”  At NextGen Leaders, diversity is a driving motivation.  Our goal is to admit a cohort that is diverse, aspirational, and supportive of its members. Typically, cohorts range in size between 20 and 30 fellows.  Promise and potential as a leader are just as important as early career accomplishments. 

Our foundational course is the NextGen LGBTQ Emerging Leaders Program which is offered to young LGBTQ professionals between 21 and 30 years of age who have been nominated by senior leaders, including NextGen alumni, in their communities. 

In addition to the Emerging LGBTQ, NextGen Leaders is actively developing programs for other groups.  A pre-piloted program for emerging transgender (both binary and non-binary) leaders is scheduled to be announced in late fall, 2019, and conducted beginning in early 2020.  We are also actively developing “Masters Classes” that are deeper dives for more advanced professionals.

The LGBTQ Emerging Leaders Program is a strengths-based program that addresses leadership from three interdependent perspectives:

Leadership Area

As LGBTQ Individuals:

Personal Leadership

How we care for and manage ourselves and our personal relationships

Professional Leadership

How we lead at work and advance our careers to maximize satisfaction and contribution to organizational and team success

Civic Leadership

How we give back

The LGBTQ Emerging Leaders Program is designed to introduce new, and reinforce existing, leadership skills that are essential to upward professional mobility and are especially relevant to younger professionals in a wide range of professions, careers and industries and are helpful in our personal lives as well.

In addition to the strengths-based framework, The NextGen LGBTQ Emerging Leaders Program introduces mindfulness as a useful tool that enhances leadership effectiveness.  Through meditation, yoga and mindfulness more generally, practitioners typically will see movement of key health indicators move toward normal. Responses to stressful situations will be more thoughtful and less reactive. Creativity should improve and levels of trust and productivity of your team should increase.

At the center of the NextGen experience are our Leadership Labs.  For the LGBTQ Emerging Leaders Program, labs meet for four to five hours, one Saturday per month for six months.  Leadership Labs are interactive, practical and a place where fellows work with leadership experts and coaches one on one and in small groups to focus on skills-building and discuss challenges and opportunities they may be facing.

The LGBTQ Emerging Leaders Program also has a strong networking component that will facilitate new and mutually beneficial relationships between NextGen fellows and a diverse array of high-potential and highly accomplished professionals.  At NextGen, networking consists of much more than meeting as many people in your field as possible and sending them the occasional email or invitation to drinks.  For us, networking is strategic.  It’s programmable.  And it takes focused time and energy.  NextGen fellows learn the benefits of stretching their definitions of who’s relevant to their career as well as their understanding of what they can contribute to others in their network.  Networking opportunities are strategically created with other organizations and groups, many of which are outside the LGBTQ space and outside the fellows’ main areas of expertise or professional focus.  And that’s by design.

An important part of our networking activities is centered in NextGen’s unique “Community Conversations,” in which small groups of fellows meet leaders and stakeholders from a variety of community groups (think environmental organizations, senior centers, teachers groups, women’s and minority organizations, etc.) to hear first-hand what it’s like to run these organizations, the strategic challenges and opportunities they face, their missions and how they collaborate with other groups to achieve greater results.

NextGen fellows are also required to participate in a Day of Service project that the cohort designs, organizes and implements on its own.  Day of Service projects are generally scheduled in month six of the program and must be completed before the cohort can graduate.

LGBTQ Emerging Leaders Typical Schedule




  • Take StrengthsFinder Assessment
  • Prepare for Networking Seminar

Leadership Lab 1

  • StrengthsFinder Top 5 Assessment Results
  • 21st Century Networking

Networking Event 1

LGBTQ History and its Relevance to Today’s Queer Leader

Leadership Lab 2

  • My Leadership Model
  • Introduction to Mindfulness
  • So You Think You Want to Run for Office?

Networking Event 2

Community Conversations I: Small Group “Listen and Learn” Explorations

Leadership Lab 3

  • Personal Financial Wellness
  • StrengthsFinder in Personal Lives
  • Mindfulness and Work Life Balance

Networking Event 3

Regional Business Network

Leadership Lab 4

  • Realities and Strategies for Trans Leaders
  • LGBTQ Executive Branding

Networking Event 4

Community Conversations II: Small Group “Listen and Learn” Explorations

Leadership Lab 5

Civic Leadership: Conversations with Path-Breaking Leaders

Networking Event 5

Regional Political or Civic Network

Leadership Lab 6

The Big Speech: From Board Presentations to Your First TEDx Talk

Networking Event 6

NextGen Graduation Celebration

NextGen Alumni Program

Finally, the NextGen Alumni Program, already over 100 alumni strong, will launch in the fall of 2019 and will provide on-going training and programming. It will serve as a tightly knit group of professionals who are invested in each other’s success. In addition to organizing and hosting their own activities, NextGen alums are welcome to attend Leadership Labs on a space-available basis.