Attendee Experiences

“Leadership Sanctuary is a wonderful and much needed opportunity for executive directors. Under the guidance of Heather Kaye and Jan Boxer, our group received valuable and practical information, training and insights about leadership skills and how to enhance them. Through a combination of assigned readings, presentations by Heather and Jan, and guided discussion, we learned how to improve communications skills, navigate conflict productively, and build leadership presence. The program also used an extremely helpful "case study" method that was extremely valuable in giving us hands-on practice and training in addressing real life issues. Over the course of these session, enormous trust was built within the group, and we found the experience so valuable that we plan to continue meeting on our own, using the skills we acquired thanks to the program.”

M A R I A   F O S C A R I N I S
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

Maria Foscarinis
Maria Foscarinis, Esq.
Executive Director
National Law Center on
Homelessness & Poverty

“How much does it matter to a nonprofit director to make time to breathe, reflect on her larger purpose and day-to-day presence, and support peers as they encounter struggles similar to her own? It makes all the difference in the world. Every person trying to lead an organization in the DC area should give himself or herself the gift of the Leadership Sanctuary.”

  J O E L L E   N O V E Y
Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light

Joelle Novey
Joelle Novey
Director
Greater Washington Interfaith
Power & Light

“Leadership Sanctuary is a gift for any leader of a non-profit organization. It provides a framework and tools that enable participants to explore possibilities, exchange ideas, and tackle tough issues in a safe environment. Participants learn that their challenges are not unique and gain strength and insights from each other. It is true to its name, a “sanctuary.”

J U A N I T A   H A R D Y
Executive Director
Cultural DC

Juanita Hardy
Executive Director
Cultural DC

“As a new executive director, I found the Leadership Sanctuary to be an invaluable resource for me. Heather and Jan’s coaching guided my introspection and reflection. They helped me examine how my approach, assumptions, language, and interactions could either get in the way or accelerate achieving my goals. At the same time, the other leaders in the group provided an increasingly honest, insightful network to challenge me in my leadership struggles, teach me through their own trials, and provide a safe space to wrestle with both the expected and unexpected tasks of leading a nonprofit organization, coaching my own staff, and building my nonprofit’s board of directors. The Sanctuary is a unique, challenging, and enriching experience for anyone interested in growing as a leader, person, and community advocate.”

S O N I A   Q U I Ñ Ó N E Z
SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) of Northern Virginia

Sonia Quiñónez
Sonia Quiñónez
Executive Director
SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now)
of Northern Virginia

“The Leadership Sanctuary provided a rare opportunity to meet with other leaders and work together on improving our practice. The facilitators created a supportive and thoughtful community and provided what so many leaders find illusive - time to reflect on our own practice. It was an invaluable experience.”

J E S S I C A   W O D A T C H
Two Rivers Public Charter School

Jessica K. Wodatch
Jessica K. Wodatch
Executive Director
Two Rivers Public Charter School

“Participating in Leadership Sanctuary was a highlight of my year! We moved from being a community of leaders to being a community of trusted friends who share the same joys and concerns of nonprofit management. Heather and Jan's facilitated coaching, assigned readings and guided discussions helped us to find balance in our non-stop lives and taught us to be more effective leaders.”

J O A N   B U R N S
Class Acts Arts

Joan Burns
Joan Burns
Executive Director
Class Acts Arts

“The Leadership Sanctuary offers “traditional” executive coaching methods, peer learning and strategies to help stressed-out nonprofit leaders find balance in their life. I find this blend unique and very powerful. I have benefited from the structure of outlining my goals, the insights of other nonprofit leaders and an increased ability to focus in stressful and fast-paced situations. Several times in the past three months, the techniques I’ve learned have helped me bring a more balanced and focused perspective to leadership challenges within my organization. The time spent has been well worth it and I am looking forward to continued learning in the next nine months of the Leadership Sanctuary.”

J U D I T H   D I T T M A N
Alternative House

Judith Dittman
Judith Dittman
Executive Director
Alternative House

“Frankly, I came to TLS because the time and price were right. The stars aligned for me to begin this endeavor. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I knew that sharing my struggles as an ED with others in the same role could only be a positive thing. I have been to three sessions and I already feel the impact in my own work. TLS has forced me to take time to reflect and gives me tools to do so.”

F R A N C E S   H A R R I S
Action in Community Through Service

Frances Harris
Frances Harris
Executive Director
Action in Community Through Service

“The nonprofit sector is chock full of opportunities to learn about outcomes, programmatic models, improving events and communications. However, few opportunities focus squarely on the leader charged with leading the nonprofit. That unique aspect is what brought me to Leadership Sanctuary. Now that we're several sessions in, I think about leadership and the habits of success in a different way. I look forward to continuing the exploration of my personal leadership as well as learning from the other cohort members.”
S H A N N O N   S T E E N E
Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services


Shannon Steene
Former Executive Director
Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services

When one is in the thick of it as an Executive Director, it is often muddled. When one takes the time to share with peers and answer their questions about the situation, the fog clears and new directions are found - directions based upon core values and goals because they must be stated prior to explaining the situation. This is the gift of self-care and growth offered by the Leadership Sanctuary in an industry that often creates isolation and burnout amongst its leaders.”

S A M  C O L L I N S
Miriam’s House


Samuel Collins
Former Executive Director
Miriams’s House

“We all know how challenging it is to be a leader in the non-profit world. In just a short time, I have gained so much from the Leadership Sanctuary. Each day, each week, I find myself using the skills and tools that you have empowered us with. From making our declarations and using them to guide us strategically, to giving us communication techniques to engage board members and staff, to making us aware of the critical need to balance our professional and personal lives, you are really helping me to become a more effective executive director. Equally important, I am grateful for having a "safe place" or sanctuary to slow down, breathe, share experiences, and network with other non-profit leaders. Thank you for providing this eye-opening, transformational experience.”

G R A C E   L E E
National Park Trust

Grace Lee
Grace Lee
Executive Director
National Park Trust

“I signed up for Leadership Sanctuary because the Nonprofit Roundtable recommended it and the tag line on the TLS website, “find calm…share wisdom…lead confidently”, drew me in. At not quite a third of the way into my year of learning, I am totally hooked. Kathleen and Heather model what they advertise. Their emphasis on the practice of centering, developing new observational skills and intentional communication is already strengthening my leadership style, and I am seeing a positive impact on my management team.

K A R E N   F E I N S T E I N
Family Support Collaborative


Karen Feinstein
Executive Director
Family Support Collaborative

“I entered the Leadership Sanctuary year with an interest in furthering my understanding of the nonprofit sector and recognized the potential for personal and professional development through the goals of LS. I wanted a time, space to trustfully engage and dialogue on matters concerning leadership roles, and derive strength from the inspiration, character, and talents of each participant.

The Leadership Sanctuary forms a trusting bond among the individual participants, and creates a sanctuary for leaders to examine and explore the components of effective leadership, formed by the enriching practices modeled through the LS objectives.

Heather and Kathleen are “active-contemplation” and the dash reminds me to ‘breathe’ in between. I have deeply appreciated the mindful attention to discovering the core meaning of ‘breath’ in my pursuit of living my declarations.”

V A L E R I E   J O H N S O N
KEYS for the Homeless Foundation


Vallerie Johnson
Executive Director
KEYS for the Homeless Foundation

As a relatively new ED, I was excited about the opportunity to lead. While my excitement had not waned, my sense of isolation was quickly increasing. I was drawn to the idea of sharing my situation with similarly situated leaders. I've been helped by an increased sense of awareness of my leadership style. I've enjoyed being able to focus on what I espouse as good leadership and creating practices that keep me centered as I lead. I am much quicker to center my thinking in times of stress. Having a declaration (several) has helped me to focus my expression and provide clarity of vision when working with other key stakeholders.

It was not until I started the program that this became clear. I was initially drawn to the idea of a sanctuary that included a cohort of similarly situated individuals. After the program started, I was glad that it was not a typical "MBA" type of structure with leadership theories that focused solely on the business case and the bottom line. I enjoy the exploratory nature of the program. TLS has helped me understand that I was out of balance. While I knew that was the case, TLS has forced me to look at it, confront it, and provided strategies and tools for bringing me more into balance.

TLS has had positive meaning in my life as a new ED. I've encouraged others to consider it because it has introduced me to a great group of people, helped me to identify self-improvement areas, and provided easy to implement strategies for addressing stress and lack of balance. The case study discussions have been extremely helpful.
J O N A T H A N   W I L L I A M S
Reach for College!

Jonathan Williams
Executive Director
Reach for College!

“The Leadership Sanctuary provides a much-needed community of practice for those who are determined to be the best they can be in serving their community – learning together how to face challenges with humor, support and new resources and honing the skills necessary to support others on their leadership path outside of the sanctuary.”

L O U I S E   K E N N E L L Y
DC Collaborative

Louise Kennelly
Louise Kennelly
Executive Director, DC Collaborative

“The Leadership Sanctuary was a physical and mental retreat where I trust I can access the support I need professionally and personally to weather the storms of leading as a social change agent. The quality of coaching combined with the peer interaction and case studies yields a high return on investment that keeps giving.”

C I N D Y   M O R G A N - J A F F E
The Internship Institute


Cindy Morgan-Jaffee

“When I first saw the announcement, I was attracted for three reasons. One, it was dedicated to helping Executive Directors of nonprofits and I wanted to participate with people who knew what that meant in terms of boards, fundraising and mission. Secondly, the idea of sanctuary, a space and time apart for a few hours each month seemed possible to sustain in a very busy schedule (And it is!). I definitely was seeking more than a workshop but not a daylong experience with a lot of homework attached it. Finally, I was looking for a community of people who might be having the same doubts and hopes as I was given the climate and issues in the city and the world at this time. I had expected TLS to help me be a better leader but TLS has helped me be a more attentive person, particularly to my core strengths. I bring that awareness to all my relationships and carve out time when I am alone to think about my length, width, and depth. The readings are thoughtfully chosen and the discussion has been rich. I think the chance to listen to the case studies, to ask questions and to refrain from jumping in with solutions has been a priceless legacy that I will take with me and use in all my leadership roles. Long after I leave each session, I think about what transpired so I guess I do have homework after all! I will always treasure the sanctuary and inspiration that I experienced at The Leadership Sanctuary!”


J O Y   A U S T I N
Humanities Council of Washington DC

Joy Austin
Joy Austin
Executive Director
Humanities Council of Washington, DC

“I have attended other leadership programs that have analyzed individual strengths and weaknesses. Those programs were helpful but their impact was lost very quickly. The directors of this program understand the common challenges of overworked, understaffed nonprofit EDs. They work with the participants to build self-confidence, assertiveness, and ways to improve communication with the board, staff etc. There are two other very important elements of this program: we are encouraged to get to know the other participants and to share with the group a current challenge. The sharing of ideas, challenges, issues related to reporting to a board has been an invaluable help. I have found these sessions to be well worth my time and energy.”


K A T H Y   H O R A N
Friends of the National Arboretum

Kathy Horan
Kathy Horan
Executive Director
Friends of the National Arboretum

“The Leadership Sanctuary is a rare opportunity to cultivate a peer-community of support and practice the intention of leadership in an environment that equally nurtures a commitment to transformative work and gentle self-care as a necessary means to that end. It has been an enormous part of my professional growth as an executive in the past year, but has been absolutely critical to my personal ability to remain an executive, and have the passion to continue to lead when the demands, pressure, challenges, and responsibility are overwhelming.”


A U B R Y N   A L L Y N   S I D L E
Advancing Girls’ Education in Africa


Aubryn Allyn Sidle
Executive Director
Advancing Girls’ Education in Africa

“Leadership Sanctuary gave me a safe space to learn new skills, apply them and then go back to my group and discuss them. The monthly partner meeting helped me connect with other leaders to discuss successes and challenges. Knowing that I have a strong network of 8 other non-profit leaders, gives me great comfort and support.”


J O D Y   T O M P R O S
Division Director of Social Services
Reston Interfaith


Jody Tompros
Division Director of Social Services
Reston Interfaith

“This experience was absolutely invaluable. I grew as a person and a leader tremendously. I now have an arsenal of tools to be used to not only help manage but excel as a leader. I know that I need to practice the tools so that I am more able to utilize them "in the moment" but generally I am more confident, more communicative, and definitely calmer. Thanks to Lynette for conducting such a valuable experience!”


P H Y L L I S   C H A M B E R L A I N
Executive Director
Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness


Phyllis Chamberlain
Executive Director
Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness

“I entered this program feeling weighted down and completely overwhelmed by a plethora of management challenges that seemed insurmountable. This cohort showed me I wasn't alone and my colleagues provided invaluable insight and advice as I moved through these challenges. I have additional tools to help me evaluate the strategic value of any action/decision and to keep me focused and centered. This has been a transformative experience and I feel that I have emerged from the cocoon of chaos, stronger, better equipped and more focused on what needs to be done. THANKS for the opportunity!”


L O R I   A R G U E L L E S
Executive Director
Alice Ferguson Foundation


Lori Arguelles
Executive Director
Alice Ferguson Foundation

“The workshops, and the videos were good and are helping me focus on the organizations and the people I reach out to support the mission for the Patriots Technology Training Center. Hearing other people issues and the group making suggestion on their issues was a good information.”


T H U R M A N   J O N E S
Executive Director
Patriots Technology Training Center

Thurman Jones
Executive Director
Patriots Technology Training Center

“Just a note to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for the leadership, consultation and help you provided at the Leadership Sanctuary. Stating my declaration for our nonprofit organization proved to be quite fruitful. I am now able to focus on the main goals and objectives of our organization’s mission to include recruiting active Board of Directors for fundraising for the National Association of American Veterans, Inc. (NAAV).
Efficiency accompanied by courtesy and sensitivity to the needs of others is a rare combination in today’s work world. Learning creative ways to meet the challenges in the nonprofit world through your expert advice shared at each leader’s session proved invaluable to me and our organization. The expert advice you gave regarding our organization’s mission, goals, objectives and strategic plan is much appreciated. I am sure this year will be economically better for our organization.”


C O N S T A N C E   B U R N S
President/CEO
National Association of American Veterans

Constance A. Burns
President/CEO
National Association of American Veterans

“The Leadership Sanctuary has provided me with tools and support to develop into an effective and confident leader as I've taken on my new Executive Director role. The lessons I've learned and the relationships I've built will stay with me the duration of my career and my life. My organization has already benefitted from the implementation of practices learned at TLS which help me to be a more thoughtful and centered leader and a more effective communicator. I can only imagine what could be accomplished in the social profits sector if all of our leaders could find a safe space like TLS to learn, grow, and be supported.”


S A R A H   B U R N E T T
Executive Director
Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County

Sarah Burnett
Executive Director
Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County

“With pleasure I laud the brilliance of The Leadership Sanctuary. For me. The Leadership Sanctuary helped strengthen my vision for Life Pieces To Masterpieces and built my confidence in my leadership style. The course provided the safest space possible for interaction and thought-exchange with top nonprofit leaders.I am BEYOND grateful for the program!”


S E L V O N   W A L D R O N
Executive Director
Life Pieces To Masterpieces

Selvon Waldron
Executive Director
Life Pieces to Masterpieces

For more testimonials and to read in depth interviews.

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