CMF Mentoring Program Celebrates Graduation

Monday, May 23, 2016

After an intense program aimed at building the next generation of philanthropic leadership, the 2016 graduates of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) Mentoring Program celebrated their accomplishments at a recent ceremony held at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

The program is built around several goals, including increasing diversity and promoting inclusion in Michigan’s philanthropic sector; providing effective leadership development programming; increasing participants’ technical skills to include critical thinking and leadership in their area of expertise, and creating long-lasting business relationships.

During the nine-month program, mentees were provided executive coaching to help them develop personalized career plans, focus on an executive training curriculum, and engage in relationship-building programs and training.

“Throughout this program, we utilized the 7C framework, which seeks to integrate elements of both the person and the organization into one approach for leadership development,” speaker Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, associate dean of undergraduate programs and clinical professor of strategy, management and organizations at the Ross School of Business said.

“This year’s mentees were immersed in a well-rounded series of strategic conversations and lessons, ideas and concepts they will be able to utilize as their philanthropic careers progress,” Wooten said.

Shannon Polk, principal of Leadership Solutions, provided the final “Energizer” session for the program graduates, highlighted by video clips from the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher movie, “Iron Lady” which depict her leadership evolution that can be emulated by the graduates.

“This is an exciting time for them,” Polk said. “They can take these invaluable lessons into any situation…and it helps them develop their full leadership potential in the philanthropic sector. It’s an incredibly well-thought out and developed program.”

At the end of the day-long event, the mentees shared their ongoing capstone projects, each conceived and developed by the participants during the program and designed to address an area of need in their communities.

The projects ranged from the creation of a culture and dining etiquette program, to developing a guide on cultivating and managing one’s career as an early professional, to building a community engagement infrastructure in communities of color, to formulating a community report card based on data to track progress on strategic grantmaking efforts.

“This was an incredible experience,” Ciara Coleman, a mentee said. “The lessons learned were relevant, topical and real world, that I can take with me and use throughout my career. I’d recommend this program to anyone in our field.”

Here’s a list of the mentors and mentees:

  • Ciara Coleman, program manager, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
  • Mentor: Lynnette Ferrell, senior program officer, Frey Foundation
  • Alyssa Curran, program officer, Fremont Area Community Foundation. Mentor: Gary Dembs, CFO, 4th Sector Consulting
  • Jessica Ledesma, Challenge Scholars assistant, Grand Rapids Community Foundation
  • Mentor: Luz Benitez-Delgado, program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Chelsea Liddy, coordinator, Center for Arab American Philanthropy. Mentor: Melissa Smith, program manager, DENSO North American Foundation
  • Alana White, program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Co-Mentors: Kimberly Houston-Philpot, director, corporate and foundation relations, Central Michigan University, and Shannon Polk, principal, Leadership Solutions
  • Malia Xie, CMF Fellow, The Skillman Foundation
  • Mentor: Kelly Rankin, vice president quality, Comer Holdings LLC/Comer Foundation
  • Ebony White, program manager, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Mentor: Andrea Cole, executive director and CEO, Ethel and James Flinn Foundation
  • Meagan Dunn, director, community outreach and partnership, Henry Ford Health System
  • Mentor: Jason Paulateer, vice president and marketing manager, PNC
  • Ebony Jones, Learning Services intern, CMF
  • Mentor: Oliver Ragsdale, president and CEO, The Carr Center
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