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Thunderbird and American Express Foundation renew partnership to support the development of social sector emerging leaders

November 16, 2009

A leadership development program for some of the world’s top social sector organizations last spring was so successful, Thunderbird School of Global Management and the American Express Foundation have agreed to offer the program again.

Thirty leaders from approximately eight or nine global nonprofit/NGO organizations will participate in a weeklong executive development program funded by American Express and delivered by Thunderbird’s top global faculty April 26-30, 2010, at the school’s Glendale campus. The second annual “Thunderbird Emerging Social Sector Leadership Program” is funded by a grant from American Express Foundation as part of its Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow philanthropic initiative.

The five-day program will guide participants on how to develop new leadership skills in these tough economic times. Key learning themes will include leadership, strategy, finance, brand management, fundraising, change and innovation-all within a global context.  The program is unique at Thunderbird as it is customized for a consortium of global nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations.

“In our pilot program last spring, the Thunderbird faculty was able to help some of the world’s top social sector organizations gain the knowledge and skills they needed to tackle challenges and execute change in order to further support their respective missions,” says Beth Stoops, senior vice president of Thunderbird Corporate Learning. “Educating leaders who create sustainable value not only in their organizations but also within their communities and the world at large is Thunderbird’s mission. Programs like this allow us to carry out that mission in a very meaningful way.”

The first annual Thunderbird Social Sector Leadership Program, which was held in March,2009, included emerging leaders from American Cancer Society; Make-A-Wish Foundation of America; International Rescue Committee; The Peace Corps; Fresh Start Women’s Foundation; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; The Grameen Foundation; National Audubon Society and Habitat for Humanity.

“Thunderbird and American Express have teamed on this five-day intensive learning program to help bridge the leadership gap that exists within the nonprofit sector. Through this program, we are able to take emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector and strategically develop their individual and organizational leadership capabilities to allow them to better fulfill and deliver on their missions,” says Joy Lubeck, Associate Vice President, Global Corporate Partnerships at Thunderbird.

Selection of organizations for the next class will be through a competitive nomination and application process. Participants will again bring to the leadership development program specific challenges they may be facing within their organization that will become their class projects for development throughout the program. Further, they will be expected to build their own Personal Leadership Development Plan, in order to intentionally develop their personal leadership capabilities. They will work with other participants and Thunderbird’s world-renowned faculty to find solutions to those problems and to develop plans of action to take back to their organizations for implementation. The program includes follow-up and coaching consultations from Thunderbird’s faculty, to help ensure their success.

”American Express is committed to being good citizens in the communities in which we live and work,” said Leslie Motter, General Manager for American Express in Phoenix. “We recognize the significant impact that social sector leaders have in our society. The fact that we can bring global leaders to this program through the collaboration of American Express and Thunderbird is a huge win.”