Client Spotlight: First Place for Youth Launches Staff Leadership Program

by , May 30, 2012

CompassPoint is thrilled to partner with First Place for Youth (FPFY) as it launches its own customized program to build the leadership and management skills and advance the career opportunities of emerging leaders within its organization. This year-long Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) for twelve staff leaders features an intensive kick-off retreat for participants followed by monthly leadership and management trainings and peer coaching to reinforce learning and provide ongoing support.

We worked with FPFY to design the overall program and to deliver the kick-off retreat, a reflective and instructive experience. The retreat focused on helping participants increase their self-awareness and awareness of others, explore their individual talents and strengths, and connect to their own leadership styles and personal purposes. The retreat also provided a space to build relationships and a learning community: participants took time to get to know one another and exchange experiences and expertise.  

“After fifteen years of working in direct service, it is time to bring together my life experience and professional experience to take a leadership role in the way services are designed for and delivered to at-risk and outsider populations.”


Building off the momentum of the retreat, ELP participants will continue to meet and learn together, as well as receive individual attention to support their leadership development. Currently, participants are completing a 360-degree feedback process. Each participant will meet with a CompassPoint staff person to debrief and interpret key themes emerging from feedback from supervisors, peers, and youth they work with. These results are used to create goals for their personal development and an Individual Development Plan that will help them build on their strengths and focus on areas of leadership that they’d like to develop.

Additionally, the participants recently gathered in-person again to learn about “Strategic Brand Intelligence.” This meeting focused on developing thought processes that leaders use in their everyday work to make effective decisions and navigate the myriad issues that come with being a leader and manager.

First Place for Youth holds two key philosophies:

1)      When the organization invests in its employees, the employees will invest in the organization, and

2)      FPFY has an opportunity to build the up-and-coming leaders of tomorrow’s nonprofit world.

Says FPFY’s Director of Talent Aron Sumii: “It is the goal of First Place for Youth that we support all of the passion and talent that our tremendous staff bring to their work while increasing our organizational bench strength for the future. We also want to ensure that, as our emerging leaders move beyond First Place, we are supporting the nonprofit community by developing effective leaders. Many of our senior leaders (including myself and our CEO) have participated in CompassPoint’s Leadership Program for Executives Serving Transition-Age Youth and we knew that CompassPoint could bring the expertise needed to develop our vision and execute on that vision.”

“I got to know everyone on a human level and in turn was able to see others differently. This is a once in a lifetime experience which really contributes to my growth as a leader”. – FPFY EMERGING LEADER, 2012 COHORT

At CompassPoint, we believe that leadership is a process not limited to a particular title or role, and can therefore live anywhere in an organization, a community, or a movement. Our work with First Place for Youth aligns with this philosophy as well as with our own efforts to create a healthy, diverse pipeline of leaders for organizations and the community. We are excited to see how this journey unfolds for the group and to witness the impact these emerging leaders have on their organization and the community.

The Leadership Program for Executives Serving Transition-Age Youth is generously funded by The California Wellness Foundation. To learn more about this program, our work with First Place for Youth, or CompassPoint’s leadership development work, contact me at michelleg[at]

By Michelle Gislason

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