NORDP LEAD: Developing Leadership Pathways Within the Field of Research Development

Applications for the second cohort of NORDP Leadership, Engagement and Development (LEAD) are being accepted through 11:59pm EDT on Monday, August 22, 2022.

NORDP LEAD is focused on creating pathways for member engagement, service, and leadership across all levels of NORDP and within the research development profession. The program initially grew out of a need to develop strong leadership pathways within NORDP and has expanded to help prepare members to become committee chairs, working group leads, or Board Members within NORDP, as well as to step into leadership roles within their home organizations.

Lisa Lopez, 2022-2023 LEAD Cohort Leader

Lisa Lopez, a Senior Research Development Officer in the College of Health and Human Development at Cal State Fullerton, participated in the first LEAD cohort and is looking forward to working with the second LEAD cohort this fall. “What we want to do this year is build on the strong foundation of the first LEAD cohort and bring in elements that will give participants the tools to help them grow within the field and at their home institutions,” said Lopez. “Ultimately, we want participants to leave the program with a better understanding of where they want to take their next level of commitment to this work.”

Participants in the 2022-2023 LEAD cohort will gain an understanding of different leadership strengths and styles; planning for professional growth; and opportunities for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in research development. They also will learn about NORDP’s operations and structure, what it looks like to serve on the NORDP or other non-profit boards, and opportunities for service throughout the organization.

The upcoming LEAD cohort will be limited to 12 individuals to maximize opportunities for learning, community building, and professional networking. The cohort will meet on the third Thursday monthly from September 2022 to April 2023. Nathan Meier, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and one of the LEAD program co-leaders believes the small cohort size will provide an even better experience for participants. “We want to spend quality time together as a group, and this cohort size will allow for deeper opportunities for more intimate connections among participants,” noted Meier. 

When asked what an ideal candidate for the LEAD program would look like, Lopez and Meier emphasized that they view LEAD as a program for NORDP members at all levels, not just long-time NORDP members. “There’s no requirement to have been working in RD for a long time,” pointed out Lopez. “We’re just looking for folks who have been in RD long enough to know that this is what they want to do.” Added Meier, “An ideal applicant is someone who’s at a place in their NORDP membership or RD career where they feel at home and want to put down roots. Someone who is ready to spend some time thinking about where they want to go within the organization and the profession and is interested in receiving support as they move along that path.”

Jessica Moon, previous LEAD Cohort Member

Jessica Moon, the Executive Director of the Stanford Aging and Ethnogeriatrics Research Center and member of the first LEAD Cohort, says that participating in LEAD has paved the way for subsequent opportunities and positions within NORDP, and she continues to apply the lessons learned from LEAD. “I learned a lot about NORDP as a nonprofit organization, which I think makes LEAD unique from other opportunities within NORDP. Many of the topics we discussed focused on growing as a professional, not just as a leader within NORDP, and I have applied those lessons broadly to my professional life,” said Moon. “I had a lot of feelings of imposter syndrome, but LEAD gave me the confidence I needed to (successfully!) run for the Board this year.”

Participants in the 2022-2023 LEAD cohort will create a professional growth plan as part of their capstone project for the program, which they’ll be able to put into practice within NORDP and at their home institutions. This element of the program is what Lopez is most excited about. “Developing leadership and growth plans and engaging in strength finding are going to provide tremendous opportunities for LEAD participants to learn about themselves and connect with others around shared professional goals,” said Lopez. “It’s so important to have these kinds of intentional spaces to engage in this important reflection and development.”

Nathan Meier, 2022-2023 LEAD Cohort Leader

Meier added, “The benefit of participating in LEAD is that participants will get to focus on their growth in a way that’s proactive. Oftentimes in our RD jobs, we’re reacting to things and solving problems for others. Folks in the program will get to take some time for themselves once a month to reflect on and dream about what they want out of their careers. They’ll get to know themselves better as an RD professional and as a member of the NORDP community.”

Moon encourages all NORDP members to consider applying for LEAD. “Taking a page from Nike—Just Do It! Even if you don’t want to run for the Board right now, the professional networks, leadership training, and better understanding of NORDP as a nonprofit organization are highly valuable.”

Cohort 2 applications should be submitted via InfoReady by 11:59pm. EDT on Monday, August 22, 2022. Applicants must submit their contact information; a short statement of interest and readiness; and a copy of their curriculum vitae or résumé. All NORDP members in good standing are eligible to apply.

For additional information or questions about NORDP LEAD – Cohort 2, contact Lisa Lopez or Nathan Meier.