The mission of the Environmental Leadership Program is to support visionary, action-oriented, and diverse leadership for a just and sustainable future. ELP catalyzes change by providing talented individuals early in their careers with the support and guidance they need to launch new endeavors, achieve new successes, and rise to new leadership positions. Since 2000, we have created a dynamic network of over 500 of the country's top emerging environmental leaders. ELP engages leaders in a series of trainings increasing their ability to embrace diversity and lead across differences, develop a systems thinking perspective, build partnerships/collaborations, utilize strengths-based leadership, while furthering their knowledge of the environmental field.
Our plan of action is guided by strong convictions about the nature of leadership and the need for it within the environmental community. We believe that:
- Leadership begins with relationships and the personal skills needed to develop them. Our greatest impact will lie in the collective capacity of the network we are creating.
- Diversity is a crucial component of public leadership. Environmental leaders must themselves reflect the diversity of the country and have the skills to work across difference.
- Leadership relies on individuals daring to take calculated professional risks.
Guided by these principles, we are building a diverse community of emerging leaders and creating programs to support their development.
We train a new generation of environmental leaders characterized by diversity, innovation, collaboration, and effective communications. We address the needs of emerging environmental leaders from academia, business, government and non-profits by:
- Providing training and learning opportunities to increase their leadership capacity through our Fellowship Program;
- Connecting Fellows with peers through our regional and national networks;
- Linking Fellows with experienced environmental leaders through substantive interactions and mentoring opportunities;
- Focusing attention on the need for the environmental community to develop the next generation of leaders.
Each year, we select emerging leaders to participate in each of our fellowship programs. Fellows come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds as we strongly believe in broadening the voices within the "environmental movement." Our Fellows have on average, three to ten years of professional experience and come primarily from four sectors: academia, business, government and non-profit.
Once selected, Fellows participate in overnight retreats that take place over the course of a year. Each retreat focuses on specific leadership competencies from diversity and coalition building to systems thinking and strengths based leadership. Fellows are expected to complete several assignments including the development of a personal leadership plan that will serve as their personal and professional roadmap.
ELP strongly believes in the need for lifelong skill development and peer support. Upon completion of the fellowship program, Fellows graduate to Senior Fellows status within the ELP Community. ELP Senior Fellows are eligible to attend additional trainings, take active roles in the development of ELP public programming and continue to expand their professional network through online resources, networking events, collaborative partnerships and mentoring within the ELP Community.