News from the Bush School

Leading the Way: OneStar Foundation and Texas A&M Partner for Nonprofit Leadership Training Program

August 14, 2009

—Originally Published On OneStar Foundation Website:

July 7, 2009
By Sarah Pratt, OneStar Foundation

This spring, 28 Texas nonprofit employees ages 20 through 30 became the inaugural class of the Emerging Leaders program, an innovative venture to find and develop the next generation of nonprofit leaders in Texas.

A collaborative program between OneStar Foundation: Texas Center for Social Impact and the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, the Emerging Leaders program involves a week-in-residence featuring highly interactive seminars led by Bush School professors, followed by online coaching, instruction and mentoring. The program allows participants from all over Texas to develop and understand their management, leadership and mentoring styles together, ultimately preparing them to assume leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. The Bush School has committed to continuing this program beyond OneStar’s inaugural investment.

“The Emerging Leaders program is an excellent example of how great things can be accomplished through effective collaboration,” said Elizabeth Seale, president and chief executive officer of OneStar Foundation. “The Bush School’s incredibly knowledgeable faculty members have been an essential part of this program, as has the university’s generous donation of space and housing. In addition, OneStar’s scholarships covered most expenses of the participants, allowing them to engage in this unique learning opportunity. We thank the Bush School for being such an innovative and supportive partner in this endeavor, and we encourage all nonprofits to explore how collaboration can benefit their own programs and, ultimately, their clients.”

Emerging Leaders utilized a combination of group and individual training, which gave participants the opportunity to both professionally connect with their peers and receive personalized instruction. While participants spent May 18-22, 2009, at the week-in-residence training at the Bush School, the online individual coaching will continue for another six months.

Participants gave overwhelmingly positive feedback about the program’s training sessions, its facilitators and the professional direction that the program has given them. “I have been changed as a leader this week,” said Jeremy Tatum from Connecting Caring Communities. “My confidence level has risen dramatically simply by engaging in the interactive learning opportunities. This was one of the best professional development seminars I have ever experienced. I cannot wait to see how this program grows in the future.”

Added Charlene Woodard from the Lena Mae Farris Foundation, “I thought this week would involve someone telling me what I need to do to become a leader. The program has taught me to figure out for myself what a leader is, and what I have to do and learn to achieve that-not having someone else telling me, but finding it out for myself.”

Overall, said Erica Solis of El Buen Samaritano, “This week was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Before I came, I had goals; but this week helped me realize that not all the goals I had were my own. It was also very important that I was coached to take control of my career. My biggest asset is myself, and this week was all about how to grow and become my biggest champion.”

One of famed coach Vince Lombardi’s most popular quotes was, “Leaders aren’t born; they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” Thanks to programs such as Emerging Leaders, the next generation of Texas nonprofit leaders have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with one another, giving the entire nonprofit sector a brighter, stronger future.

To learn about upcoming training sessions like the Emerging Leaders program, create an account on OneStar’s Web site at