Join us for a year of learning, connection, and community with the Leadership Learning Lab

The Leadership Learning Lab is a year-long program that combines adaptive and collaborative leadership, time management, and a suite of nonprofit and cross-sector capacity-building skills.  It invests directly in leaders as a way to strengthen their organizations and the communities they serve. 

The LLL is designed to help you:

  • Become a more self-aware, adaptive, and resilient leader

  • Reduce your overwhelm and focus on what is most important

  • Develop improved communication and collaborative skills

  • Increase your awareness of power, identity, and equity 

  • Gain a suite of practical tools and resources for nonprofit and cross-sector leaders

  • Develop a network of support within the LLL community

The LLL combines monthly learning sessions, small group learning pods, individual reflection, a community Facebook group, and ongoing support. You will have the opportunity to deepen relationships with leaders in your community and connect with those across northern lower Michigan. We welcome leaders at all levels from nonprofit organizations, businesses, government agencies, and Tribal Nations. 

Learning session topics will include:

  • Understanding your Leadership Style

  • Adaptive Leadership

  • Time Management

  • Board Development

  • Fund Development

  • Mission-Driven Storytelling

  • Collaborative Structures & Mindsets

  • Cross-Sector Collaboration

  • Facilitating Inclusive Meetings

  • Goal-Setting

... and more!                  

You will have the opportunity to tailor your own learning experience depending on your role as a nonprofit, business, government or Tribal Nations leader.

Leadership Learning Lab is a collaboration between Rotary Charities of Traverse City, the Frey Foundation, and 11 northern lower Michigan Community Foundations.

Cohorts, or "Sites" are created based on the service area of each Community Foundation.

Our Program Design Team works with your local Community Foundation liaisons to tailor each session to the needs of their region. LLL is currently available in 5 sites across northern lower Michigan.

Program Details and Frequently Asked Questions

Commitment and Expectations of Participation

  • Commitment to attend:
    • Orientation & Kickoff Session
    • 4 In-person Learning Sessions
    • At least 5 of the 7 Virtual Learning Sessions
    • Community Celebration & Planning Summit
  • Devote 3-6 hours per month for prep work, homework, and monthly small group learning pod meetings
  • Complete a pre-program survey, learning session evaluations, and post-program survey
  • End-to-end participation in video-on Zoom meetings with a willingness to fully participate in group discussions with a curious mind and open heart 
  • Respect fellow LLL participants and commit to confidentiality 



The LLL is supported by the Frey Foundation, Rotary Charities, and a network of 10 northern lower Michigan Community Foundations to help keep tuition low for leaders like you. The cost to participate in this program is $300.

Because of Rotary Charities' underwriting of this program, the Leadership Learning Lab is not eligible for support through the Learning Fund


Leadership is a practice, and you can lead from any position in the workplace or in society. If you're ready to develop your leadership, support your peers and work toward community change, we want to work with you. Leaders at all levels from nonprofit, business, government and Tribal Nations are invited to apply.

To be eligible, participants must work or serve in one or more of the counties below.

SiteCounties Served
1Mason, Manistee and Oceana County
2Charlevoix and Emmet County

Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Montmorency, Otsego, Oscoda, Ogemaw, Presque Isle, and Roscommon County

4Isabella and Wexford County
5Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau County

Format & Schedule

The LLL includes four in-person Learning Sessions at each site (September, November, April, and June) and seven virtual Learning Sessions with leaders from all five sites. Dependent on current public health guidance, in-person sessions may be transitioned to virtual learning as necessary.

View 2023 Schedule

LLL learning sessions are not webinars or seminars, but interactive learning experiences, where participants are expected to fully engage in discussions and activities. Sessions will include a combination of self-reflection, small group activities, and large group discussions that make room for all voices. We design our learning experiences with all learning styles and accessibility needs in mind. 

Participants will have the opportunity to develop relationships not only with cohort members from their own sites but also with the broader LLL community.

Have a Question?

Curious about LLL, but still have questions?

Reach out to Colleen Masterson-Bzdok with general questions about the program. 

You may also choose to reach out to your Community Foundation Liaison:

SiteCommunity Foundation PartnerLiaisonCounties Served
1Community Foundation for Oceana CountyTammy CareyOceana
1Manistee County Community FoundationLaura HeintzelmanManistee
1Community Foundation of Mason CountyAndrea LargeMason
2Charlevoix County Community FoundationAshley CousensCharlevoix
2Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community FoundationDavid Jones (DJ)Emmet
3Community Foundation for Northeast MichiganPatrick HeraghtyAlcona, Alpena, Montmorency, and Presque Isle
3Otsego Community FoundationDana BensingerOtsego
3Roscommon County Community FoundationSuzanne LuckRoscommon
4Cadillac Area Community FoundationDoreen LancWexford
4Mt. Pleasant Area Community FoundationJaimie Capen-CascaddanIsabella
5Grand Traverse Regional Community FoundationAlison MetivaAntrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau



How to Apply

Each Site has its own application form. 

Applications for the 2023 Cohort closed on June 17, 2023. Sign up here to be notified when 2024 opens.

Site 1: Manistee, Mason and Oceana Counties Closed.
Site 2: Charleviox and Emmet Counties Closed.
Site 3: Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon Counties Closed.
Site 4: Isabella and Wexford Counties Closed.
Site 5: Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse Kalkaska, Leelanau Counties Closed.

Ongoing Support

Throughout the program, you will have opportunities to connect with the program facilitators, leaders in your own community and those across all 5 sites via the LLL Facebook group, learning pods, and support calls.

Upon completion of the LLL program, alumni are eligible to participate in Peer Learning Circles, Deep Dives, and other learning and connection opportunities. 

Other Leadership Training Programs

The LLL is a great complement to other leadership programs in the region, such as the Leadership Coaching Program and Leadership Grand Traverse. Each has its unique approach and content, and the three may be pursued in any order to deepen leadership-related knowledge, skills, and mindsets.

Rotary Charities' Leadership Coaching Program provides confidential, one-on-one coaching sessions with a certified coach that helps you identify your unique strengths and areas for growth.

Leadership Grand Traverse is a community-based program offered by Traverse Connect that prepares participants for decision-making leadership roles in areas such as policy, program implementation, and development.

Recognition of Completion

Upon completion of the Leadership Learning Lab program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion, provided that you have met all of the requirements of participation.

For more information about the philosophy and creation of the Leadership Learning Lab, click here.

Learn More

“What I found most valuable was that the tools and concepts covered were applicable to anyone in any circumstance; holding a role in a large traditional hierarchical organization, a mid-size holacratic organization, a head of household, or just someone who has a growth mindset. I made genuine, authentic connections with participants across my region and feel more knowledgeable and better prepared to collaborate and leverage community resources. Thank you Leadership Learning Lab!"

                                                                                                             - Nicole Heffelfinger

Apply for the Leadership Learning Lab

Applications for the 2023-2024 LLL Cohorts will be accepted April 17 through June 17.
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“The relationships established created an invaluable opportunity for us to continue to work together to make a positive, powerful impact in our communities on a larger scale than we could each do individually.”

- Amy Schindler, Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools Board of Education, Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools Educational Foundation, Crystal Downs Country Club, Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital Foundation