Bringing Together Northern Michigan’s
Nonprofit, Business and Government Leaders
to Build Stronger Communities

“There are no other professional development courses that are as relevant, hands-on and real as this.”
– 2018 participant

The face of leadership is changing, and in today’s world, the conditions to be successful are constantly shifting. Changemakers need to lead with a new kind of discipline, courage and skill. Passion for a cause is essential, but what else do our nonprofit, government and business leaders need to sustain their work, increase their impact and work together for social change?

The Frey Foundation, northern Michigan’s Community Foundations and Rotary Charities came together to help address this question, resulting in the creation of the 8-month Leadership Learning Lab (LLL). The LLL combines adaptive leadership, time management and a suite of nonprofit and cross-sector capacity-building skills.  It also aims to create a network of support for changemakers, and invests directly in cross-sector leaders as a way to strengthen their organizations and the communities they serve.

The LLL was launched with nonprofit leaders in four sites in 2018. In 2019, we added a fifth site in the Grand Traverse Region, focused on a cross-sector audience of nonprofit, government, tribal and business leaders. At all five sites, LLL cohorts participate in interactive monthly learning sessions that include time to practice and experiment with a supportive circle of peers. They continue their learning between sessions with monthly habits, reflections and small group learning pods.

The LLL runs from April through December. Applications for the 2020 Leadership Learning Lab will be available in January. Space is limited and selections are made by Community Foundation partners.


“The Leadership Learning Lab experience has been incredibly valuable in giving me the tools and confidence I need to become an emerging leader in my organization. Having built-in opportunities to explore content in a classroom setting and then apply it in my day-to-day have made this a truly immersive experience. The opportunity to learn and share with peers has allowed me to build relationships that I am certain will last beyond the eight sessions.”
- 2018 participant





Our Program Design Team works with local liaisons to tailor each session to the needs of their region. LLL is currently available in 5 northern Michigan communities.

Philanthropic Partners

This program is made possible by major funding from the Frey Foundation, with supporting funding from 10 northern Michigan Community Foundations and Rotary Charities of Traverse City.

Program Design Team

Colleen Masterson-Bzdok

Program Manager

Freya Bradford

Collaborative Skills

Mark VanderKlipp

Mission-Driven Storytelling

Katie Trotter

Program Coordinator


Christie Perdue

Fund Development

Lucille Chrisman

Adaptive Leadership
& Program Design


Julie Ann Rivers-Cochran

Board Development