Impact Fellowships Summit 2019: Agenda & Impact

Impact Fellowships Summit 2019: Agenda & Impact

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The 2019 Impact Fellowships Summit convened on April 25 and 26 in Washington, DC. The theme was Dynamic Leadership for a Changing World.

Participants from more than 80 organizations attended the summit. They represented a range of organizations, including small and large nonprofits, international NGOs, corporations, universities, and foundations, from 44 cities and 4 countries.

The summit had three technical tracks:

  • Connections Matter: Fostering community and networks among fellows during and after programming, and within and across fellowship programs
  • The Diversity Dividend: Building programs and strengthening leaders to promote equity and inclusivity
  • Answering the “So What?”: Adapting and modeling a learning mindset within programs for greater effectiveness and impact


I was able to take so much information back to my staff that will be extremely effective for the future.

An attendee from 2019

  • 98% of attendees reported that the summit exposed them to new tools and resources that they plan to bring back to their organizations.
  • 94% of attendees reported making meaningful connections with other attendees.
  • The average attendee met nine people and six organizations that they plan to engage with after the summit.

Agenda from 2019

Thursday, April 25, 2019

8 a.m.–9:30 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:30 a.m.–10 a.m.

Opening Conversation

  • Opening Remarks: Dara Lipton (Project Director, IREX) and Alicia Phillips Mandaville (Vice President of Global Programs, IREX)
  • Keynote Speaker: Adekunbi Adeoye
  • Description:  Adekunbi is the executive director and founder of Nigeria’s first internship-focused career development company, SESEWA. She founded SESEWA in 2009 with a vision for setting a new framework for recruitment and professionalism in the workplace that enables students to develop leadership skills, explore their career interests, and launch their career paths by gaining practical workplace skills. SESEWA has since grown its services beyond internships and is now providing a wide range of employment support to students, government, and private businesses, including hosting Nigeria’s inaugural National Internship Conference in 2018. Adekunbi is a Mandela Washington Fellow alumna and is recognized for her leadership in Nigeria and across Africa. She was named one of 100 Visionary Leaders across the globe by Real Leaders, is an Ashoka Changemaker Fellow, and is a recipient of several awards in social innovation and exemplary leadership for her work at SESEWA. 

10:15 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

Morning Breakout Sessions (concurrent):

How Do We Build More Inclusive Programs from the Ground Up?

  • Track: Diversity Dividend
  • Preliminary Description: How can we ensure that we as implementers are prioritizing diversity, inclusion and equity in our programs from start to finish: recruitment, programming content, monitoring and evaluation, and more? In this session, four implementers will share their best practices and challenges in effectively walking the talk of DEI. Attendees will leave the session with an expanded understanding of how and when DEI can be integrated into program design and management and identify some useful tools and approaches that may be useful to them in their own institutions.
  • Facilitators: Koy Hardy (Fellowship Manager, BALLE), Asandi Conner (Director, Detroit Revitalization Fellows), Kate Loving (Marketing and Communications Associate, ProInspire), and Vicki Johnson (Founder and CEO, ProFellow)

Creating Global Leaders: Adapting Leadership Fellowships to New Contexts

  • Track: Answering the “So What?”
  • Preliminary Description: When it comes to expanding your fellowship to a new city or country, identifying key learnings from the experiences of existing programs is important not only to replicate successful elements, but also to avoid similar mistakes and pitfalls during the process. Come learn from our experiences in adapting fellowship programs for civil servants and justice-sector leaders to new countries and contexts. 
  • Facilitators: Yawa Hansen-Quao (Executive Director, Emerging Public Leaders), Jessie Tannenbaum (International Justice Sector Education and Training Program Director, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative), and Jay Tocol (Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative)

The “It” Factor: Case Studies in Creating Lasting Fellowship Networks

  • Track: Connections Matter
  • Description: Organizations and institutions are continually trying to create fellowship experiences that create a lasting impact on fellows and inspire them to create positive change in their profession or surrounding community. For this impact to occur many believe the connections fellows form with one another during their fellowship experience and their ability to sustain these connections after the fellowship’s close are key to ensuring a fellow has the encouragement and support needed to affect positive change. But what causes these connections and networks to form and last? Attendees will be able to participate in a thoughtful conversation about what practitioners have learned over the course of two different programs and be able to contribute their own knowledge during the discussion portion.
  • Facilitators: Fouzia Bencheikh (Program Officer, World Learning), Benjamin Gaylord (Director, Secondary School and Professional Programs, American Councils), Adam Meier (Branch Chief, East Asian & Pacific Fulbright Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State), Dianne Neville (Senior Program Officer, World Learning), and Catherine Martin Scott (Director of Business Development, World Learning)

12:20 p.m.–12:30 p.m. 

Lightning TalkConnect, Grow, Lead: Encouraging Racial Equity Through Leadership

  • Track: Diversity Dividend
  • Description: This talk will focus on the question, “What do YOU have to do with MY leadership?” The talk will highlight how the W.K. Kellogg Foundation approaches leadership development to address structural inequities to advance Racial Equity and Racial Healing. Using the evolution of the WKKF Community Leadership Network as an example, attendees will gain an understanding of how the Foundation is now focusing on systemic as well as individual impact in its leadership development programming.
  • Facilitator: Reggie LeGrand (Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation)

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.


Brief Remarks: Kristin Lord (President and CEO, IREX)

1:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m.

Afternoon Learning Workshops (concurrent):

Becoming a “Relentless Learning” Program

  • Track: Answering the “So What?”
  • Description: Since 2016, the Schusterman Fellowship team has worked in partnership with Learning for Action to evaluate the impact of the Fellowship and to learn about ways we might improve the Fellowship for current and future Fellows. Findings to date indicate that the Fellowship is supporting its intended outcomes: 43% of Fellows have advanced to Senior Executive positions since beginning the Fellowship and 78% of Fellows report that their participation highly contributed to positive change in their organization. In this session, we will share: the motivation behind our learning and evaluation strategy; best practices for learning from participants; and the qualities this approach to relentless learning requires, including vulnerability, humility and resilience. Attendees will gain concrete tools for how to gather candid feedback from their constituents, distill learning, and translate that learning into program adjustments. They will walk away with concrete ideas for implementing new “relentless learning” strategies to inform and evolve their work.
  • Facilitators: Abby Saloma (Director, Leadership and Talent, Schusterman Family Foundation), Colleen Cruikshank (Senior Program Officer, Schusterman Family Foundation), and Katie McGeehan (Senior Consultant, Learning for Action)

Culture Centered Rooted Leadership

  • Track: Diversity Dividend
  • Description: The practice of rooted leadership requires a commitment to self-reflection that challenges the deficit model of communities of color and redefines it through an asset-based lens. This session seeks to expand the conversation of what makes a good leader. Fellowship programs wanting to work with communities of color and the leadership within those communities need to be able to identify skill sets not traditionally seen as assets.
  • Facilitator: Hector Sanchez-Flores (Executive Director, National Compadres Network)

Leadership Conversations for Learning and Change: Applying the OBREAU Tripod

  • Track: Answering the “So What?”
  • Description: This interactive and experiential workshop introduces a structure, the OBREAU Tripod, to support leadership-oriented conversations on virtually any issue, for learning and change. "OBREAU" is a composite of the first two letters each of Observation, Reasonableness and Authenticity. Each of these terms represents both a "leg" of the Tripod and a principle for working through difficult issues. Participants will practice applying the Tripod in preparing to converse on an issue that matters personally.
  • Facilitator: Don Dunoon (Director, New Futures Pty Ltd)

3:30 p.m.–3:45 p.m. 

Lightning TalkLearn to Discern: Building Responsible Leaders in the Era of "Fake News"

  • Track: Answering the “So What?”
  • Description: In the era of the information society, in which 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day, leaders have to be savvy information navigators if they want to build effective, cohesive, resilient communities. This talk will introduce IREX's proven Learn to Discern (L2D) information literacy methodology, which provides practical skills to discern false information from fact-based information, helps people reflect on their own information consumption habits, and empowers them to defuse their own reactions to manipulative information. L2D provides critical skills for leaders who want to build trust networks and strengthen communities.
  • Facilitator: Tara Susman-Peña (Senior Technical Advisor, IREX)

4 p.m.–5 p.m.

Community Building Activity"In the Dark" led by Empowerment through Integration (ETI)

We process 90% of our life experiences through our eyes. What senses and experiences can we open ourselves up to when our ability to see—and to judge the people around us based on sight—is removed? This blindfolded, facilitated experience creates a space for participants to reflect on the preconceived notions and the -isms that affect their daily lives and interactions. The workshop challenges participants to shed preconceived ideas of themselves and others while meeting other summit participants for the first time, thus allowing them to be blind to the labels of society and establish authentic conversations and bonds. Participants will understand that they are part of a larger narrative of inclusion and empowerment, and will be able to take the newfound insights and reflections from workshop discussions and apply them in their everyday work and personal lives. This workshop welcomes participants across all experience levels, professional categories, and organizational sizes. When sight is removed, something as simple as introducing ourselves to a stranger can become a chance to expand our view of the world.

5 p.m.–5:10 p.m.

Closing Reflection and Looking Ahead

Brief Remarks: Dara Lipton (Project Director, IREX)

5:10 p.m.–7 p.m.

Reception (hosted by IREX)

Friday, April 26, 2019

8 a.m.–9 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

9 a.m.–9:20 a.m.

Morning Discussion: Dara Lipton (Project Director, IREX)

9:20 a.m.–9:30 a.m.

Lightning Talk—Impact Globally by Committing Inclusively: Removing Barriers for Persons with Disabilities in Fellowship Programs

  • Track: Diversity Dividend
  • Description: Disability inclusion continues to be an issue globally in all aspects of society, from education to reproductive health, to human rights. People with disabilities across the world are increasingly seeking leadership and fellowship programs in the U.S. in order to gain the skills to address these barriers and to be the change agents in their communities. Now is the time that organizations commit to disability inclusion and know how to recruit and support participants with disabilities in order to make the global impact their programs seek to achieve.
  • Facilitator: Monica Malhotra (Program Manager, Mobility International USA)

9:45 a.m.–11:15 a.m.

Morning Breakout Sessions (concurrent):

How to Strengthen Leadership Networks through Evaluation: Using Most Significant Change and Social Network Analysis to Measure and Contribute to Outcomes

  • Track: Answering the “So What?”
  • Description: Evaluating Fellowship programming is a complex task that classically involves long, extractive surveys and dry reports. But what if evaluations could engage program participants in a way that builds on program outcomes? This session will discuss two evaluation methods – Social Network Analysis and Most Significant Change – that do just that while still providing rigorous evidence around what programs have accomplished. Join KSU and IREX to hear about their experiences implementing these methods, learn tips for trying SNA and MSC yourself, and discuss the advantages and limitations of each method in various contexts.
  • Facilitators: Trisha Gott (Associate Director, Kansas State University), Kait Long (Program Administrator, KSU), and Anne Laesecke (Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, IREX) 

Building Community in the Digital Age: The Benefits and Challenges of High-Touch, Interpersonal Approaches to Network Building

  • Track: Connections Matter 
  • Description: Throughout its nearly 30-year history, Princeton AlumniCorps has supported over 1600 program participants across three key initiatives, including two cohort-based year-long programs. In that time, the organization has developed a robust toolkit of high-touch strategies for establishing and nurturing a growing network of fellows and program alumni. In this session, attendees will learn about the high-touch practices employed by Princeton AlumniCorps to foster stronger communities among fellows both during and beyond their fellowships. How can small organizations best equip themselves with the tools necessary to support thriving, sustainable networks of fellows and program alumni? What role do high-touch, interpersonal interactions play in developing a sense of community within a network? How can technology support this development, especially when fellows and alumni are scattered across multiple regions? Attendees will also participate in a series of small-group discussions to further explore these approaches and share their own experiences and challenges with building and sustaining community through their programming.
  • Facilitator: Sahand Keshavarz Rahbar (Bold Idea Fellow, Princeton AlumniCorps)

Diverse Funding and Populations: Building Fellowship Programs that Enable Leaders and Scholars

  • Track: Diversity Dividend
  • Preliminary Description: Ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to the success of our programs and requires commitment as well as creativity when working with diverse funding streams (U.S. government, foundations, and corporations) and diverse populations (professionals, academics, and students). In this session, IIE will share their experience managing three unique fellowship programs, and the opportunities and challenges that arise when prioritizing and adapting DEI approaches to maintain relevance regardless of funder and communities served. Through discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to share their own experiences and explore new ways of strengthening capacity for diversity across funding and programming.
  • Facilitators: Tracy Waldman (Lead, IIE Corporate and Foundation Programs), Mary McKey (Lead, IIE Foundation Programs), and Nancy Overholt (Director, IIE Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program)


11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

Learning Lab: This expo-style event will provide a space for attendees to share tools, methodologies and approaches and foster one-on-one dialogue and learning among summit participants.

Open-Space (unconference): Attendees will be encouraged to lead conversations on topics not covered in the summit agenda—taking advantage of the larger plenary space to convene in small groups. Limited facilitation will enable identification of topics (TBD).

Lunch (starting at 12:30 p.m.)

1:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m.

Afternoon Learning Workshops (concurrent):

Growing Networks for Social Impact: Tools and Methods for Catalyzing Communities to Drive Large-Scale Social Change

  • Track: Connections Matter
  • Description: In a connected world, people organizing in networks are challenging traditional ways of collaborating, learning and solving complex problems. This interactive workshop will begin by exploring case studies on how to foster and support effective social impact networks, drawing on D-Lab’s global experiences over the last ten years. Afterwards, participants will have the opportunity to share their own insights, tools, and methods. Working in small groups they will re-imagine and co-design new approaches for deepening engagement, action, and network effects among key stakeholders, fellows and communities that they support.
  • Facilitators: Amanda Epting (Practical Impact Alliance Manager, D-Lab MIT) and Jona Repishti (Social Entrepreneurship Manager, D-Lab MIT)

    Redefining Leadership Through Racial Equity and Collective Wisdom

    • Track: Diversity Dividend
    • Description: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation focuses on lifting up voices within many distinct and diverse communities. Highlighting the value of collective wisdom, leadership and action, this workshop will expand the narrative around equity, diversity and inclusion in leadership development to racial equity. Participants will walk away from this session with tools to engage in leadership development as a transformational practice through a racial equity and racial healing lens.
    • Facilitators: Reggie LaGrand (Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation) and Howard Walters (Evaluation Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation)

    3:30 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

    Community Building—Map It: Community Resource Map for Fellowships

    • Description: Fellowships managers face many challenges, but the solutions to them don’t have to be tackled alone! In this activity, attendees will have an opportunity to reflect on fellowship challenges and solutions and work together to identify who, what, and where they can access resources for them. Attendees will leverage learning and insights from the day of sessions and discussions to create a map of resources that helps them address a fellowship challenge beyond the Impact Fellowship Summit.
    • Facilitator: Nina Oduro (Leadership Technical Advisor, IREX)

    4:15 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

    Closing Reflections: Nicole Mechem (Director, Leadership Practice, IREX)