New Executive Director Institute


Have you recently become a first-time executive director at a nonprofit organization? Would you like to connect with a community of similar leaders and get guidance around prioritizing your work and navigating the range of available resources and technical assistance? The Ahead of the Curve New Executive Director Institute can help.

The New Executive Director Institute is led by faculty from a number of nonprofit capacity building organizations including Foundation Center, Human Services Council, Lawyers Alliance, and Support Center. The two-day program is designed to illuminate resources and strategies in key areas such as legal, risk, fundraising, governance, management and advocacy. You’ll also have an opportunity to network with seasoned executive directors, consultants and advisory organizations focused on supporting new leaders and the social sector.


DATES: Monday, October 22— Tuesday, October 23rd (attendance is required for both full days)

TIMES: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

LOCATION: Support Center, 32 Old Slip, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10005

TUITION:    $300 (scholarships available)



Elizabeth Perez, Lawyers Alliance Legal Director

Elizabeth Perez oversees Lawyers Alliance’s client outreach and representation services and manages the in-house staff attorneys. Ms. Perez has significant experience in the areas of immigrant communities, elder services, contracts, corporate structuring, coping with financial distress, and lobbying and political activity regulation matters. She launched and led Lawyers Alliance’s Urban Health program area and coordinated a program providing technical assistance to nonprofits that form New York City’s safety net. From 2007 until her January 2016 appointment as Legal Director, Ms. Perez was a Staff Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney at Lawyers Alliance. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance, Ms. Perez was an associate at Clifford Chance US LLP. She received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2004, an L.L.M. from the University of London in 2004, and a B.A. from Texas A&M University in 2000. Lawyers Alliance publications: “Advising Nonprofits, Fifth and Sixth Editions.”


Michelle Jackson, Human Services Council

Michelle Jackson has been with the Human Services Council since 2008, and currently serves as the organization’s Deputy Executive Director. HSC advocates for the nonprofit human services organizations that provide critical services such as programs for seniors, youth, and the homeless and disabled.  Ms. Jackson coordinates HSC’s government relations strategy and has led revolutionary policy changes to improve the nonprofit sector’s ability to maximize social impact in communities, most notably in securing over $200 million in cost-of-living adjustments for NYC human services workers and $120 million in nonprofit infrastructure investments. She represents HSC at public hearings and relevant government taskforces on these issues. She is also responsible for operations including human resources and oversees development. 

During her tenure with HSC, Jackson has been at the forefront of efforts to streamline the relationship between nonprofits and government, culminating in the launch of both City and State procurement systems that include a standard contract for human services and a simplified online procurement system, HHS Accelerator and New York Grants Reform, respectively. In addition to her expertise in government contracting, she leads public campaigns to raise the visibility of the sector across the State and advocates for changes to City and State regulations that adversely impact the nonprofit sector.

Jackson has penned numerous op eds highlighting the human services workforce and has been recognized as a 2017 Albany Rising Star by City & State and as a 40 Under 40 New York Nonprofit Media’s Nonprofit Rising Stars in 2015. Prior to joining HSC, Jackson graduated from Suffolk University Law School in Boston in 2007, earning a Juris Doctor with a concentration in International Law. While in law school, she interned for the International Consortium for Law and Development, researching and drafting legislation for developing countries, including the 2005 Iraq Constitution, and volunteered for Shelter Legal Services where she provided free legal aid to indigent women at Rosie’s Place. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Politics at Saint Mary’s College of California in 2004.


Zohra Zori, Vice President for Social Sector Outreach – Foundation Center

Zohra is the Vice President for Social Sector Outreach at Foundation Center (FC), the world’s leading data provider and capacity builder in the social sector. She oversees FC’s five regional hubs, its Funding Information Network of 400+ global affiliates, the learning site, and a range of training and advisory services. Together, this suite of “bricks and clicks” services connects social sector organizations to funding and knowledge resources in their communities, in person, and online. Prior to joining FC, Zohra was the President of Global Management Challenge USA, the world’s largest strategy and management (competition-based) training simulation platform, with operations in 40 countries. She launched her career at Enactus, a global community of student, academic, and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. Her roles with the organization included Program Development Director, Regional Vice President of International Programs, and Vice President of Enactus Worldwide. Zohra is multilingual, has traveled to more than 50 countries, and enjoys exploring roads less traveled.

Keith Timko, Executive Director – Support Center

Keith is Executive Director/CEO at the Support Center, and leads efforts to develop and promote an integrated and collaborative approach to capacity building for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises. Prior to joining the Support Center/Partnership in Philanthropy, Keith was the Director  & CEO with Build with Purpose, a nonprofit real estate development organization. Keith brings over fifteen years of experience in community development including: involvement in educational reform issues with The Center for Collaborative Education in New York City; experience in leadership development and management programs as the former President of the Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation); and exposure to policy and community development approaches across the country during his time with Living Cities: The National Community Development Initiative. Keith has a Bachelor’s degree in History and Russian from Rutgers University and a Master in Business Administration from Columbia University.


Day 1 – Monday, October 22nd

9AM: Participant introductions

10AM: Support Center: Understanding How to Develop Your Organization

  • Assessing your management and governance capacity
  • Review of available resources
  • Common pitfalls and strategies

11:45: Break

12:00: Working Lunch and Panel: What I Wish I Had Known as an Executive Director

  • Gary Bagley, Executive Director, NY Cares
  • Keith Green, Support Center 
  • Carine Jocelyn, CEO, Diaspora Community Services
  • Karen Rosa, Vice President & Executive Director, Altman Foundation

1:15: Break

1:30: Foundation Center Tools and Resources

  • Assessing your fundraising capacity
  • Review of available resources
  • Common pitfalls and strategies for fundraising

3:00PM: Support Center: Working with Your Board

  • Understanding the board/staff partnership
  • Review of available resources
  • Common pitfalls and strategies

5:00PM: Adjourn for Networking Happy Hour


Day 2 – Tuesday, October 23rd

9AM: Review of prior day’s agenda and outstanding questions

10AM: Lawyers Alliance: Understanding Key Issues and Risks with your Nonprofit

  • Assessing your legal risks and compliance challenges
  • Review of available resources
  • Common pitfalls and strategies

11:45: Break

12:00: Working Lunch and Panel: Guidance on Successful Partnerships

  • Craig Drinkard, Associate Director, Victoria Foundation (invited)
  • Amy Holmes, Program Director, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
  • George Suttles, Director of Research, Commonfund Institute

Moderator: Karen Brown, VP of Innovation and Strategic Learning, Fairfield County Community Foundation

1:15:     Break

1:30: Human Services Council and You as an Advocate

  • Assessing your advocacy capacity
  • Review of available resources
  • Common pitfalls and strategies for advocacy

3:00PM: Putting it All Together

  • Understanding the Ahead of the Curve consortium and TA providers
  • Review of available resources
  • Next steps planning such as ongoing office hours, Zoom meetings, etc.

5:00PM: Adjourn and evaluation