Interested in Being an Emerging Leader?

For members who are ready to move beyond basic involvement in NACADA and towards leadership in the association, the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is one structured way of exploring a personalized pathway to leadership.


  • Connecting with an established member of NACADA
  • A strong network of contacts in NACADA
  • Creation of a NACADA leadership goals timeline and guidance in the fulfillment of those goals
  • Financial assistance of $2000 for each Emerging Leader to be used towards expenses related to attending NACADA events (conferences and/or institutes)
  • Annual Conference recognition of Mentors and Emerging Leaders and their successes upon completion of the program
  • Assistance in learning about and utilizing NACADA opportunities and resources
  • Involvement in NACADA activities and leadership opportunities

Emerging Leaders say...

  • The Emerging Leader program has not only increased my involvement within NACADA, but it has also influenced how I do my job, and how advising is structured on my campus. The involvement that I have had, the opportunities that I have been exposed to and the life long connections I have made, make ELP one of the best experiences I have ever had; not only professionally, but also personally. Thank you NACADA for such an amazing program!
    Heather Doyle, Dalhousie University, 2009-2011 Class
  • Prior to being an Emerging Leader, I knew NACADA was a strong and supportive organization and that I had access to national leaders in our profession. When attending conferences, multiple invitations were extended to become involved in NACADA in various ways. The ELP program shifted those 'invitations' to 'expectations' for me, in every good way. As advisors, we know how important it is to help students articulate specific goals, support them throughout the process, hold them accountable when necessary, etc. The ELP created this same kind of 'optimal mismatch' of challenge and support for me, that allowed me to learn, develop, grow within the advising profession.
    Susan Anderson, University of St Thomas, 2008-2010 Class
  • Why did I apply for the Emerging Leader Program? I was looking for an opportunity to work in NACADA. I had an urgency to work and not just attend sessions and meetings. It was not enough to sit on the sidelines; I wanted to be actively engaged in the organization. This was an opportunity to take a giant step into being a part of the progress that was being made by NACADA. I wanted to be able to say. 'I helped accomplish that goal.’
    Audrey Jackson, Florida Community College-Jacksonville, 2007-2009 Class
  • I feel more connected to the organization than ever before. I feel I have a wealth of resources at my fingertips. I feel I have developed as a professional in the field of advising and am being recognized at such.For those considering being mentors, this is a great way to help others out. It’s a unique opportunity to form a special bond with another member of the association and help them to navigate the organization. For those considering being Emerging Leaders, this type of programming helps to increase the sense of community I already felt from being a member of NACADA. It forces you to develop leadership skills and is a great avenue to apply leadership and management skills, especially if you are in a position at work that you don’t consider to have a lot of supervisory responsibilities.
    Jose Rodriguez, Florida International University, 2007-2009 Class
  • Although my goals have changed over the last two years, I’m more involved with NACADA than ever before.... It is because of the Emerging Leaders Program and [my mentor] that I’ve felt comfortable and confident as I’ve navigated my path of involvement with NACADA... Thanks to all those before us who paved the way for this program. It has been one of the best professional and personal opportunities of my life.
    Ross Hawkins, Missouri State University, 2011-2013 Class
  • I have grown as a leader in the past two years and I honestly believe that I would not have written for a publication or considered chairing a commission or interest group if not influenced and encouraged by my mentor and the NACADA community. The skills that I have acquired are transferrable to my work in higher education. The program provides a wonderful community of people and resources that is a network that is easy to relate to and rely on for information and guidance. I have made friends for life through the program.
    Joy Cox, Indiana University Southeast, 2010-2012 Class
  • As I reflect over the last two years in the ELP program I would say it has been a great experience professionally and personally. From the moment I applied, I believe I have had an enriching opportunity through self-reflection, professional growth and the opportunity to build strong relationships within NACADA. As advisors we all know that we are on a continual road of life long learning and the Emerging Leadership Program is part of my journey. The program has provided me with the opportunity to think outside of my box. I have taken on initiatives and opportunities that I may well never have considered.
    Yvonne Halden, University of Manitoba, 2010-2012 Class
  • This experience is hard to quantify or qualify. Since joining NACADA’s Emerging Leader Program, I have had an extraordinary surge of courage and confidence to apply for NACADA leadership opportunities as well as advising administrator positions that I would have otherwise never exposed myself to. I was surprised to see how brave I became when I knew I had a support mechanism in place. I found myself looking for more and more challenging opportunities, contacting [my mentor] for recommendations, support, and guidance, then putting myself out there…which is completely outside of my comfort zone. Even when I failed, I knew I had the support to get back up and try again, instead of being defeated.
    Cynthia Pascal, Northern Virginia Community College, 2010-2012 Class
  • Above and beyond the Mentor experience – which has been truly amazing – ELP has truly given me something very special through becoming part of a larger ELP family. That has been the most surprising and rewarding aspect of this experience is that I have gained so many people that I truly think of as my NACADA family... When people ask me one word to explain ELP program to them, the one that I come back to again and again is family. Thank you for letting me is a part of this process. I am so excited for the future.
    Amy Korthank, University of Iowa, 2012-2014 Class
  • Sometimes in life you need an extra push to become a better version of yourself. The ELP program helped to do that for me. My time within the program was definitely well spent... the connections that I have made will inspire me to continue challenging myself and creating new goals... I’m eternally grateful to the NACADA ELP program for jump starting the next steps in my career and involvement with a community of academic advisors who inspire me and support me.
    Terri Baker, University of California-San Diego, 2012-2014 Class
  • I truly feel honored to be a part of this program. It is inspiring to meet so many amazingly talented people that all have goals to forward the field of advising. I appreciate the time and effort NACADA has taken to build this program. I also appreciate the time and effort NACADA takes to adapt the program to make it even better. I recommend the ELP program highly!
    Wiona Porath, Sienna Heights University, 2014-2016 Class
  • Going into this program, my goals were to find my fit within NACADA and particularly in my region, since that’s where I wanted to focus my attention at this time. I have found a family in my NACADA ELPers, and have discovered passions I didn’t even know I had.
    Jenny Cornet-Carrillo, University of California-Berkeley, 2014-2016 Class
  • I found this experience valuable because NACADA is such a large organization it appears hard to 'break in' and get involved. I am now aware of the many ways to engage and am working towards continued, long-term engagement.
    Stephanie Kraft-Terry, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2015-2017 Class
  • This was an incredible experience. I have been able to give back, grow my strengths, develop personally, and contribute to NACADA ... I can't believe all I was able to accomplish in these last two years!
    Fai Howard, Edinboro University, 2015-2017 Class
  • After two years in the Emerging Leaders Program I can confidently say that my original intentions have been exceeded. In addition to gaining an understanding of leadership within the organization and becoming involved, I have gain wonderful colleagues, mentors, and friends ... I have developed relationships with a wide-range of individuals and feel better connected to the organization.
    Joshua Adams, Texas Woman's University, 2015-2017 Class
  • I have been able to learn more in depth about NACADA and the many ways everyone can be a part of improving the advising profession at any level.
    Tania Alvarez, Old Dominion University, 2016-2018 Class
  • This journey has exposed and enlightened me to many things that I did not think I could have done, but eventually did. I am happy because of the numerous things that I was able to accomplish. Who could have imagined a young man from Jamaica making such leaps and bounds in his professional career and doing all these things that have made him so noticeable at NACADA events! In addition, I have developed a network of colleagues from around the country and abroad who I can today call friends. The lives I have touched and the paths that I have crossed are immeasurable.
    Locksley Knibbs, Florida Gulf Coast University, 2016-2018 Class
  • When I began this journey in the NACADA ELP I had no idea how much of a difference being an active participant in this program would actually have on my professional and personal life... Looking back at all the things I have accomplished since I became a part of the NACADA ELP, I am amazed at my level of growth in such a short span of time.
    Locksley Knibbs, Florida Gulf Coast University, 2016-2018 Class
  • The thing I appreciate the most about being part of the Emerging Leaders Program is how encouraging and helpful everyone is. Truly, I feel like this is one of the most functional found-families of which I am a part, and for that, I am very grateful.
    Jennifer Plante, Clark University, 2016-2018 Class
  • ELP has helped me to see the different ways that I can make an impact on the field and the association and has invigorated me in my work.
    CJ Venable, Kent State University, 2017-2019 Class
  • Reflecting back on my two years in the Emerging Leaders Program, I have to say that this has been such a unique and rewarding experience. Through this program, my eyes have been opened to what NACADA can offer and how members can be active within the organization.
    Matt Markin, California State University-San Bernardino, 2017-2019 Class
  • The time spent on this program has been extremely beneficial and I would spend more time, if I could. I am a better leader and adviser as a result of the mentorship and connections I made through this program.
    Ivette Barbosa, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 2017-2019 Class
  • If someone had asked me two years ago if I was an active member of NACADA, I would have said yes. My experience in this program has shown me how inaccurate my statement would have been. While it is true that I have attended conferences and presented regionally and nationally, that was the extent of my involvement. Looking back from this side of the ELP program, I would classify my previous involvement as membership and not 'active' membership. ELP has opened my eyes to the fact that NACADA really is a member driven/run organization, a fact that I knew, but didn’t really understand. I knew that NACADA thrived on volunteers, but the true weight of that statement escaped me. The strength of NACADA depends on the involvement of its members. NACADA provides a broad spectrum through which members can be involved. Forgive my cliché, but there truly is something for everyone.
    Shanna Pendergrast, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 2017-2019 Class
  • My relationship with my ELP Mentor was a turning point for me in my growth and development as a NACADA leader. She was encouraging, supportive, and knew when I needed a nudge out of the nest. She is a great listener because she heard the things that I was not saying out loud. Fear, lack of confidence, and limited knowledge of NACADA pathways spoke volumes as I worked through my goals. When she heard what I was not saying, she took action and helped me develop in ways that allowed me to take steps towards positions and roles that in which I never saw myself serving.
    Melinda Anderson, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, 2011-2013 Class
  • Mentors have played (and continue to play) important roles throughout my life. Building support networks has aided in my personal and professional development. ELP provided the mentorship I needed. My mentor continuously encouraged me to dream, supported me in discovering my passions, and reminded me, 'Don’t settle for good enough—be great.' The ELP structured mentoring and focus on leadership gave me the motivation I needed to make my leadership goals a reality and gifted me with the knowledge to guide others on their leadership journeys.
    Michelle Smith Ware, University of Notre Dame, 2013-2015 Class
  • I love this program and it has already helped me tremendously. Because of ELP I have a much better understanding of NACADA’s inner workings, how to navigate NACADA, a better understanding of how to get involved, and a clear vision for how to utilize my skillset.
    Neena Fink, Southern New Hampshire University, 2018-2020 Class
  • My most impactful learning experience through participating in ELP was that even when I did not feel qualified to run or to apply for leadership positions, I needed to just try anyway. My mentor consistently advised me that I would always feel like I am not adequately prepared to take on a role, no matter how much experience I had. He also reminded me that I would not win every election or would not be appointed to every position, and that is okay, as long as I keep trying.
    Kyle Ross, Washington State University, 2015-2017 Class
  • The ELP experience has helped me to feel more confident and connected than I initially expected. I learned a great deal about the NACADA structure and genuinely enjoyed all the program meetings and the opportunity to meet so many new NACADA connections. I feel like ELP helped “fast track” my involvement in NACADA and helped me to grow my network much more broadly than I would have done on my own. I have formulated several new goals as result of participating in ELP. I feel like I have lot of different avenues for continued involvement.
    Jill Putman, Colorado State University, 2018-2020 Class
  • I’ve really valued this program. Mentorship is an important part of developing leaders and the structure of the program allowed me to stay focused on accomplishing my goals. I would definitely encourage future mentees to spend time building a relationship with their mentors.
    Mary Carmel Etienne, Hofstra University, 2018-2020 Class
  • This was the best experience I’ve had as a part of NACADA. My Mentor was everything I needed and I cannot think of a better way to grow as a member of the Association. My Mentor and the ELP were everything I hoped it would be, and I look forward to promoting opportunities like this as I seek more NACADA leadership roles.
    Brantley "Banks" Blair, Lynchburg University, 2019-2021 Class
  • These past two years have been extraordinarily consequential. I have a clearer idea of who I am in advising and in NACADA, and the kind of professional that I want to be. My partnership with my Mentor and participation in the Emerging Leaders Program are major contributors to this growth. ELP has helped me clarify my long-term plans within advising and given me the tools and relationships to fulfill these goals.
    Jake Rudy, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, 2019-2021 Class
  • One of the most surprising things to come out of this program is the connections. While I was hoping that I would meet people and create relationships, this has been great! I definitely fall into the introverted side of things, so I was worried this process would be a little harder for me. Thankfully, I have met some amazing people along the way and have been asked to participate in a variety of things.
    Cassie Jaquez, Alamo College District, 2020-2022 Class


SPECIAL NOTE: The NACADA Emerging Leaders Program has been thriving for 15 years. In consultation with the ELP Advisory Board and NACADA’s Executive Director, we have decided to pause the ELP program for 2023. We will take some time to assess the program. We thought this a good time to look at the origin of the program, its structure and curriculum, and glean feedback from ELP participants and members to see what opportunities exist to enhance the program into the future. Once complete we intend to restart the ELP after this hiatus. We anticipate the next ELP class will begin 2024-2025.

The previous requirements for the Emerging Leader applicants are: (subject to change)

  • At the time of application, must have been a member (general) of NACADA for at least TWO (2) years and must be a current NACADA member - NO EXCEPTIONS.  (It is recommended that an applicant have at least 3 years of NACADA membership before applying for this program.)
  • Must be able to demonstrate active involvement in the association.
  • Must be able to articulate goals for increasing involvement in NACADA leadership and how taking part in the program will support those goals.
  • Must be able to articulate how their participation in the program will support the program goal of providing intentional leadership development to members of populations within the NACADA membership who are underrepresented in the association leadership.
  • Must agree to a two-year mentorship period, and a total of 2 1/2 years with the program (which includes preparatory assignments over the summer prior to the leader-mentor pairing, which takes place at the program Orientation).
    • Must be willing and able to attend monthly online meetings in the Zoom environment during the four months (June, July, August, September) prior to the mentorship period to discuss preparatory assignments and become acquainted with potential mentors. (Date/times will be determined after the class is selected.)
    • Must be willing and able to attend the Orientation session, which will be held on-site at the  Annual Conference. This session serves as the kick-off to the 2-year mentorship period, and as noted elsewhere, a $2000 stipend is provided to Emerging Leaders to assist with travel/lodging/registration costs.
  • Must agree to take part in personal and program evaluation and assessment.

Those selected for the program are encouraged to attend the association's Annual Conferences, where on-site networking opportunities will be provided for the current classes. At the Annual Conference which takes place at their completion of the program, Emerging Leaders and their Mentors are recognized for their accomplishment at an Awards Ceremony.

ELP Articles

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