Executive Lab: Creating Strong Leadership

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Take your executive performance to new heights.

Embrace the challenges and opportunities of leadership from the unique perspective of an Executive Director.

As the most senior leader of your not-for-profit organization, your most important role is aligning your employees, board members and volunteers with organizational goals that deliver your mission. It’s a tall order, and it is achievable. Executive Lab is your first step.

Move beyond the technical requirements of your role and maximize your leadership impact. From shaping organizational culture to leading change, from great governance to developing high-performing teams, Executive Lab offers senior leaders a new roadmap that takes their leadership and organization to the next level. You've never experienced a learning opportunity so uniquely focused on the executive role.

How the Program Works

Executive Lab is a seven-month program that hones executive leadership skills and fosters a network of generative, community leaders. Through five, intensive in-class learning sessions participants develop competencies across core areas of not-for-profit leadership. You put your learning into practice through partnership with a seasoned executive mentor, leadership journal practice, and self-paced assignments.

Program Details

City of Vancouver Grantee Bursary Application is now closed

Application Deadline
September 01, 2019 at 4:00pm PT

2019 Program Schedule:
September 10, 2019 | 5:30pm - 8:30pm
October 8, 2019 | 9am - 4pm
November 5, 2019 | 9am - 4pm
December 3, 2019 | 9am - 4pm
January 5, 2020 | 9am - 4pm
February 4, 2020 | 9am - 4pm
February 19, 2020 | 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Location: 1183 Melville Street, Downtown Vancouver 

Fee: $2875.00

Program Benefits

Executive Lab provides coursework, activities, practical tools and mentorship to increase your effectiveness as an Executive Director. You will gain new insights and key skills to effectively align people to deliver your mission. Along the way, you develop supportive relationships and a personal network with other senior not-for-profit leaders.

Who Should Attend

Executive Directors (or Chief Executive Officers, Artistic Directors and Managing Directors etc.) looking to strengthen leadership skills, apply new tools to improve mission delivery, and exchange ideas with a network of not-for-profit leaders. Please note: this program assumes participants have foundational knowledge of good practice in not-for-profit management. If in doubt, please contact Lisa Torreggiani for more information.


  1. Introduction - the role of the executive in creating mission alignment
    This is the first introduction to your peers and mentors and the starting point for a shared learning environment over the next seven months. Your personal leadership assessment, the mentoring relationship and core program concepts are also introduced.
  2. Personal Leadership – start with personal accountability and self-awareness
    This session starts with a focus on discovering your leadership style and strengths and then allows you to discover new ways to practice personal leadership to further the mission of your organization.
  3. Leading a Culture – uphold the vision, mission and values of your organization
    This session enhances your role as leader of your organization’s culture. You will examine how culture is practiced at your organization, and identify ways that your leadership approach can best engage people in maximizing organizational performance.
  4. Introduction to Coaching – hold others capable for achieving success
    In this highly-experiential session, you will have the opportunity to practice coaching skills and experience being coached. Learn how to use coaching conversations to support team members to generate their own solutions to workplace challenges.
  5. Leading Others – inspire excellence, create collaboration and support others to lead
    This session introduces you to tools you can use to develop leaders at all level of your organization. Learn critical skills to foster accountability and excellence in others, and empower everyone in your organization to contribute to the mission, whether individually or part of a team.
  6. Leading Change – drive execution and innovation
    This session builds your ability to lead change and manage transition in your organization. You will discover the key leadership skills required to create change that works.
  7. Review & Celebration - reflecting on the journey
    This is your opportunity to identify and celebrate how you have taken your leadership and impact to the next level over the course of seven months.

What are my responsibilities?

Along with attending the seven sessions you will:

  • Complete the Strength Deployment Inventory leadership assessment
  • Establish personal leadership learning goals
  • Work towards your personal leadership learning goals with a seasoned executive mentor, meeting in-person or by phone once per month
  • Complete assigned tasks and activities
  • Keep a journal of your experiences in between sessions
  • Develop a case study related to one of the topics, to be incorporated into the program activities

Registration Information:

The fee to participate is $2875.00.

Application Deadline: September 1, 2019 at 4:00 pm PT

Application must include:

  • Resume including your professional and volunteer experience
  • Letter of support from your Board Chair, outlining the expected benefits to the organization

The next Executive Lab will begin in September 2019.

Join the interest list to receive an update when the application page is live.


City of Vancouver Grantee Organizations can apply for an Executive Lab bursary via the program's application form. Candidates will be selected by a panel according to specific criteria.

The next Executive Lab will begin in September 2019.

Join the interest list to receive an update when the application page is live.



82% of participants agree that because of Executive Lab, their effectiveness as a leader & confidence and competence with their role and responsibility greatly improved.



Join Gayle Farrel and Vantage Point for Executive Lab. In this program, you will delve into the challenges and opportunities in the executive director role.

Gayle Farrell

Gayle, a community engagement and investment specialist, is the President and CEO of Siena Consulting. The nature of Siena’s work situates it largely in the domain of change management. Change is never simple or easy and Gayle and her team work with organizations to co-create and support appropriate and effective processes to enable change initiatives. With experience in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors, Gayle has worked with national organizations to structure and lead Canada-wide consultations to support the development of a variety of successful change initiatives nationally, provincially, and locally. She has facilitated consultations involving public, private, and nonprofit sector representatives supporting the re-imagination of primary health care in BC and of social programs nationally. Gayle has a B.A. and an M.A. in the social sciences from McGill University as well as a Graduate Certificate in Managerial Leadership from City University (WA).

Bohdan Zajcew

Bohdan, Managing Partner with Siena Consulting, is a highly skilled facilitator, communicator, project manager and strategic planner with extensive experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He is the former Chief Operating Officer of Knowledge Network, BC's public educational broadcaster, as well as the Executive Director of the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Bohdan's expertise is concentrated in the areas of leadership, organizational development, communications, strategic management, public education, and community engagement. He has a B.A. in political science from University of Manitoba, an M.A. in Communications from Simon Fraser University and a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His volunteer commitments have included serving two terms on the BC Advisory Council for Multiculturalism.


t: 604 875 9144
f: 604 875 0710
1183 Melville Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 2X5


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