Natural Leaders FAQ

Who is the Natural Leaders series for?

The Natural Leaders series is for people with good ideas, passion and commitment who would be inspired to join a diverse group of people -- from across Tompkins County -- who want to build stronger, healthier, more inclusive, and more more sustainable communities and organizations. 

Natural Leaders are those who like to make things happen and help others, but may not think of themselves as a "leader" or have leadership titles.

Participation is open to all. At the same time, we prioritize those form backgrounds under-represented in organizational and community leadership -- people of color, those without four-year college degrees, immigrants, and those with low or moderate incomes, and people who have overcome significant challenges to get where where they are today. 

Still not sure if this is for you or the person you want to nominate? Call us at 607 272-2292 or send an email.

When is the next Natural Leaders series?

Natural Leaders groups generally begin in February and September of each year. They meet every other week, for eight sessions, following by a graduation and celebration. . The February group generally meets in the middle of the day (usually 11:30 am - 2 pm). The September group meets in the early evening (usually 5:30-8 pm). We serve a meal in each session, and provide child care for those who need it.

How does someone join the Natural Leaders series?

Participants in the Natural Leaders series are generally nominated by someone who knows them  and sees their leadership qualities. This can be someone in their workplace or in the community. The nomination form is here. The NLI staff reviews the nominations and selects 15-20 participants for each group. We let both the nominee and nominator know of the committee's decision. 

Can I nominate myself?

Yes, you may.

If I am a nominator, may I nominate more than one person?

Yes. You may nominate as many people as you want.

Do I need to talk with my nominee before submitting the nomination?

Yes! We need to know that nominees are interested in participating prior to accepting them into the group. If you or your nominee needs more information to decide about participation, please give us a call.

Is there a cost for participating?

Yes, but it is not paid by the participants themselves.

For some participants, the registration fee is paid by their sponsoring employer. (Contact us if you want help approaching your employer or are an employer who wants to support staff members to participate.)  

For others, the registration fee is covered by scholarship support through local grants and donations.

There is a line on the nomination form to indicate whether you are a sponsoring employer who plans to pay the registration fee for your nominee, or whether you are seeking scholarship support for the fee.

What is NLI's refund policy if I'm an employer sponsoring an employee who need to withdraw from the program?

The registration fee (less a $50 administrative fee) is refundable if we receive written notification of the withdrawal one week prior the start date. Alternately, employers may choose to nominate another employee to fill the spot.


Margo Hittleman
Natural Leaders Initiative Coordinator
(607) 272-2292 ext.167

Last updated December 25, 2018