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Leading the way on leadership

Union Graduate College hosts development program for non-profits

A group of not-for-profit leaders from various agencies are brought together in the new Leadership Development Program at Union Graduate College.

A group of not-for-profit leaders from various agencies are brought together in the new Leadership Development Program at Union Graduate College. Submitted photo

— Some not-for-profit groups are going back to school to get ahead.

“I really didn’t expect that I would be back in school again,” said Joe Gambino, CEO of Hometown Health Center in Schenectady. “It is nice to be able to sharpen your skills in a classroom setting.”

Gambino is part of a group of 22 not-for-profit leaders from seven agencies involved in the Schenectady Foundation’s Strengthening Families Initiative, who are participating in the first Leadership Development Program offered by Union Graduate College. The program provides participants with MBA-level training on management skills and also encourages the agencies to work together.

The group meets once a month at Union for a four-hour session addressing topics such as finance, change management and communications. The group is also working together on a collaborative project, which will be presented in June during a session for the board of directors of each organization. Participating agencies include Albany County Child Care Council, Ellis Medicine, Parsons Child and Family Center, Public Health Services, Schenectady County Community College, Hometown Health Centers and Mohawk Opportunities.

President and CEO of SEFCU Michael Castellana, one of the philanthropists supporting the program, said it is important for agencies to work together during tough economic times.

“Everyone is competing for limited resources, especially in challenging economic times,” Castellana said in a statement. “The Leadership Development Program is a model of collaboration that will strengthen our not-for-profit sector, but also help the clients they serve.”

Gambino said the most valuable result of the program is the increased collaboration between agencies, who often serve the same client.

“This is certainly a way of strengthening the relationships you have with partners you meet in the community,” Gambino said. “You get to meet people who are taking care of individuals that may be part of your patient base in another capacity.”

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