Policy Fellowship Cohort




Welcome and thank you for your interest in the National Black Child Development Institute’s (NBCDI) Policy Fellowship Program.

This program is a leadership and policy development program extending from November 2021 – April 2023 (18 months).

Fellows will be selected from a national pool of applicants to attend six multi-day convening sessions. They will also be expected to participate in ten short webinars as well as executive coaching and demonstrate results from their actual practice utilizing the tools they will gain in this training. 

Selected fellows participating in this program will receive a monthly stipend from NBCDI.

This interactive development training is designed to benefit from group participation with individuals demonstrating a leadership track record and an interest in early childhood education and family support for Black children and families. The training will combine both virtual and in-person sessions and will include opportunities for participants to network with NBCDI stakeholders, mentors, and supporters who are all committed to increasing Black leadership presence at the policy table. 

All dates/times for convenings and webinars are required, and participants should review the application information carefully to ensure they can clear their calendars for full participation in all training elements.

Convening Dates

November 3 - 6, 2021
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET (every day)


No travel required

February 3 - 4, 2022
9:00 am – 6:00 pm ET

In Person

Travel day before/day after

May 5 - 6, 2022
9:00 am – 6:00 pm ET

In Person

Travel day before/day after

September 8 - 9, 2022
9:00 am – 6:00 pm ET

In Person

Travel day before/day after

January 5 - 6, 2023
9:00 am – 6:00 pm ET

In Person

Travel day before/day after

April 6 - 7, 2023
9:00 am – 6:00 pm ET

In Person

Travel day before/day after


Webinar Dates

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET. All webinars are virtual.

  • December 14, 2021 - Policy Fellowship Welcome
  • January 11, 2022
  • March 8, 2022
  • April 12, 2022
  • June 14, 2022
  • July 12, 2022
  • October 11, 2022
  • November 15, 2022
  • December 13, 2022
  • February 7, 2023
  • March 14, 2023


Eligibility Criteria

Public Service Leaders - Applicants must be Black professionals with 3-5 years of leadership experience as evidenced by current and past employment as managers, supervisors, or mid-senior leadership positions in public service leadership settings. Public service leaders include applicants employed in non-profit, city, state and federal government and public/private foundation settings. 

Public Service Board Members - Also eligible will be people with 3-5 years of corporate leadership experience who have a 2-3-year track record of board membership at relevant human service-related non-profit organizations. 

Additionally, applicants must demonstrate:

  • Experience/commitment to Black children and families i.e., early childhood education, evidence of family wellness work, advocacy and thought leadership.
  • Track record of openness to feedback and self-directed personal and professional development as evidence of ability to participate fully in this cohort-based training fellowship.

For more information please contact:  David Mensah (email: david@dkbwave.com)

Training Elements

Leadership Development Training


NBCDI’s approach is grounded in the Breakthrough Action™ Leadership (BAL) model based on the principles of Responsibility, Self-Reflection, and Creating Collective Leadership.  We believe that effective leadership (at every level) is the foundation for both organizations and communities building a culture where everyone chooses to be accountable to the mission as well as the community of stakeholders. The BAL training will challenge fellowship participants to:

  • Take responsibility for their successes and their most persistent challenges in order to see the connection between their choices, their actions and the results they are producing.
  • Self-reflect on their contribution because we all contribute to the professional relationships we have created and to ask for feedback when we cannot see our contribution.
  • Creating collective leadership which means to consciously practice treating everyone as a leader with unlimited capacity to expand and grow in their leadership.

Leadership Training Topics

  • Storytelling - Effective leaders tell stories that move people into action and exhibit  internal actions to explore patterns and change behaviors or external actions to get people involved. Storytelling, as a leadership tool, is a powerful practice that when mastered gives leaders options when they are faced with challenges.  When a community is in need, it is often more effective to offer a story. When a community is struggling with vision or purpose, a story is effective in moving the conversation forward.  There are many times when it is best for leaders to avoid answering a question or meeting a challenge head on and instead, tell a story. An effectively delivered story invites the listener(s) to reconsider their own observations by being invited into the deeply personal and transformational world of story. 
  • Conflict & Opportunity - Conflict creates an opportunity when it emerges (as it inevitably does) in any human community, organization, or group.   Grounding the conversation in this inevitability, this training first normalizes conflict by seeking to challenge typical approaches to conflict as something to avoid, silence or resolve.  These stifling contexts force groups into a cycle of suppression/surface/suppression, where the opportunity of conflict is never embraced let alone incorporated into the essential evolution of effective human groups.  Building on this new framework, participants are challenged to 1) lean-into conflict using curiosity in order to see the “concern behind the complaint” and to 2) reframe conflict by recognizing the real opportunity of embracing conflict as an authentic contributor to the goals every group is trying so hard to achieve. 
  • Communication - Communication and leadership is a training based on applied communication styles.  Groups of individuals seem to develop recognizable approaches to communication and slowly lose the capacity to recognize that other individuals may choose quite different approaches.  This training helps individuals identify the communication styles of self and others in the service of teaching participants to prioritize the capacity to communicate using other people’s communication style rather than prioritizing one’s own style. This is a fun training that allows participants to recognize their own patterns in the service of increasing curiosity as well as effectiveness in communicating with others. 
  • Responsibility & Culture - The ongoing global reckoning with the cultural impact of organizing our communities according to who has access to power has only partially hidden the impact of limiting racial, sexual, gender and ethnic cultural norms, to name a few. This reckoning has also created an opportunity to consider how we might organize our communities around other cultural norms and outcomes that more consistently expand opportunities for everyone. The responsibility and culture training is grounded first in developing the capacity to speak and act in ways that are informed by responsibility, self-reflection and creating collective leadership. This gives participants the time to practice the necessary muscle building of looking at their own contribution, not the culture where they are leading, along with the impact of that culture on everyone. This training supports leaders already expanding and inviting their organizations and communities to participate courageously in the creation of cultures that value a diversity of perspective, participation, and an equitable role in leadership and management.

Policy & Advocacy Skills Training


  • Policy & Advocacy Skill Training  - Our policy and advocacy training is an introductory dive that explores and develops the effective capacity of mid-level Black professionals who want to be policy leaders in the areas of early childhood education and family support for Black families. This training also introduces them to the policy development process including advocacy approaches for grassroots, grass tops, legal and legislative advocacy. This training is designed to ensure that Black policy leaders are positioned and prepared to contribute such that both state and national policies designed to benefit families and children are informed by perspectives from the Black communities that are served.

Personal Development Training


  • Personal Development Training - Personal development training will focus on investing in the participant’s capacity to develop self-awareness, to develop short- and long-term goals for their own lives and to increase tools and capacity to identify and address challenges and obstacles that typically block both personal and professional goals. This training recognizes that there are both personal as well as professional challenges that must be embraced and identified for Black professionals to achieve and sustain the success needed to challenge, change and ultimately transform the opportunities for Black children and families they are committed to serving. 

Executive Coaching – Executive coaching is provided to participants throughout the training period and is also included as a follow-up opportunity for twelve months after training completion.  Executive coaching is a partnership between coach and participant that clarifies each participant’s opportunities, challenges, goals, and visions, and provides an accountability structure whereby each participant can take specific action steps. Executive coaching is ideal for leaders who are ready to step out of their comfort zone and increase their effectiveness.

360-Assessment and Feedback – Effective leadership is grounded in the willingness to take responsibility for the results you have already produced and to build an effective leadership practice that includes ongoing feedback. The policy fellowship requires participants to engage in a 360-Assessment process (pre- and post-fellowship) to ground the fellowship in real results and to track progress following the training itself. Participants must be prepared to identify at least 25 supervisors, colleagues and direct reports who will receive a confidential invitation to contribute to their leadership process by providing observation-based feedback on their leadership behaviors.  Each assessment will include an individual feedback coaching session to identify strength and challenge areas and plan for their development during the fellowship period.


Please click this link to apply.