February 28, 2024

Learning Through Co-Leadership

The Bridgespan Group recently convened a Co-Leadership Learning Circle to provide a place for peer learning and to share emerging best practices for leaders curious about the co-leadership model. This is the first in a series of articles intended as part of that sharing.

By: Meera Chary

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  

For some nonprofit leaders, this oft-shared proverb is defining a new way to lead their organizations. Co-leadership—where two or more people hold the title of co-CEO or co-executive director—isn’t a new concept, but more organizations are experimenting with it for the first time, while others are considering whether it’s the right choice for them. 

In June 2023, The Bridgespan Group launched a year-long initiative called the Co-Leadership Learning Circle to support nonprofit leaders who are new to co-leadership roles. The purpose of the Learning Circle is threefold: to provide a place for peer learning, to support people just beginning their co-leadership journeys, and to share emerging best practices with other nonprofit executives and funders who are curious about this leadership model.  

More from the Series

Insights from the leaders participating in the Learning Circle.

What Drives a Nonprofit to Choose Co-Leadership?

Part 1: Trust

Part 2: A Desire for a More Humane Way to Lead

Webinar: Nonprofit Co-Leadership

⏰ June 25, 2024

Join this webinar to learn from the experiences of nonprofit co-leaders. We will address common questions, pitfalls to watch out for, and how to effectively transition to this model.

Sign up

Our inaugural Learning Circle community members represent five nonprofit organizations across geographies, sectors, and phases of organizational evolution:  

  • Eunice Lin Nichols (co-CEO) and Marc Freedman (founder and co-CEO) at CoGenerate 
  • Carlos R. Valle (co-executive director of operations and sustainability) and Élice Hennessee (co-executive director of strategy and sustainability) at CADRE 
  • Amy Moy (co-CEO and chief external affairs officer) and Nomsa Khalfani PhD (co-CEO and chief strategy and equity officer) at Essential Access Health 
  • Temi F. Bennett, Esq.(co-CEO) and Hanh Le (co-CEO) at if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility
  • Bishop Marcia Dinkins (co-executive director of operations and giving) and Mark Greer (co-executive director of external relations) at the Transforming Power Fund 

Over the next several months, we’ll share insights from the peer learning group. Discussion topics will include decision making and embracing conflict, determining roles and responsibilities within an organization, and the transformative power of leading together.   

Tell Us What You Think

We recognize that these perspectives will not be representative of all organizations engaging in co-leadership; however, we believe that they can serve as powerful fodder for organizations and funders who want to learn more about this organizational structure.  

As we embark on this journey together, we hope you’ll share your feedback about this series. Please use the form below to send comments and questions about co-leadership topics that you’d like us to explore and stay tuned for webinars and other ways to engage directly in this learning process!

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The Bridgespan Group would like to thank the JPB Foundation for its generous and ongoing support of our knowledge creation and sharing work.