LEAP Initiative


The LEAP Initiative is a cohort-based leadership program designed to help senior managers of  well-established nonprofit news organizations who need to update their strategy, make a strategic pivot or move to the next level of growth. LEAP is short for Lead, Execute, Accelerate, Pivot -- four moves that help in leading growth in fast-changing environments.

A broad field of nonprofit newsrooms launched in the last decade, built solid growth in their initial years and have become vital news sources for the public. Many now seek to make a significant jump in scale or move strategically to build on their momentum, address a major challenge or opportunity and ensure their long-term sustainability.

LEAP is designed to help them make these strategic shifts, as well as further strengthen and support  nonprofit news leaders in strategic planning and decision-making.

The cohort of four member executives this year and ten in 2018 will work together to address their strategic challenges with support and guidance from subject matter experts and business coaches.

The program combines in-person training, three online group meetings with subject matter experts and advisors and up to four one-hour individual executive coaching sessions.  For the first cohort, in-person training sessions will be held in Philadelphia on Oct. 2 and 3 and the initial 2017 program will conclude by the end of March 2018. The second cohort is planned to begin in February 2018 and conclude in June 2018.

LEAP is funded by a generous donation from the Democracy Fund.

The program will be lead by INN Program & Services Director Fran Scarlett.  Scarlett is an experienced business growth coach who has helped hundreds of for-profit and nonprofit businesses start up and scale up over the last eight years.  She brings to the project a Harvard MBA and more than 18 years of experience in news media, as a product development manager, business development executive and starting as a reporter. Added trainers and business mentors will be announced as the program launches.

Applicants will be selected based on factors including:

- ability to articulate their long-term organizational goals for growth and sustainability

- ability to identify the top challenge to achieving their organizational goals

- willingness and organizational capacity to implement the plans developed during the program

- commitment to dedicate significant time to participation

-  group composition, diversity and strategic challenges that lend themselves to group consideration

Applications for the program are open to INN members through August 14, 2017 and are now closed.

Here is the LEAP application.  For additional information or questions, please contact Fran Scarlett at fran@inn.org.