The Posner Center is excited to present the third year of Leading Sustainable Change. Based on the Adaptive Leadership model, the framework helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a deeper knowledge of style and personality to better understand individual and group behaviors
  • Reach a common understanding of “leadership” based on the Ron Heifetz model of adaptive leadership as informed by Sharon Parks’ work on leadership in turbulent times
  • Experience how to engage peers in order to deepen understanding of personal and organizational challenges
  • Model and practice learning from failure through individual case studies and group consultations
  • Include and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and decolonization as necessary components of good leadership in the Posner Community

Intended Participants

Ideal program participants are committed to affecting sustainable change within their organization. Participants should be open to self-evaluation, candid dialogue, and new paradigms for interacting with others. Applicants may come from any level within an organization, and need not have supervisory responsibilities. This program could be for you if you are asking:

  • I thought they agreed, but now all I get is pushback. What am I doing wrong?
  • How can we get to the real issues instead of just scratching the surface?
  • I don’t have the authority to direct change, so how can I be a leader?
  • What do I need to know about myself and others to be an effective leader?

For group cohesion and confidentiality, we will accept just 1 participant per organization and 8 total program participants. If more than one person in your organization wants to participate, please contact Lauren Andraski at , as we may host multiple cohorts. Any staff of Posner Center Member or Tenant organizations are welcome to apply.

Black, Indigenous, and people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA-identified people, and people with low incomes are strongly encouraged to apply and will be prioritized as participants in the program, as people with these identities typically have less access to leadership opportunities and have been excluded from leadership positions in global development. While women also tend to have less access to mentorship, women are well represented in the Posner Center Community in general and leadership positions.

This program is open to all Members and Tenants of the Posner Center Community, wherever you live. Not based in Denver? No problem! The program will be hosted via Zoom and global members are encouraged to apply.

Dates & Times

There will be eight, two-hour sessions, held remotely via Zoom or, if we can reopen the building, at the Posner Center during business hours for those in Denver. The sessions will be scheduled with all participant input to ensure full participation. Sessions will be approximately every other week starting on July 14 through September.


A commitment to attend all eight sessions and complete pre-work is required. We also ask that participants respond to the surveys initially after the program, as well as those we will send yearly after program completion to understand the long-term impacts of the program.

Session Outline

The program is structured as a series of group learning engagements with short assignments between sessions.

  • Session 1: What is leadership?
  • Session 2: How does my style affect my relationships?
  • Session 3: How can I meet everybody’s expectations?
  • Session 4: Leadership without easy answers
  • Session 5: Crafting conditions for change
  • Sessions 6 & 7: Case presentations and group consultations
  • Session 8: Series closure and follow up

Program Leaders

This program was created by Joan H. Alexander & Barton Alexander from Alexander & Associates, LLC. They have led this program with mid-career graduate students at DU’s Daniels College of Business, at the Posner Center, and use this approach in their consulting and coaching practices. Our intention is for this program to be sustained at the Posner Center, led by past program graduates, to more fully integrate these leadership practices into the community. This year, the program will be led by Matthew Harris and Lauren Andraski, participants in the 2020 Leading Sustainable Change cohort, with the guidance of Joan and Bart who will support each session.

Matthew Harris, Business Development Director at Solar Energy International and Participant in 2020 Leading Sustainable Change cohort

Matthew has worked in the non-profit sector for 16 years, leading program development, strategic planning, collaborating with teams, and navigating the joys, pains and challenges of working in a non-profit. For the past three years, Matthew has been engaged intently with growing his leadership knowledge and skills working with coaches and mentors, and participating in leadership programs offered by the Posner Center. This includes participating in the 2020 cohort of Leading Sustainable Change where he experienced a safe and trusting group experience that provided guidance and tools for empowering yourself to transform difficult situations into creative solutions. Matthew is excited to join with Lauren to co-lead the 2021 cohort and be positive support as we grow together and share our collective experiences as leaders for change.

Lauren Andraski, Program Director at Posner Center for International Development, Founder & Facilitator of Consultants for Good, and Participant in 2020 Leading Sustainable Change cohort

Lauren views leadership as something that can be practiced in any area of work or life. She has been exploring this practice through roles at nonprofits, in the healthcare IT sector, as a solopreneur, and by building a network of over 250 nonprofit consultants through Consultants for Good, which she founded in 2018. Throughout her career, her greatest and most consistent leadership challenge has centered on how to operationalize and prioritize justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity within organizations’ internal practices and policies. As a participant in the 2020 cohort of Leading Sustainable Change, she became more in touch with and confident in her own leadership style and hopes to co-lead this program in a way that supports participants to do the same.  Lauren coordinates the three leadership programs at the Posner Center – the Mentoring Program, Coaching Program, and Leading Sustainable Change – and is excited to shift this program to be designed, led, and owned by the Posner Community with support from Bart and Joan Alexander.

Joan H. Alexander, Change Leadership Consultant and Certified Executive Coach

Joan has successfully provided consulting and executive coaching on leadership development, leading change, and effective teaming for 30 years. She’s worked with leaders and their teams in corporations, federal and local government agencies, public school districts, and NGOs. Joan founded and led a 501c3 that provided coaching to at-risk high school students, proving her theory that, when supported, at-risk students can overcome their challenges and succeed. She has lived and worked in various parts of the US, and also in the UK. For more information, click here.

Barton Alexander, Change Leadership and Corporate Responsibility Consultant

Bart has served in leadership positions in government and industry for more than 40 years. His career is marked by leading positive change in diverse areas including social services, employment and training, economic development, and corporate responsibility. He has served as chair and board member in numerous local, national, and international NGOs. He is convinced that sustainable change requires intention, connection with all affected stakeholders, and learning from failures big and small. Bart was introduced to Adaptive Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and continues to be active in the Adaptive Leadership Network. For more information, click here.

What Past Participants Said

  • I had a wonderful and transformative experience through this program. Bart & Joan created a safe environment in which I could explore my different facets and the ways I interact with others. These sessions planted seeds of new pathways for approaching challenging situations in more fluid, adaptive, and creative ways.
  • In the past, I might have chosen to shy away from facing challenging situations or remain stuck in unproductive patterns. I now have the ability to step back and see situations from different angles.
  • I’ve learned to understand what is a technical problem vs. an adaptive leadership problem. Sometimes we have to ask the bigger question, and what is the “real” problem.

Program Cost

We will be using a sliding scale for the Leading Sustainable Change program to honor the value participants receive from this program while maintaining accessibility to the Posner Center Community. You will be able to determine the amount you are able to pay once you have been accepted into the program. The program cost for past cohorts has been $150. Your organization may be willing to cover the cost, so let us know if you need help demonstrating the value to your organization.


Complete this application by May 24th. Applicants will be notified by June 1st.