DEL-MEM Leadership Advantage

Can leadership be taught? We believe that leadership is cultivated by each individual and requires time and effort; it is a process. Integrated into the DEL-MEM program, opportunities are provided to develop your leadership capacity in environmental management. Participation in the DEL-MEM program will put you one step closer in your leadership pursuit by providing you with opportunities to:

  • Enhance your understanding of the meaning of leadership
  • Assess your leadership capabilities and leverage your strengths
  • Gain practical leadership skills, including critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution, and the ability to apply them
  • Better understand “followership” and how to cultivate it
  • Identify and align your own beliefs and values with the process
  • Create a personal leadership development plan, set goals and evaluate your progress
  • Reflect on and resolve leadership challenges in your organization or agency
  • Learn from prominent leaders through a dedicated leadership workshop in D.C.
  • Emerge with a renewed vision of yourself as a leader

In addition to threading leadership into the course curriculum, the DEL-MEM program explores leadership in a variety of ways, including:

  • discussions and exercises during face-to-face sessions,
  • web-conference meetings with our Leadership Advisor,
  • select readings, and
  • a "one-of-a-kind" leadership immersion experience in Washington, DC.

D.C. Leadership Module 

The hallmark of our program is the dedicated Leadership Module in Washington D.C. Here, students are provided a point of reference for their leadership development through individual meetings with prominent leaders.

During this session, students are exposed to leaders from all sectors during one-on-one meetings. For example, we have met with:

  • Chairman and CEO of Conservation International 
  • President and CEO of The Conservation Fund
  • Administrator of the Energy Information Administration
  • Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Environment and Climate at USDA
  • U.S. Senator of Tennessee
  • President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy
  • President, The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment
  • Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, DuPont
  • Chairman, White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Director, National Park Service

To complete the experience, student groups assume the role of a "leadership coach" or consultant. Based on their interactions with the leaders they met, students present analysis and advice relative to their leadership on a personal level, organizational level, and on a broader scale. This experience is incredibly unique and is raved by students as the pivotal learning experience over the two year program.

What some of the DEL students thought about this amazing experience:

Talking about concepts of personal and professional leadership with the heads of environmental organizations and government agencies was informational and inspiring. As a mid-career professional, those conversations have provided great food for thought as I explore possibilities for my future contribution in the environmental sector. I appreciate the opportunity the program has provided to encourage these kinds of discussions.
Kristen Thornburg, Program Associate, Environmental Defense (Raleigh, NC)

The DEL leadership session in DC offered me an unequaled experience in meeting with a diversity of environmental leaders. This has given me valuable insight into the way national environmental policy is shaped and managed. It has also helped me develop my own road map to becoming a successful leader.
Charles Yelton, Curator for Programs and Technology, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC)

The series of meetings and subsequent discussions in DC were enormously rich and valuable. I was captivated by the issues of individual leadership, organizational challenges, and environmental policy that were raised in these sessions. I’ve learned at least as much about DC in the past week as I have in living here for several years.
Kristin Barker, Director of Conservation Systems Development, The Nature Conservancy (Arlington, VA)