D.C. Leadership Module

The hallmark of the DEL-MEM program is the dedicated Leadership Module in Washington, D.C. On alternate years, students spend their December place-based session in Washington, D.C.

This session is designed to provide students with a framework and point of reference for their leadership journey and development. During the five-day session, students explore leadership in a variety ways, including individual meetings with prominent leaders in the field, discussions, and a case study project. Students are exposed to a number of leaders, each selectively chosen to provide diverse viewpoints, leadership journeys, and styles. Students are asked to prepare challenging and thoughtful questions with the intent to spark reflection on one’s own leadership journey.

 > View: Leadership Module Schedule, December 9-13, 2017

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
  • Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence
  • Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Environment and Climate at USDA
  • U.S. Representative from California
  • 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
  • Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard

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.

Students earn 1 credit hour for this place-based session during the semester it is held.


Here's What DEL Students Had to Say

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)